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The Parts of a Personal Computer

A personal computer is made up of many components; called "hardware". This article briefly explains each hardware component in turn. If you are interested only in a specific component, use the list below to jump directly to that information.

Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any testing or repairs.

A typical PC contains the following hardware:

There are many other possible hardware components, such as a DVD, CD-RW, Zip drive or network card. There are also many subcomponents of a PC, such as the cooling fan, printer port or reset switch to name a few. This article focuses on the basic PC hardware. The hardware in the list above is nearly universal to a basic PC.

While a PC is built up from hardware components, the hardware is only half of the equation. The other vital part of a PC is the software. Without software, the hardware is useless; and vice versa.

The fundamental software for a PC is called an "operating system". Without an operating system or "OS", a PC can't do much. The operating system tells the components of a PC what to do and when to do it. Windows, MAC OS, Linux and Unix are all examples of operating systems.

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