Development of Computers

Development of Computers The earliest known device to record computations was the abacus. It dates back to ancient times and was invented by the Chinese. Ten beads were strung onto wires attached to a frame. Addition and subtraction were read from the final positions of the beads. It was considered the first manual tool used in calculating answers to problems that provided information and in a primitive way storing the results. Abacus Mechanical Clock During the Middle Ages the first closed system in terms of calculating information was invented by use of a mechanical clock. The parts of the clock calculated the time of day. The time was displayed through the position of two hands on its face. The inventor pre-programmed the clock instructions through the manner in which the pull of the weights and the swing of the pendulum with the movement of the gears established the position of the hands on the clock face. Mathematics John Napier (Scotsman mid 1600s) discovered logarith

Basic Computer Practices and Maintenance Skills for Starters –Part two

Basic Computer Practices and Maintenance Skills for Starters –Part two

Adjusting system volume

  1. Open Sounds and Audio Devices in Control Panel.
  2. On the Audio tab, under Sound playback, click Volume.
  3. In the Master Out dialog box, drag the Volume slider for the appropriate device up or down to increase or decrease the output volume.

Installing drivers

A device driver or software driver is a computer program allowing higher-level computer programs to interact with a hardware device. A driver typically communicates with the device through the computer bus or communications subsystem to which the hardware connects. When a calling program invokes a routine in the driver, the driver issues commands to the device, once the device sends data back to the driver, the driver may invoke routines in the original calling program. Drivers are hardware-dependent and operating-system-specific.

Installing a new device

To install a new device, plug the device into the system unit and proceed as follows:

  1. Open Windows Device Manager.

Microsoft Windows XP and 2000 users

*      On the desktop right-click on My Computer and click Properties or open the Control Panel and double-click the System icon.

*      In the System Properties window click the Hardware tab.

*      In the Hardware tab click the Device Manager Button.

  1. In the Device Manager make sure the device you're attempting to install is not already listed from past install attempts. If the device is found highlight it and remove it from Device Manager to prevent any conflicts during the install.
  2. Once Device Manager looks ok reboot the computer.
  3. As the computer is rebooting an install new hardware wizard should appear if Windows detects the new hardware using this wizard you should be able to point Windows to the folder containing your drivers either on the CD, diskette, or the folder containing the files you downloaded.

If Windows does not detect any new hardware open Control Panel and double-click the Add hardware icon to run the hardware detection wizard. During the steps you will have an option to tell Windows you have a disk containing the drivers for your new hardware device, at this point Windows to the directory containing the drivers for your device.

Once drivers have been installed reboot.

Upgrading drivers for pr-existing device

  1. Open Windows Device Manager.
  2. In the Device Manager locate the device you wish to update the drivers for.
  3. Right-click the device and click Properties.
  4. In the Properties window click the Driver tab.
  5. Click the Update Driver button.
  6. In the Hardware Update Wizard point Windows to the location of the updated drivers on your hard drive

Once drivers have been installed reboot.

Using Plug and Play tool

Plug and Play (PnP) is a capability developed by Microsoft for its Windows 95 and later operating systems that gives users the ability to plug a device into a computer and have the computer recognize that the device is there.

Installing Microsoft Office 2003/xp/2007 Suites

Microsoft Office is an office suite of desktop applications, servers and services for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, introduced by Microsoft on August 1, 1989. MS Office consists of the following application programs:

a)      Office tools

b)      Microsoft office publisher (DTP)

c)      Microsoft office InfoPath

d)     Microsoft office excel (spreadsheet)

e)      Microsoft office access (database)

f)       Microsoft office word (word processor)

g)      Microsoft office PowerPoint (presentation)

h)      Microsoft office outlook (Email client)

i)        Microsoft Visio etc.

To install Microsoft office:

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs, click Add New Programs, and then click CD or Floppy.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Click Browse.
  5. Locate the root folder of the Office source location, click Setup.exe, and then click Open.
    Setup.exe is added to the command line that appears in the Open box of the Run Installation Program dialog box.
  6. Click Finish to run Office Setup.
  7. If requested, type your customer name and product key (CD key) information in the appropriate boxes, and then click Next.
    Note The Next button is not available until you type a valid product key.
  8. Accept the End User License Agreement, and then click Next.
  9. Specify the location where you want to install Office, and then click Next.
  10. On the Choose which applications for setup to install page, click Next.
    If you click Choose detailed installation options for each application on the Choose which applications for setup to install page, and then click Next, the feature tree appears on the Choose installation options for all Office applications and tools page. Because Office Setup detects that you are using Terminal Services, the only installation states that are available are Not Available and Run from My Computer. By default, some features are set to Not Available. Do not change the installation states of these features to Run from My Computer, because you may experience problems with the Office programs that use these features.
    Warning By default, some features are set to Not Available to make sure that there is optimum performance in a Terminal Server environment, including the elimination of unexpected errors. Do not change the installation states of these features to Run from My Computer.
    Note If your Office source location is an administrative installation, Run from Network is also displayed as an installation state.
  11. On the Begin installation page, click Install.
  12. When you receive a message that the installation completed successfully, click OK, click Next, and then click Finish.

Writing (Burning) Data on a Blank CD/DVD

Step 1:            Check your computer to see that it has a CD or DVD drive that is capable of burning CDs. This drive may be built into your computer or an external drive. Either type should work equally well.

Step 2:                        Make sure you have a CD that can be burned. There are two types of CDs that you can use.

  • A CD-R (Compact Disc-Recordable) is a Write Once Read Many (WORM) optical medium. This means that once the disk is burned it can not be erased. This type disk is usually used for permanent storage. For example; a music CD, a picture CD, or any other type of data that you want to keep permanently.
  • A CD-RW (Compact Disc Re-Writable) is a rewritable optical disc format. This type of disk can be burned, erase, and then burned again. This type disk is usually used for temporary data storage.

Step 3:                        Decide on the type of CD you plan to burn. There are many different types of CDs that can be burned and how you proceed depends on which type you are going to burn. The major types of CD that can be burned are:

  • Data. This type of CD is most often used to store files that can be used by a computer. This type of CD can not be used in a standard home or automobile CD player. They are formatted using the "ISO9660" format, which cannot be read by a standard CD player. Although, a car CD player that reads MP3's will play a data disc. Data discs are capable of 100 MP3's on a typical 700MB CD. Burning MP3's directly to a CD will only grant you under 20 MP3's.
  • MP3. This is a data CD containing only mp3 compressed music files. Because it is actually an ISO9660 data CD, not all CD players will be able to play it. This type of CD can contain a much larger number of songs than a music CD but can only be played on a computer or CD player specifically designed to play MP3s.
  • Disk image. A disk image file is a file that contains an exact copy of a disk. The most common type of Disk image is an .ISO image. Disk images are usually used for storing an exact copy of a CD on a computer. By using a computer, one can burn a CD from an .ISO image and create a usable CD.
  • Ripping. Ripping a CD is the process of taking the audio off of one CD and either storing it on a computer or burning it to a second CD, thereby making a copy of the first CD.

Step 4:                        Decide on the software you want to burn your CD with. There are many different programs that are designed to burn CDs. Some are built into the computer's operating system, while others are individual programs. These programs range from very simple to very complex. Some of these are free, while others have to be purchased.

Using Windows burning tool

  1. Insert a blank, writable CD into the CD recorder.
  2. Open My Computer.
  3. Click the files or folders you want to copy to the CD. To select more than one file, hold down the CTRL key while you click the files you want. Then, under File and Folder Tasks, click Copy this file, Copy this folder, or Copy the selected items.If the files are located in My Pictures, under Picture Tasks, click Copy to CD or Copy all items to CD, and then skip to step 5.

  1. In the Copy Items dialog box, click the CD recording drive, and then click Copy.
  2. In My Computer, double-click the CD recording drive. Windows displays a temporary area where the files are held before they are copied to the CD. Verify that the files and folders that you intend to copy to the CD appear under Files Ready to be written to the CD.
  3. Under CD Writing Tasks, click Write these files to CD. Windows displays the CD Writing Wizard. Follow the instructions in the wizard.

Step 5:                        Burn your CD. Burning your CD is as simple as running the software that you are going to burn your CD with, putting a CD into your CD burner, selecting the data to be burned, and then telling the program to burn the CD.

Disk Management using windows

Using Disk Defragmenter


The scattering of parts of the same disk file over different areas of the disk. Fragmentation occurs as files on a disk are deleted and new files are added. It slows disk access and degrades the overall performance of disk operations, although usually not severely.

De fragmentation

This is the process of rewriting parts of a file to contiguous sectors on a hard disk to increase the speed of access and retrieval.

You might need to be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to perform this task.

Disk Defragmenter consolidates fragmented files and folders on your computer's hard disk, so that each occupies a single, contiguous space on the volume. As a result, your system can gain access to your files and folders and save new ones more efficiently. By consolidating your files and folders, Disk Defragmenter also consolidates the volume's free space, making it less likely that new files will be fragmented.

You can also defragment disks from a command line using the defrag command.


  • To open Disk Defragmenter, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.

Using Backup

The Backup utility helps you create a copy of the information on your hard disk. In the event that the original data on your hard disk is accidentally erased or overwritten, or becomes inaccessible because of a hard disk malfunction, you can use the copy to restore your lost or damaged data.

  • To start Backup, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup.

Using Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup helps free up space on your hard drive. Disk Cleanup searches your drive, and then shows you temporary files, Internet cache files, and unnecessary program files that you can safely delete. You can direct Disk Cleanup to delete some or all of those files.

*      To open Disk Cleanup, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup.

System Restore overview

System Restore is a component of Windows XP Professional that you can use to restore your computer to a previous state, if a problem occurs, without losing your personal data files (such as Microsoft Word documents, browsing history, drawings, favorites, or e-mail). System Restore monitors changes to the system and some application files, and it automatically creates easily identified restore-points. These restore points allow you to revert the system to a previous time. They are created daily and at the time of significant system events (such as when an application or driver is installed). You can also create and name your own restore points at any time.

  • If you restore to a restore point before a program was installed, that program does not work after restoration. If you want to use the program again, you must reinstall it.

·         To open system restore, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click system restore.

File compression overview

Compressing files, folders, and programs decreases their size and reduces the amount of space they use on your drives or removable storage devices. Drive compression decreases the amount of space used by all of the files and folders stored on that drive.

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Double-click a drive or folder.
  3. Right-click the file or folder you want to compress, and then click Properties.
  4. On the General tab, click Advanced.
  5. Select the Compress contents to save disk space check box, and then click OK.
  6. In the Properties dialog box, click OK.
  7. In Confirm Attribute Changes, select the option you want.

Formatting disks

Formatting is the process of preparing a new disk for use by imprinting empty sectors and tracks on the surface of the disk so that the operating system can recognize and make it accessible.

To format a removable media:

a)      Insert the media disk into the floppy or USB port.

b)     Double click My computer

c)      Right click the drive

d)     On the shortcut menu, Click format

e)      In the format dialog box, choose a file system FAT32 or NTFS

f)       Specify the capacity and type in the drive label.

g)      Click Start to start formatting

h)     Click close.

Scanning a storage device for problems

Windows XP and later versions have a disk management tool known as chkdsk that helps the user to check and repair minor drive problems such as lost storage locations or damaged surfaces.

To scan a drive for errors:

a)      From start menu, click Run command

b)      On the Run dialog box that appears type the word ‘command’ in the open textbox.

c)      A DOS window similar to the one shown below appears

d)      Type the drive letter of the drive you want to scan at the prompt followed by a colon then press enter key e.g. E:

e)      The prompt changes i.e. E:\> 

f)       Then type the word chkdsk at the prompt and press the enter key i.e. E:\>chkdsk

g)      Wait for the computer to finish scanning and then type the word exit at the prompt to close the Dos window then press the enter key.


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