A personal computer, or PC, refers to any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and selling price make it useful for individuals, and is intended to be managed directly by a user with no superseding operator. Examples of personal computers include desktop computers, laptops, tablet PCs, and handheld PCs. Most commonly, PCs are used in a home or office setting.
Historically, the first computer demo was developed in 1968 by Douglas Englebart. It gave society a preview of what would become the chief of daily working life in the next century. It required technical support staff and a time-sharing workstation that was too expensive for individuals at the time. However, just a few years later, Hewlett Packard presented developers with fully programmable computers that fit on the tops of large desks and had keyboards, displays, and printers. The first true personal computer was created by Michael Wise in 1975, and was called the Sphere 1. Initially, Sphere 1 was sold as a kit, but later became available to consumers fully assembled. The Sphere 1 qualified as The First Personal Computer because it included a keyboard, a number pad, and a monitor. After Wise’s development, a mass amount of new types of computers were introduced throughout the next several years, including the Apple I computer circuit board, the Commodore PET, TRS-80, and the Commodore 64. They were rapidly selling and becoming popular by the year.
To date, there are many different types of computers. The fist type is a workstation, which is a high-end personal computer that was designed for technical and scientific applications such as drafting, computer-aided design, and image processing. While they are usually connected to a local area network and run multi-user operating systems, they are intended to be used by only one person. Desktop computers come in an assortment of different sizes and models. Some have vertical tower cases that are stored separately from the monitor, while others are all combined in one. Single unit PCs and nettops are subtypes of desktop computers that are smaller and have varied operational methods. Laptop computers are small personal computers designed to be portable for use in any location. Laptops consist of high capacity batteries that can power the device for vast periods of time; however, once the battery charge is depleted, it will have to be recharged via a power outlet. Netbooks are subtypes of laptops that are smaller and less expensive. A tablet PC is a notebook with the technology to allow the user to operate the computer with a stylus or a fingertip instead of a keyboard or mouse. This offers a more mobile way to interact with a computer. Other examples of PCs include ultra-mobile PCs, home theater PCs, and Pocket PCs.
Personal computers could not operate as well as they do without the hardware they host. Common peripheral hardware on a PC includes a scanner, a CPU, primary and secondary storage, expansion cards, a power supply, an optical disc drive, a motherboard, a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, speakers, system and application software, an external hard disk, and a printer. Typically a computer case is used to house the power supply, motherboard, hard disk and optical disc. The motherboard connects all processor, memory and peripheral devices together.
Computer software is essential to its operation. It’s a general term that describes a collection of computer programs, procedures, and documents that perform tasks on the computer. People who use modern personal computers may have quite a bit of knowledge of the operating situation and application programs, but are not necessarily concerned with programming. As a result, most personal computer software is written with simplicity, so that users can easily operate it. An operating system directs computer resources and provides programmers with an interface that allows them to access those resources. It also processes system data and user input, followed by a response through allocating and managing tasks and internal system resources as a service to users and programs of the system. It is designed to perform basic tasks such as controlling and allocating memory, prioritizing system requests, controlling input and output devices, and managing files. The most common operating systems today are Microsoft Windows, which is the collective brand name of several software operating systems by Microsoft; Mac OS X, which is a line of graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc.; and Linux, which is a family of Unix-like computer operating systems.
Applications are also commonly applied to computers by their users to carry out specific tasks. System software supports applications and offers common services such as memory management and network connectivity. Common examples of software applications are word processors, spreadsheets, and media players.