Hardware Your computer’s hardware is the physical part of the computer, not to be confused with software which is not physical. Computer hardware includes the digital circuitry. Computer hardware includes the central processing unit (CPU), the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, and the printer as well as any other peripherals you want to add such as a scanner or a video camera. The hardware of a computer is not very often changed as opposed to the software and data which can be changed all the time depending on user requirements. Most computer hardware is not seen by the user. In fact, there are many common household objects that contain hardware that is embedded in systems in automobiles, microwave ovens, and compact disc players. Your system’s hardware is run by various software programs and device drivers. Device drivers are also in the form of software programs that allow the hardware to run. You install these device drivers so that the computer’s hardware operates properly without problems. Often, you will need to update drivers to insure the system hardware runs smoothly, but these updates are usually readily available on the device’s manufacturer’s website. Computer hardware includes the system’s random access memory (RAM) which is used for program execution and short term data storage. RAM is used so the computer does not have to take the time access the hard drive to find the file or files that it needs to use. More RAM will contribute to a faster PC. It’s easy to update your RAM as it is almost always removable and fits in a slot on your mother boards which is the main piece of hardware that controls all components of your computer. As we said before, there are many different types of peripherals that you can add to your computer. All of these devices are referred to as computer hardware. They include: * CD-ROM or CD Writer * DVD-ROM or DVD Writer * Floppy disk * Zip drive * USB flash drive * Sound card * Speakers * Modem or network card for connecting to the Internet * Joystick or game controller * Image scanner * Web cam * Microphone * Printer Hardware components are easy to install thus making it easier for you to upgrade your computer making it “bigger and better”. To meet your various and changing needs, you will want to always explore different hardware configurations that will work for you and make your computer everything you need or want it to be.