Demo: Understanding the parts of your computer

Picture of a movie reel

A computer is a system of many parts working together. This demo, aimed at beginners, takes you on a tour of the parts of a typical desktop computer: the case, monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, and speakers.

Read the transcript

If you're not familiar with computers, you're probably curious about the basic parts and how they work together.

Computers come in different sizes and shapes. Laptop computers are small, lightweight machines that can run on batteries, so you can take them anywhere. Desktop computers are larger machines designed for use at a desk or table.

The parts of a typical desktop computer are the case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers. Let's take a look at how these parts fit together to help you get your work done.

The case, or system unit, is the main part. It contains the electronic "brain" of the computer, which processes and sends information between all of the other parts.

Most cases have a CD or DVD drive so you can install software programs, listen to music, and watch movies. Windows will automatically play most CD or DVD discs when you put one in the drive.

Your monitor looks like a TV, and it lets you see all of the programs, pictures, and documents on your computer. Monitors come in different sizes, but they all do the same thing.

Your mouse and keyboard make it possible to work with what you see on your monitor. With the mouse, you can click, select, and move what you see on your screen. And you use the keyboard to type information into your computer.

If you have a printer, you can make a paper copy of what displays on your monitor…like this picture, for instance.

Finally, to hear sounds from your computer, you need speakers. Speakers let your hear everything from e‑mail arriving in your e‑mail program to music on your favorite CD.

All the parts of your computer work together to help you get the most out of Windows.