Basic things to know on computer hardware repair for beginners before Training class

Basic things to know on computer hardware repair for beginners before Training class


Are you a beginner wishing to learn computer hardware repair? If yes this post is made for you.

I have written some of the basic things you will need to know before diving into computer hardware repair deeply.

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Software parts of a computer

The first expected basic computer skill a person needs to know is the software part of the computer which is the basic Microsoft application such as Microsoft Office, Excel, and PowerPoint, etc. These are the common software applications we use in our daily computer tasks which are referred to as the software part of a computer.

In this article, we will basically talk about the hardware part/component of a computer system.

Please note: when the word “COMPUTER” is used, it is referring to both desktop and laptop computers.

Read: common laptop issues and their solution

Different between a desktop computer and laptop computer (Notebook)

A desktop computer has separate devices such as the monitor, the CPU, the mouse, and the keyboard that connect with each other in order to perform a task. Also, it is heavy and requires space. It can’t be carried from one place to another.

While a laptop computer or notebook is a device where all the systems are housed in one unit. It is portable and requires little or no space to keep it.

Before diving into computer hardware repair, you will first need to learn the different parts that make up a computer and its use or function.

Read: Frequently asked questions on laptop problem and their solution

Computer hardware parts and functions

What is computer hardware?

Computer hardware is the physical part of the computer, some primary definition of it is that those parts of the computer you can torch or carry about.

This computer hardware is divided into internal hardware and external hardware.

Internal hardware parts


It is a wide and flat surface board that all other components are plug into. It is the part that sends electric components creating data to all other bodies. It is one of the most important components of a system.

The image below shows the motherboard and different ports where all other components are connected to.

motherboard showing different port and names

CPU / Processor

This is known as Central Processing Unit, is one of the important component where computer processes data send to it.
For example, when you click to open a software application like Photoshop in your system what happened is that the processor picks the software from the hard drive processes it, and sends it to the RAM for temporary storage and easy use-ability.
That is why the most of time you will see on your screen that the software is “processing or loading…”
the processor is actually processing the command given to it.

This is part of the reason if you were to buy a system that is to carry a high software or applications you are advised to check the processor speed for quick and better performance.

It is where the computer runs all the data or requests sent to it. Everything that happens in the computer goes through the CPU. it mostly referred to as the brain of the computer.

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It acts as a heat sink also It is usually placed on top of the CPU. It keeps the CPU cool and prevents it from overheating.


 This is also known as an input device used to display CD or DVD content on the computer. At the same time, it can be used to copy files or data into the computer or vice versa.

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 Hard Drive (disk drive)

Is where all the data or files are stored. Data or files simply mean your photos, videos, saved documents, music, software, etc. It has large storage space which gives it the ability to store things but makes it slow for quick accessibility.
Also, if a computer prompts or indicates that your system is running slow on space, it simply means that the hard drive is small or almost full.

RAM (Random Access Memory):

This another storage space but has smaller storage space when compared with the hard drive. This allows you to run programs easily and faster.
Although RAM is volatile which means you can easily lose anything stored on it once it loses power/electricity.

What are the differences between RAM and a Hard drive?

A hard drive is like a big warehouse that contains a lot of things inside, which will take a lot of time to find a particular thing. While a RAM is like a small store that houses small items which makes it easy to find whatever you are looking for from it.

Having said that, RAM is mostly used to store programs that are currently been executed.

For example, if you are using your system you happen to open some applications such as Microsoft word, photos, and videos. These files that are currently opened are been stored on the RAM for easy access and functionality. While other programs that are not in use are basically stored on the hard drive.

RAM is more expensive than a hard drive.

Read: step by step on how to become a professional practical computer hardware repair engineer

External hardware component

  • Power supply: this is like an adapter or wire that is plug into the wall socket which provides the motherboard and other components the electricity needed to function.
  • Power switch or power button: the switch/plug is basically used to either ON or OFF the system.
  • USB port: known as Universal Serial Bus is mainly used to store, copy and send files from one device to another.
  • Keyboard: is known as input device used to type in data into the system
  • Mouse: is equally known as input device used to click, scroll and navigate to the different part of the internal computer system.
  • Monitor/Screen: is used to display the visual component of the system or result of the task been executed or processing
  • Laptop Battery or UPS: laptop battery is used to supply additional power to the system especially when the system is not connected to the light/electricity.
    UPS is used on a desktop computer to supply the system light for a short period of time after a power cut.

Read: what to check before buying a used laptop in Nigeria

How do computer processes data sent to it?

When a request or data is sent, the CPU which also known as the processor act upon the request by fetching the requested data or file from the hard drive process the request, and send it to the RAM for immediate use or access.

For example, when you open a Microsoft word to write something, what happens is that the processor processes the request fetches the application folder looked for the required file, opens it, and saves it on the RAM.

As you continue to type and work on the open document everything is temporary stored on the RAM as is being used. By the time you are done and save the page, the processor also processes the command and saves the document into the hard drive for later use.

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What is the importance of RAM size?

It helps to store more files on the Ram while working with them. For example, when you are working on Microsoft word, playing music, and editing images at the same time, all these current programs are been access from the RAM as they are been used.

Also, the size of the RAM determines how fast or slow it will take command to complete a specific request send to it. Most times, you hear people say “my system is slow”, one of the main reasons is the RAM size.

What is the importance of the size of a hard drive?

It helps for fast execution of tasks and more storage especially heavy software that crashes often. For example, if you’re to use heavy software like engineering software, architectural software, graphics software, all these require a good amount of space to install them and used them effectively. That is why most of them specify the amount of space required before using them.

Also whenever the hard drive is small or has little space left, it always triggers a message that the system is running slow, at the same time it won’t perform the desired task thereby making work tiring and frustrating.

What is the importance of the size of the CPU/processor?

The size of the processor is very important because it determines how fast or slow a specific request will be executed. For example, if you have heavy video game software in your system, and you click to open it, if the processor size is small it may take ages before the command is been executed.

That is why sometimes when you click on a particular software to open it will display “loading…” for a long time before actually opening up the software. This is caused by a processor size.

Where is the CPU located in a system?

It is located on the motherboard. Please refer to the above picture for more clarifications.

I hope you find this article useful, if you have any questions, contributions, requests, addition, or corrections please feel free to drop your comment on the comment box below.

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