Business Computer Technology
VoCATS Study Guide
Objective 1 – Examine the role of hardware and software.
A computer is an electronic device that receives, processes, stores data, and then produces a
result or output.
A supercomputer is the largest, fastest, and most powerful in existence.
Mainframe/minicomputers are used by business and government to process large amounts of
A laptop is the type of computer that is small and portable, with features very similar to a
A personal computer is the least powerful of all types of computers.
Hardware are the physical parts/equipment of the computer system that you can see and touch.
Computer cables, a monitor, a disk drive, and a printer are examples of hardware.
The Information Processing Cycle (IPOS cycle) consists of input, output, processing, and
Keyboards, trackballs, scanners, and microphones are examples of input devices.
A keyboard is the most commonly used input device.
The mouse is the input device that controls the position of the cursor on the screen and is used
to select menu items.
The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the “brain” of the computer, responsible for processing
the information that has been entered.
Monitors, printers, and speakers are examples of output devices.
The information that is displayed on the monitor is called a soft copy.
The printed copy of data is called a hard copy.
A printer is the machine that prints characters or other images on paper.
A dot matrix printer uses a series of dots to form images on paper.
An ink jet printer sprays ink through a nozzle to create images on paper.
An impact printer strikes the paper in order to create images.
Disk drives, the hard drive, tape drives, and USB drives are examples of storage devices.
Using a disk is the most common computer storage method.
The disk drive is the device used to store and read data on a disk.
A computer hard drive is made up of RAM and ROM. It allows the fastest access to data.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is short term and temporary. Information held in RAM will be
lost when the computer is turned off.
Read Only Memory (ROM) is long term and permanent.
CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc-Read Only Memory. It uses a laser to record/save
A modem is a hardware device in your computer that allows you to transmit data using a
telephone or cable line.
Data is the information that is entered into the computer to be processed.
Data communications is the technology that enables computers to communicate the
transmission of text, numeric, voice, or video data from one machine to another.
The four data communications components are: channel, sender, receiver, and protocol.
Basic controllers are devices on the motherboard that control the transfer of data from the
computer to a peripheral device.
Two types of computer networks are: LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area
Software is the instructions that tell the computer what to do.
System software, also known as operating system, provides an interface between the user or
application program and the computer hardware—system software sets the rules for how the
hardware and software work together.
System software controls the operation of the computer system.
Windows 2000, Linux, DOS, and MAC are examples of system software.
Utility software performs specialized tasks related to managing the computer’s resources, such
as formatting and copying a disk.
Application software works with the operating system to perform specific tasks.
MicroType Pro, MS Word, MS Excel, and Internet Explorer are examples of application software.
Word processing software is used to key text documents such as letters, memos, and reports.
MS Word, Word Perfect, and MS Works are examples of word processing software programs.
Advantages of word processing software are that errors can be corrected easily during entry,
and revisions can be made at any time.
Desktop publishing software is used to create graphic documents such as cards, flyers,
calendars, and banners. MS Publisher and PrintShop are examples of desktop publishing
People who work with numbers, formulas, and data to perform calculations frequently use
spreadsheet software. MS Excel, Quicken, and MS Works are examples of spreadsheet software
A teacher’s gradebook program is an example of spreadsheet software.
Database software creates an electronic filing system to organize data such as names and
phone numbers. MS Access and MS Works are examples of database software programs.
Multimedia software combines text, graphics, animation, video, and audio to create
presentations. MS PowerPoint is an example of a multimedia presentation software program.
Communications software allows computers to communicate. Internet Explorer, Netscape, and
AOL are examples of communications software programs.
Accelerated Math, Accelerated Reader, and an online encyclopedia are examples of educational,
When a piece of software combines several applications into one program, this is known as an
integrated software package. MS Works is an example of integrated software because it
combines word processing, spreadsheet, database, and communication software all into one
It is important to keep all information about your computer, including instruction manuals,
serial numbers, support phone numbers, and your trouble log.
You should clean hardware regularly with appropriate cleaners.
You should only keep the items that you need at your workstation when using a computer.
Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment for a comfortable and safe working
Using a comfortable and adjustable chair will make your computer workstation more
Your feet should be flat on the floor while typing at a computer.
Your fingers should be placed on Home Row when typing on a keyboard.
Your eyes should remain focused on the copy that you are typing from while typing on a
When typing, your copy should be placed on the right side of your workstation.
Creating a data back-up is automatic protection for your computer data.
Avoiding hot and cold locations, making a back-up of your files, and store them in protective
covers are ways to care for CD-ROMs and disks.
You should unplug the computer before moving it to another location.
Dusting the printer periodically is a way to care for a printer.
To be safe, turn off the printer before removing a paper jam from your printer.