Sie sind auf Seite 1von 49

Introduction to I.C.T.

and Computer


ICT is an acronym that stands for Information Communications

Information Communication Technology (I.C.T) is the study, design,

development, implementation, support or management of computer-based
information systems, particularly software applications and computer

A good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital
technology that already exist to help individuals, businesses and
organisations use information.

ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or
receive information electronically in a digital form. For example,
personal computers, digital television, email, robots.

So ICT is concerned with the storage, retrieval, manipulation,

transmission or receipt of digital data. Importantly, it is also concerned
with the way these different uses can work with each other.

In business, ICT is often categorised into two broad types of product: -

1. The traditional computer-based technologies (things you can

typically do on a personal computer or using computers at home or at
work); and

2. The more recent and fast-growing range of digital communication

technologies (which allow people and organisations to communicate
and share information digitally).

Under these two categories, there are products and ideas that are covered
by ICT.
Traditional Computer Based Technologies
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

These types of ICT include:

Application Use

Standard Office Applications - Main Examples

Word E.g. Microsoft Word: Write letters, reports etc
Spreadsheet E.g. Microsoft Excel; Analyse financial information;
s calculations; create forecasting models etc
Database E.g. Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Access; Managing data in
software many forms, from basic lists (e.g. customer contacts through
to complex material (e.g. catalogue)
Presentation E.g. Microsoft PowerPoint; make presentations, either
software directly using a computer screen or data projector. Publish in
digital format via email or over the Internet

Desktop E.g. Adobe Indesign, Quark Express, Microsoft Publisher;

publishing produce newsletters, magazines and other complex
Graphics E.g Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator; Macromedia Freehand
software and Fireworks; create and edit images such as logos,
drawings or pictures for use in DTP, web sites or other

Specialist Applications - Examples

Accounting E.g. Sage, Oracle; Manage an organisation's accounts
package including revenues/sales, purchases, bank accounts etc. A
wide range of systems is available ranging from basic
packages suitable for small businesses through to
sophisticated ones aimed at multinational companies.

Computer Computer Aided Design (CAD) is the use of computers to

Aided assist the design process. Specialised CAD programs exist for
Design many types of design: architectural, engineering, electronics,
Customer Software that allows businesses to better understand their
Relations customers by collecting and analysing data on them such as
Managemen their product preferences, buying habits etc. Often linked to
t (CRM) software applications that run call centres and loyalty cards
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

for example.

The C part of ICT refers to the communication of data by electronic

means, usually over some distance. This is often achieved via networks
of sending and receiving equipment, wires and satellite links.
The technologies involved in communication tend to be complex. You
certainly don't need to understand them for your ICT course. However,
there are aspects of digital communications that you need to be aware of.
These relate primarily to the types of network and the ways of
connecting to the Internet.

Types of Network
Internal networks
Usually referred to as a local area network (LAN), this involves linking
a number of hardware items (input and output devices plus computer
processing) together within an office or building.
The aim of a LAN is to be able to share hardware facilities such as
printers or scanners, software applications and data. This type of network
is invaluable in the office environment where colleagues need to have
access to common data or programmes.

External networks
Often you need to communicate with someone outside your internal
network; in this case you will need to be part of a Wide Area Network
(WAN). The Internet is the ultimate WAN - it is a vast network of

ICT in a Broader Context

Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

ICT will almost certainly cover the above examples of ICT in action,
perhaps focusing on the use of key applications such as spreadsheets,
databases, presentation, graphics and web design software.

It will also consider the following important topics that deal with the way
ICT is used and managed in an organisation:

The nature of information (the "I" in ICT):

This covers topics such as the meaning and value of information; how
information is controlled; the limitations of ICT; legal considerations

Management of information:
This covers how data is captured, verified and stored for effective use;
the manipulation, processing and distribution of information; keeping
information secure; designing networks to share information

Information systems strategy:

This considers how ICT can be used within a business or organisation as
part of achieving goals and objectives


Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Computers are not very intelligent devices, but they handle instructions
flawlessly and fast. They must follow explicit directions from both the
user and computer programmer. Computers are really nothing more than
a very powerful calculator with some great accessories. Applications like
word processing and games are just a very complex math problem.

A computer can be defined as an electronic device which is capable of

accepting data as input, process the data with a set of prescribed
instructions called a program to produce accurate results which is
information in a short period of time. It has the added capability of
storing the processed information, which could be retrieved when
required for future reference.

Booting your computer is the process of powering it on and starting the
operating system.

There are too types of booting in computer. These include:

 Cold booting: when the computer is started after having been

switched off.

 Warm booting: when the operating system alone is restarted

(without being switched off) after a system crash or 'freeze.' Both
types of booting clear out (for the time being) the bugs, bombs,
memory conflicts, and other idiosyncrasies of the operating system.


Think of data as a "raw material" - it needs to be processed before it can
be turned into something useful. Hence the need for "data processing".
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Data comes in many forms - numbers, words, symbols. Data relates to

transactions, events and facts. On its own - it is not very useful.

Think of the data that is created when you buy a product from a retailer.
This might includes:
– Time and date of transaction (e.g. 10:05 Tuesday 23 December
– Transaction value (e.g. £55.00)
– Facts about what was bought (e.g. hairdryer, cosmetics pack,
shaving foam) and how much was bought (quantities)
– How payment was made (e.g. credit card, credit card number and
– Which employee recorded the sale
– Whether any promotional discount applied

At its simplest, this data needs processing at the point of sale in order for
the customer to receive a valid receipt. So the data about the transaction
is processed to create "information" - in this case a receipt.

Information is data that has been processed in such a way as to be
meaningful to the person who receives it. Similarly, information is a
processed data.

Data Processing
Data processing is any process that uses a computer program to enter data
and summarise, analyse or otherwise convert data into usable
information. The process may be automated and run on a computer. It
involves recording, analysing, sorting, summarising, calculating,
disseminating and storing data. Because data is most useful when well-
presented and actually informative, data-processing systems are often
referred to as information systems.

Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Computers can be classified into three main groups namely;

Mainframe Computer
Mini Computer
Micro or Personal Computer (PC)

They are relatively Centralized large computers built to handle very large
databases, thousands of user terminals with fast response times, and
millions of transactions. Mainframes (often colloquially referred to as big
iron) are large and "expensive" computers used mainly by government
institutions and large companies for mission critical applications,
typically bulk data processing such as censuses, industry/consumer
statistics and bank transaction processing.

Minicomputers (colloquially, mini) came after the Mainframes. Though
centralized, they are smaller in size and capacity compared to the
mainframes. It can also be referred to be a largely obsolete term for a
class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the
computing spectrum.

Microcomputers or PC's as they are often called, are abundant on our
desks, tables, offices, suitcases, everywhere. This is the most visible
form of computers in the present world and comes in all forms and
breeds. There are many generations of particular design and technical
specifications from the start of this particular design. Examples of micro
computers are the Desktops and portable computers
Desktop Computers
Desktop computers are made up of individual components, such as a
monitor, a keyboard, a system unit, and a printer. Desktop computers are
not portable and are generally placed on the surface of a desk or a table.
The components of desktop computers can easily be replaced or
upgraded. Desktop computers usually have more memory, a larger hard
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

drive, more ports, and a bigger display than laptops and other portable
computers. Desktop computers can run continuously for long periods of

Portable Computers
The main feature of laptop computers is that they are small and portable.
As the name suggests, these can easily be placed on the lap of a user.
Desktop computers run on electricity only, while laptop computers run on
electricity or on batteries that can be recharged. However, laptop
computers consume more power than desktop computers with a similar
hardware setup. Laptop computers perform the same tasks as desktop
computers, but laptop computers generally cost more than desktop

 Laptop computers are lightweight personal computers. Laptop

computers are smaller in size as compared to a desktop computer and
are designed for travel. Laptop computers are also called notebook
 Handheld (PALM) computers are devices used for specific everyday
tasks, such as managing personal data. These are smaller than laptops
and provide fewer features compared to desktop computers or
laptops. These can also perform basic word-processing activities and
help you access the Internet. Several handheld computer models can
also work as cellular phones or digital cameras.
 Tablet computers are fully functional computers that allow you to
write directly on the screen by using a tablet pen. You can also use
the tablet pen to perform mouse functions. Tablet computers,
therefore, do not need a keyboard and a mouse.

The hardware are the parts of computer itself including the Central
Processing Unit (CPU) and related microchips and micro-circuitry,
keyboards, monitors, case and drives (hard, CD, DVD, floppy, optical,
tape, etc.). Other extra parts called peripheral components or devices
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

include mouse, printers, modems, scanners, digital cameras and cards

(sound, colour, and video) etc. Together they are often referred to as a
personal computer.

Central Processing Unit

The thinking part of the brain of the computer is the CPU or Central
Processing Unit. This component provides all the control and manages
calculations and manipulation of data.

Computer manufacturers are always trying to squeeze more speed and

multiprocessing capability (doing multiple things at the same time) out of
it. This has led to the dual core or multiple core CPU which is popular
today. A core is basically a computer so that a dual core computer is
really 2 computers in one.

Computer speed is usually measured in GHz which means Gigahertz

which in turn means billions of cycles per second. The basic idea is that
the higher the number of cycles, the faster the computer is. Today the
computer manufacturers are depending on the combined power of
multiple cores to provide the power instead of the number of GHz.

Though the term relates to a specific chip or the processor a CPU's

performance is determined by the rest of the computer's circuitry and

Currently the Pentium chip or processor, made by Intel, is the most

common CPU though there are many other companies that produce
processors for personal computers. Examples are the CPU made by
Motorola and AMD.

The keyboard is
used to type
information into the
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

computer or input information. There are many different keyboard

layouts and. The standard keyboard has 101 keys. Notebooks have
embedded keys accessible by special keys or by pressing key
combinations (CTRL or Command and P for example). Ergonomically
designed keyboards are designed to make typing easier. Hand held
devices have various and different keyboard configurations and touch

Some of the keys have a special use. There are referred to as command
keys. The 3 most common are the Control or CTRL, Alternate or Alt and
the Shift keys though there can be more (the Windows key for example
or the Command key). Each key on a standard keyboard has one or two
characters. Press the key to get the lower character and hold Shift to get
the upper.

Removable Storage and/or Disk Drives

All disks need a drive to get information off - or read - and put
information on the disk - or write. Each drive is designed for a specific
type of disk whether it is a CD, DVD, hard disk or floppy. Often the term
'disk' and 'drive' are used to describe the same thing but it helps to
understand that the disk is the storage device which contains computer
files - or software - and the drive is the mechanism that runs the disk.
Digital flash drives work slightly differently as they use memory cards to
store information so there are no moving parts. Digital cameras also use
Flash memory cards to store information, in this case photographs. Hand
held devices use digital drives and many also use memory cards.

Most modern computers today are run using a mouse
controlled pointer. Generally, the mouse has two buttons;
the left one is used to select objects and text and the right
one is used to access menus.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

One type of mouse has a round ball under the bottom of the mouse that
rolls and turns two wheels which control the direction of the pointer on
the screen. Another type of mouse uses an optical system to track the
movement of the mouse. Laptop computers use touch pads, buttons and
other devices to control the pointer. Hand held’s use a combination of
devices to control the pointer, including touch screens.

Note: It is important to clean the mouse periodically, particularly

if it becomes sluggish. A ball type mouse has a small circular
panel that can be opened, allowing you to remove the ball.

Mouse Techniques
Mouse Pointer
– Point
– Left click
– Right click
– Drag
– Double click

The monitor shows information on the screen
when you type. This is called outputting
information. When the computer needs more
information it will display a message on the
screen, usually through a dialog box. Monitors
come in many types and sizes. The resolution of
the monitor determines the sharpness of the
screen. The resolution can be adjusted to control
the screen's display.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

To get the full benefit of today's software with full colour graphics and
animation, computers need a colour monitor with a display or graphics

The printer takes the information on your screen and transfers it to paper
or a hard copy. There are many different types of printers with various
levels of quality. The three basic types of printer are; dot matrix, inkjet,
and laser.

✔ Dot matrix printers work like a typewriter transferring ink from a

ribbon to paper with a series or 'matrix' of tiny pins.

✔ Ink jet printers work like dot matrix printers but fire a stream of
ink from a cartridge directly onto the paper.

✔ Laser printers use the same technology as a photocopier using

heat to transfer toner onto paper.

A modem is used to translate information transferred through telephone
lines, cable or line-of-site wireless.

The term stands for modulate and demodulate which changes the signal
from digital, which computers use, to analogue, which telephones use and
then back again. Digital modems transfer digital information directly
without changing to analogue.

Modems are measured by the speed that the information is transferred.

The measuring tool is called the baud rate. Originally modems worked at
speeds below 2400 baud but today analogue speeds of 56,000 are
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

standard. Cable, wireless or digital subscriber lines can transfer

information much faster with rates of 300,000 baud and up.

Anyone who has used the Internet has noticed that at times the
information travels at different speeds. Depending on the amount of
information that is being transferred, the information will arrive at it's
destination at different times. The amount of information that can travel
through a line is limited. This limit is called bandwidth.

There are many more variables involved in communication technology

using computers, much of which is covered in the section on the Internet.

Scanners allow you to transfer pictures and photographs to your
computer. A scanner 'scans' the image from the top to the bottom, one
line at a time and transfers it to the computer as a series of bits or a
bitmap. You can then take that image and use it in a paint program, send
it out as a fax or print it.

Digital cameras allow you to take digital photographs. The images are
stored on a memory chip or disk that can be transferred to your computer.
Some cameras can also capture sound and video.

The System Unit

The case houses the microchips and circuitry that
run the computer. Desktop models usually sit
under the monitor and Tower models beside.
They come in many sizes, including desktop,
mini, midi, and full tower. There is usually room
inside to expand or add components at a later
time. By removing the cover off the case you may
find plate covered empty slots that allow you to
add cards. There are various types of slots
including IDE, ASI, USB, PCI and Firewire slots.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Depending on the type notebook computers may have room to expand.

Most Notebooks also have connections or ports that allow expansion or
connection to exterior, peripheral devices such as monitor, portable hard-
drives or other devices.

Cards are components added to computers to increase their capability.
When adding a peripheral device makes sure that your computer has a
slot of the type needed by the device.

Sound cards allow computers to produce sound like music and voice.
Though the human ear can't distinguish the fine difference between
sounds produced by the more powerful sound card they allow for more
complex music and music production.

Colour cards allow computers to produce colour (with a colour monitor

of course). The first colour cards were 2 bit which produced 4 colours
[CGA]. It was amazing what could be done with those 4 colours. Next
came 4 bit allowing for 16 [EGA and VGA] colours. Then came 16 bit
allowing for 1064 colours and then 24 bit which allows for almost 17
million colours and now 32 bit and higher allow monitors to display
almost a billion separate colours.

Video cards allow computers to display video and animation. Some video
cards allow computers to display television as well as capture frames
from video. A video card with a digital video camera allows computers
users to produce live video. A high speed connection is required for
effective video transmission.

Network cards allow computers to connect together to communicate with

each other. Network cards have connections for cable, thin wire or
wireless networks. For more information see the section on Networks.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Cables connect internal components to the Motherboard, which is a board

with series of electronic path ways and connections allowing the CPU to
communicate with the other components of the computer.

Computer software, or software, is the collection of computer programs
and related data that provide the instructions telling a computer what to
do. The term was coined to contrast to the old term hardware (meaning
physical devices). In contrast to hardware, software is intangible,
meaning it "cannot be touched". Software is also sometimes used in a
more narrow sense, meaning application software only.


System Software (Operating System)
Application Software (Programmes)

System Software (Operating System)

An Operating System is a suite of programs that acts as a platform or
takes over the operation of the computer to the extent of being able to
allow a number of programs to run on the computer without any human
intervention. The process of loading the operating system to prepare the
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

computer for use is known as Booting the computer. The operating

system provides an interface between the user or application progammes
and Hardware itself to control and manage the operations of the
computer. To run a programme, the first thing needed is to run the
operating system. Examples of operating systems are MSDOS (Disk
Operating System) and Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000,
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows NT, Novell NetWare and Unix
etc. The two types of Operating system software are Graphical User
Interface (GUI) e.g. Windows and Test Interface e.g. MS-Dos

Application Software (Programmes)

These are programmes that help the user to perform a task, such as
creating documents, performing calculations, making presentations,
sending mails and faxes etc. Examples of Application Software include
Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Desktop
Publishing/Graphics, Database, etc.
Even though the processor is the brain of the operation, without a
Motherboard all you will have is a cluster of components, which do not
fit each other. Consider the motherboard as the skeleton or a computer
where parts, similar to human organs, fit within it. All motherboards
share some basic elements. All motherboards must include an integrated
chipset, which establishes the types of components that are compatible
with it. All Motherboards must accommodate at least 1 CPU, capabilities
for some type storage device, as well as some common input/output
devices such as keyboard and mouse. Every motherboard includes BIOS
(Basic Input/ Output System) chip, which performs system checks at
boot-up time of the system. The BIOS also provides the means of
communication between the processor and installed peripherals. Most
BIOS’s allow a limited amount of customization such as power-saving
functions and even password protection for the system even before the
operating system (OS) loads as a method of protecting your computer
from unauthorized users.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer


The function of the hard disk drive is to provide convenient persistent
storage for data and programs. By persistent I mean that the information
will survive when the power to the computer is turned off. Hard disks
provide convenient storage for large amounts of data as it is always
accessible. You don't have to find and insert the next floppy disk, or data
storage tape.
Be aware that hard drives do not
provide permanent storage. Lots of
things can go wrong and your data can
be lost. You simply must look at it this
way... If you don't backup your data,
obviously you don't really want it! It
can and ultimately will be lost without


The floppy disk drive works on the same principals as a hard disk drive,
however it cannot record at such high data densities as the hard disk
drive. This is because of the nature of the disk material, and because it is
not rigid, nor fixed to the drive motor.

Floppy disks are made of Mylar coated with a

magnetic material and enclosed in a rigid
plastic case. Earlier floppy disks were larger
and had a much more flexible plastic case.
They were truly floppy and could easily be
damaged. Floppy disk drives are the slowest
type of disk drive you can get.


CD-ROMs encode data by
having small areas either
strongly reflective to light or
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

non-reflective to light. To read this data, a CD-ROM drive employs a

laser diode to emit an infrared light beam which is reflected onto a track
on the CD-ROM by a mirror that is positioned by a motor. The light
reflected by the disc is gathered and directed by a system of lenses to a
photo detector that converts the reflected light pulses into an electrical
signal, which is then decoded by the drive electronics and sent to the

These devices are slower than hard disks, but much faster than floppy


Input Material)

Information and programs are entered into the computer through Input
devices such as the keyboard, disks, or through other computers via
network connections or modems connected to the Internet. The input
device also retrieves information off disks.
Output Devices displays information on the screen (monitor) or the
printer and sends information to other computers. They also display
messages about what errors may have occurred and brings up message or
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

dialog box asking for more information to be input. The output device
also saves information on the disk for future use.

The CPU or central processing unit is sometimes called the Control Unit
and directs the operation of the input and output devices. The
Coprocessor or the Arithmetic-Logic Unit does arithmetic and
comparisons. The memory or RAM temporarily stores information (files
and programs) while you are using or working on them. The BIOS or
basic input/output system controls the dialogue between the various

Input Devices
An input device is any peripheral (piece of computer hardware
equipment) used to provide data and control signals to an information
processing system (such as a computer). Input and output devices make
up the hardware interface between a computer as a scanner. E.g. of input
devices are Mouse, keyboard, microphone, webcam, etc.

Output Devices
An output device is any piece of computer hardware equipment used to
communicate the results of data processing carried out by an information
processing system (such as a computer) to the outside world.

In computing, input/output, or I/O, refers to the communication between

an information processing system (such as a computer), and the outside
world. Inputs are the signals or data sent to the system, and outputs are
the signals or data sent by the system to the outside.

Examples of output devices:

 Speaker
 Headphones
 Screen (Monitor)
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 Printer

Storage Devices
Storage Devices are the data storage devices that are used in the
computers to store the data. The computer has many types of data storage
devices. Some of them can be classified as the removable data Storage
Devices and the others as the non removable data Storage Devices.

The storage devices are one of the most important components of the
computer system. The memory is of two types; one is the primary
memory and the other one is the secondary memory.

The primary memory is the volatile memory and the secondary memory
is the non volatile memory. The volatile memory is the kind of the
memory that is erasable and the non volatile memory is the one where in
the contents cannot be erased. Basically when we talk about the data
storage devices it is generally assumed to be the secondary memory.

The secondary memory is used to store the data permanently in the

computer. The secondary storage devices are as follows: hard disk drives,
floppy disk drives, the CD ROM, and the DVD ROM. The flash memory,
the USB data card etc.

The storage devices are used to record the data over any storage surface.
The memories may also be of different types depending upon the
architecture and the design like the optical data storage memory,
magnetic media storage and the mechanical storage media etc and also
the flash memory devices etc.

The data in the storage devices can be in the form of the files, databases,
digital video and the audio etc. The storage devices that are called as the
non volatile can store the data permanently until otherwise erased
purposely. This is in the case of the hard disk drives or the floppy disk
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

The other kinds of the storage media like for example the CD and the
DVD can even have again two types of the storage; the first one is that in
which the data once written cannot be erased. It is stored permanently
over it. While the second type of the CD’s or the DVD’s are called as the
rewritable; where in the data that is once written can be erased
completely and the same storage device can be used again for storing the
different data.

ENTER or RETURN - Moves the cursor down one line and to the left
margin. Enter also process commands such as choosing an option in a
dialog (message) boxes and submitting a form.

DEL or DELETE - Deletes the character at cursor and/or characters to the

right of the cursor and all highlighted (or selected) text.

BKSP or BACKSPACE - Deletes the character to the left of cursor and

all highlighted text.

SPACE BAR - Moves the cursor one space at a time to the right

SHIFT KEY - Use the shift keys to type capital letters and to type the
upper character on keys with two characters on them

CAPS LOCK - Locks the keyboard so it types capital letters (a light goes
on when caps lock is on)

TAB - Moves the cursor five spaces to the right (number of spaces are
usually adjustable). Tab moves to the next field in a form or table (Shift-
Tab for previous field).
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

ESC or ESCAPE - Cancels a menu or dialog box

ARROW KEYS - Moves the cursor around document without changing


FUNCTION KEYS or F KEYS - Access commands by themselves or in

combination with the three command keys; CTRL, SHIFT, and ALT


Command keys normally do nothing on their own but work in
combination with other keys. Each piece of software uses the command
keys differently though there is a move to standardize some functions.
The Control key or Ctrl is often used to access commands. The
Alternative key or Alt is often used to access menus. The Shift key is
used to type CAPITAL LETTERS. As well the command keys are all
used to move through documents and edit text faster and easier. As well
many computers have Special keys design specifically for the particular
computer. Apple computers have the Apple keys and Macs have
Command keys. Many keyboards now have a Windows key specifically
for Windows 9x and newer systems. Many older computers also have
special keys used for a variety of different functions.

Some Notebook or Laptop keys are left out because of space limitations
and they usually have a Special function key which allows other keys to
double for the missing ones.


Place one space between each word, after a punctuation mark and at the
end of a sentence. Always start a sentence with a capital letter. Use
capitals for names, addresses, provinces and countries, places,
organizations, businesses, associations, schools, colleges, universities,
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

days of the week, months, holidays, nationalities, ethnic groups and


Learning the keyboard is the first step to learning computers. Learning

involves practice. It really is as simple as that. There are two kinds of

The first is called Touch Typing. The Touch Typist uses the Home Keys
(ASDF for the left hand and JKL; for the right) and all the fingers on both
hands as well as the thumbs for the Space Bar while typing. There are
many commercial and public domain programs that are designed to teach
this method.

The other method is some times called 'Hunt and Peck' or depending on
finger strength 'Search and Destroy'. This involves using one or more
fingers on one or two hands to type. It is a perfectly acceptable way of
using a computer and many people get along fine with this technique.

A peripheral is a device attached to a host computer but not part of it, and
is more or less dependent on the host. It expands the host's capabilities,
but does not form part of the core computer architecture.

Examples are computer printers, image scanners, tape drives,

microphones, loudspeakers, webcams, and digital cameras.
Whether something is a peripheral or part of a computer is not always
clearly demarcated. A video capture card inside a computer case is not
part of the core computer but is contained in the case. However, whether
something can be considered a peripheral or not is a trivial matter of
nomenclature, and is not a significant issue.


This is the part of the computer, which holds instructions and data within
the computer or the electronic holding place for instructions and data that
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

your computer's microprocessor can reach quickly. It holds the

computer’s thoughts and it is divided into two main parts namely the
ROM (Read Only Memory) and RAM (Random Access Memory).

Read Only Memory (ROM)

This part of the memory remembers information permanently. The
information in this part of the memory is remembered even when the
power is turned off. One can only read the information but cannot
change it.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

The data that the computer receives and the information that the
computer processes are kept in the RAM during the work section. It
remembers the information temporarily. When the computer is
switched off the information in the RAM is deleted thus it is advisable to
save the work on a disk to avoid losing ones work.

The information stored in the computer is internally represented in the
form of 0s and 1s. Each 0 or 1 is called a bit. A combination of eight bits
is called a byte.
 1 character (8 Bits) = 1 byte
 1024 bytes = 1 Kilobytes
 1024 Kilobytes = 1 megabyte
 1024 megabyte = 1 Gigabyte
 1024 Gigabyte = 1 Terabyte
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer


Windows Operating System
Microsoft Windows is a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This is a screen
that appears when you start a computer, containing all the choices
available to you. You interact with the GUI using a mouse to move an
on-screen pointer. You choose an option by clicking the left mouse
button once, sometimes twice in quick succession (a double-click). You
can also use the pointer to mark bits of text or graphics that you want to
copy, move or delete, to draw diagrams or pictures, to move items on the
screen, and carry out various tasks in different applications (i.e.
programs). Microsoft Windows is the GUI used by most IBM compatible

The Windows Desktop

Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

In the above figure, you can see an example of the Windows XP desktop.
When you first switch on your machine and Windows XP loads, it will
look similar to that shown in our example (although Windows XP by
default has a picture for the desktop background).

Desktop refers to the main background area (in our example the white
area). You can customize your desktop in various ways, including adding
a background picture, changing the background colour, and changing
the size of the icons on the desktop.

Desktop Icons
Icons are small graphical images that can represent your computer's
programs, files, folders and printers amongst other things as in the figure

To activate the program/file/folder that an icon represents you simply

double click (two clicks in quick succession) on it with the left mouse
button. This will activate the icon and either start a program or open a

The icons on your desktop can be renamed by right clicking on them and
selecting rename. They can be deleted by right clicking and selecting

It's possible to create your own Windows desktop icons for programs,
files, folders, etc.

In our example we have two icons. The outlook icon is for example
purposes only; you may have different icons including My Documents,
My Computer, My Network Places and the recycle bin icon.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Recycle Bin
When you delete a file, Windows XP will place the file into the recycle
bin (instead of deleting it altogether), this allows you to restore the file in
case you deleted it by mistake.

For example, if you deleted a file by accident you could double click on
the recycle bin icon to see its contents. Inside you will see the file/folder
that you deleted, to restore the file back to where you deleted it from,
right click on it and then select restore from the menu that appears.

Keeping your Windows Desktop Tidy

The more you use Windows XP the more your desktop may start to fill
up with icons, either because you install more software or you create your
own icons.

Windows XP can automatically align and sort your desktop icons to keep
the desktop tidy.

To achieve this, click the right mouse button anywhere on the desktop
and a menu will appear (similar to that shown in the figure above). Hover
the mouse pointer over Arrange Icons By and a submenu will appear;
from here you can sort your desktop icons by name, size, type and last
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Selecting the Auto Arrange option will automatically align your desktop
icons every time one is added to the desktop.

The Desktop Cleanup Wizard will remove any desktop shortcuts that
have never been used. They get stored in a new folder on your desktop
called Unused Desktop
The Windows XP Start Button
The start button is a very important part of
Windows XP. Clicking on the start button
opens up what is called the start menu; the
start menu is used to access your programs, settings, printers and more.
The Start button (at the bottom of the screen, on the Taskbar), allows you
to run programs. A button appears on the Taskbar each time a program is
started or a window opened.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

The Start Button Menu Overview

Here is an overview of the different options:
Log off - Log off the current user.

Turn off Computer - shutdown, restart and standby.

All Programs - Access to installed programs.

Run - Used to manually start executable files (programs).

Search - Search your PC for pictures, music, documents, files and


Help and Support - Opens the built-in Windows help system, including
various help and support topics. You can control windows updates and
also request remote assistance from a friend/colleague via the internet or
Printers and Faxes - Access to your printers and faxes folder, allows you
to add and configure printers/faxes.

Control Panel - The control panel is used to configure various Windows

XP settings. We will be looking at the Win XP control panel in detail
later in the tutorial.

My Computer - Gives you access to your computer's disk drives and

files. We will be looking more closely at the My Computer function later
in the tutorial.

My Music - Links to a folder created by Windows XP which is used (by

default) to store any music files on your hard drive.

My Pictures - Links to a folder (again created by Windows XP) used (by

default) to store any pictures/images on your hard drive.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

My Recent Documents - This folder contains any recently viewed


My Documents - Gives access to a folder created by Windows XP which

is used (by default) to store any documents on your hard drive.

Tour Windows XP - Starts the built-in tour of Windows XP's features.

Windows Movie Maker - Opens Windows XP's movie editing software.

Outlook Express - Opens the Outlook Express mail program.

Files and Settings Transfer Wizard - Allows you to import or export

your files and settings from or to a different installation of Windows XP.

Note: some of the options have a small black arrow to their right, this
means that another submenu will appear when you hover your mouse
pointer over it

The All programs Menu

When you hover the mouse over
All Programs on the Start Menu,
you will see a menu appear
similar to that shown in the figure.
The menu gives you access to the
programs currently installed on
your PC.

Your menu might be different

from this example, as you will
have different programs installed
on your PC.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

To open a program simply left click on it with the left mouse button.
Notice some options have a small black arrow to the right hand side, this
indicates that it contains another sub-menu.

For example, the accessories folder in our example has a sub-menu, if

you wanted to open a program from within the sub-menu, you would
hover the mouse pointer over accessories and click on the program you
want from the list that appears.

You can rename any program on the menu by right clicking on it and
selecting rename from the menu that appears.

After installing new software it will (usually) appear on the programs


To remove a program from the All Programs menu simply right click on
it and select delete.

Note: if you want to uninstall a program then use the control panel to
uninstall it.

Overview of the TURN-OFF COMPUTER menu

Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

If you click on the Turn Off Computer option on the start menu you will
see a dialogue box like that shown in the figure. Below is a summary of
the options available:

Standby - This will put your computer into standby mode. Windows XP
will power down components like the monitor and hard drive to preserve
Turn Off - Shuts down the PC, always use this option to turn off your
Restart - this will restart the computer.

The taskbar is another important part of the Windows XP operating

system. One of its main uses is to switch between any open programs or
Window Tabs - The Windows tabs are used to switch between any open
windows (programs, folders, documents, etc).

In the figure above, we have 2 windows open (word and excel). You can
switch between the windows by simply clicking on the corresponding
window tab, clicking a second time on the same tab will minimise the

Grouping Window Tabs - A nice feature of Windows XP is that, unlike

previous versions of windows, when the taskbar fills up with window
tabs it can group all files/windows within a single program into just one
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

window tab. In other words, if you have 2 documents open in Word; you
will only have one tab on the taskbar (instead of 2). You can then access
each document by left clicking on the tab and selecting the file/window
you want from the menu that appears. This feature can be switched off by
right clicking on the taskbar, clicking on properties and then unchecking
the box next to Group similar taskbar buttons.

System Tray - The system tray displays icons for programs that are
loaded into memory, although not all programs place an icon in this tray.

The Windows XP Clock

The clock sits on the taskbar (see fig
1.1) and displays the system time.
Hovering the mouse pointer over the
clock will reveal the date, to learn how
to change the time and date see our guide to changing the date/time in
Win XP

Changing the Date/Time in Windows

The first thing to do is double click the clock on the taskbar; you will be
presented with the Windows XP Date and Time Properties box.

In figure beside, you can

see an example of a
typical Windows XP
Date and Time Properties
box, we have pointed out
the areas of interest.

To adjust the date, use

the monthly calendar (A)
along with the month
selector (B) and year
selector (C).
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

To adjust the time, click on the part of the time you want to change (hour
or minutes) (D) and then use the up and down arrows (E) to change it.

To adjust the time zone click on the Time Zone tab (F) and then select
your time zone from the selection tool provided.

The Internet Time tab (G) allows you to synchronise your PC's clock
with an internet server.

The Program Window

Every program window has a title bar, and a menu bar. The title bar
identifies the contents of the window: it may be the name of a program
running, or a file you are working on within a program (like a word
processed document). If it is coloured, it shows that the window is active,
i.e. that it is the one you are using right now. If it is grey, it shows that the
window is inactive. You can also use the title bar to move windows on
the screen. Put the pointer in the title bar, hold down the mouse button,
and move the mouse, and the whole window will move.

At the right end of the title bar there are three buttons, a minimise button,
a maximise/restore button and a close button. The minimise button will
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

reduce the window to a button on the taskbar. To change this button back
to a window, click on the taskbar button. The maximise/restore button
switches between a maximise button, which expands the window to fill
the whole screen, and a restore button which returns the window to its
original size. The close button closes the window, and quits the running

The size of windows can be changed. When you place the pointer over
the border of the window, it will change shape to a double-headed arrow;
then the window border can be moved, by dragging (i.e. holding the left
mouse button down and moving the mouse).
The Menu Bar shows the headings for menus that will appear if the
heading is clicked. A typical menu (File) options include Open,
Save and Exit.
If a window contains more information than can be displayed, a scroll
bar will appear either at the side or bottom of the window, or both. The
bar has arrow buttons at each end; clicking these will move the full
contents of the window up and down or from side to side within the
window, allowing all of it to be viewed. There is also a movable block on
the scroll bar, which can be dragged to achieve the same end.

Dialog Boxes
Windows applications frequently have to ask the user for further
information to complete an operation. Thus if you want to save a new
file, you will be asked to supply a filename and to indicate the drive and
directory where the file will be located. To make these requests,
Windows applications use a dialog box.


In most programs you will see a file drop down menu that has both a save
and save as option on it. Most new computer users do not clearly see the
difference between Save and Save as. They look very similar, sound like
they do the same thing, but are not alike at all. They both are relating to
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

saving files onto your computer but can both have very different

When you are saving a file for the first time and press save you will see
options on choosing a file name, file location, and file type.

When you save a file that already has a previous version saved, with the
exact filename, pressing save will overwrite that file. You will not see the
same options as you did when you first pressed save on a new file. In fact
you will most likely see absolutely nothing. It will just silently overwrite
the original file.

Pressing save as will again give you the options to change the file
location, file type, and most importantly, the file name. This will allow
you to save your file under a new name and avoid overwriting the
original file.

Savings a Document/File
Saving your files keeps you from losing your work in the event of a crash
or power failure, and lets you name your files so that you can easily find
it again. You can also save the file in a format that is compatible with all
versions of the application you plan on using to access it, later.

 Choose File => Save

You can find File on the Menu bar near the top of the file that you
want to save.
If you’ve saved a document before, choosing File→Save saves the
most recent changes to the document without having to go through
the Save As dialog box settings again. However, if you want to save
an existing document with another name or different settings (such as
a new format), select File→Save As and enter the new information.
The newly saved file doesn’t overwrite the original, but does create a
new version.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 Locate the folder where you want to save the file

Locate the folder by using the Save In drop-down list or by clicking
an icon along the left side, such as My Documents or My Computer.

If you’re saving a file and want to create a new folder to save it in,
from within the Save As dialog box click the New Folder button,
enter a folder name in the New Folder dialog box, click OK, and

 Name the file

In the File Name text box, enter a descriptive name for the file.

 Check the file's format

If you want to save the file in the default application format, you don't
have to do anything, but if you want to save the file in a format other
than the default application format, open the Save as Type drop-
down list and select the format.
You might also look for a Save as Web Page command on many File
menus. This allows you to publish a document in a format that will be
readable by browsers if you post to a Web site.

 Click the Save button.

Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Clicking the Save button saves the file in the location you chose and
with the name you specified.

What Is Word-Processing?
Word Processor is a Software package that enables you to create, edit,
print and save documents for future retrieval and reference. Creating a
document involves typing by using a keyboard and saving it. Editing a
document involves correcting the spelling mistakes, if any, deleting or
moving words sentences or paragraphs.

Advantages of Word Processing

One of the main advantages of a word processor over a conventional
typewriter is that a word processor enables you to make changes to a
document without retyping the entire document.

Features of Word Processing

Most Word Processor available today allows more than just creating and
editing documents. They have wide range of other tools and functions,
which are used in formatting the documents. The following are the main
features of a Word Processor
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 Text is typing into the computer, which allows alterations to be made

 Words and sentences can be inserted, amended or deleted.
 Paragraphs or text can be copied /moved throughout the document.
 Margins and page length can be adjusted as desired.
 Spelling can be checked and modified through the spell check
 Multiple document/files can be merged.
 Multiple copies of letters can be generated with different addresses
through the mail-merge facility.

Some Common Word Processing Packages

The followings are examples of some popular word processor available
 SoftWord
 WordStar
 Word perfect
 Microsoft word


General keyboard shortcuts
 CTRL+C (Copy)
 CTRL+X (Cut)
 CTRL+V (Paste)
 CTRL+Z (Undo)
 DELETE (Delete)
 SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without
placing the item in the Recycle Bin)
 CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)
 CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the
selected item)
 F2 key (Rename the selected item)
 CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning
of the next word)
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of

the previous word)
 CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning
of the next paragraph)
 CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of the
previous paragraph)
 CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of text)
 SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than one item in a
window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)
 CTRL+A (Select all)
 F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)
 ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)
 ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)
 ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)
 ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)
 CTRL+F4 (Close the active document in programs that enable you to
have multiple documents open simultaneously)
 ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)
 ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had been
 F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the
 F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows
 SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)
 ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active window)
 CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)
 ALT + Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the corresponding
 Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu (Perform the
corresponding command)
 F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active program)
 RIGHT ARROW (Open the next menu to the right, or open a
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 LEFT ARROW (Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu)
 F5 key (Update the active window)
 BACKSPACE (View the folder one level up in My Computer or
Windows Explorer)
 ESC (Cancel the current task)
 SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive (Prevent
the CD-ROM from automatically playing)
 CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (Open Task Manager)

Microsoft natural keyboard shortcuts

 Windows Logo (Display or hide the Start menu)
 Windows Logo +BREAK (Display the System Properties dialog box)
 Windows Logo + D (Display the desktop)
 Windows Logo + M (Minimize all of the windows)
 Windows Logo + SHIFT + M (Restore the minimized windows)
 Windows Logo + E (Open My Computer)
 Windows Logo + F (Search for a file or a folder)
 CTRL+ Windows Logo +F (Search for computers)
 Windows Logo+F1 (Display Windows Help)
 Windows Logo+ L (Lock the keyboard)
 Windows Logo +R (Open the Run dialog box)
 Windows Logo +U (Open Utility Manager)

A global network connecting millions of computers. More than 100
countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions. Unlike
online services, which are centrally controlled, the Internet is
decentralized by design. Each Internet computer, called a host, is
independent. Its operators can choose which Internet services to use and
which local services to make available to the global Internet community.
Remarkably, this anarchy by design works exceedingly well. There are a
variety of ways to access the Internet. Most online services, such as
America Online, offer access to some Internet services. It is also possible
to gain access through a commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

There many advantages to using the internet such as:
 Email
Email is now an essential communication tools in business. It is also
excellent for keeping in touch with family and friends. The
advantages to email is that it is free (no charge per use) when
compared to telephone, fax and postal services.

 Information
There is a huge amount of information available on the internet for
just about every subject known to man, ranging from government law
and services, trade fairs and conferences, market information, new
ideas and technical support.

 Services.
Many services are now provided on the internet such as online
banking, job seeking and applications, and hotel reservations. Often
these services are not available off-line or cost more.

 Buy or sell products.

The internet is a very effective way to buy and sell products all over
the world.

 Communities.
Communities of all types have sprung up on the internet. It’s a great
way to meet up with people of similar interest and discuss common

Computer viruses are malicious computer programs. These are written
with the sole intention of causing you grief or stealing your sensitive
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

information. A virus is a type of malware and this simply means that it's
not beneficial for your computer.
Not all computer programs are friendly. A virus is one example of nasty
software which will make your computer less reliable and can even
jeopardize your personal information.
The Spread of Computer Viruses
Computer viruses have been around for a long time. In the past they used
to spread whenever people shared floppy disks. Before the internet, the
sharing of programs and data on floppy disks was very common.

Nowadays most viruses are spread through the internet. The internet has
made viruses spread much quicker and what once took days now takes
hours. Computer viruses can replicate themselves and infect other files on
your computer. This means that if your PC is infected with a virus then
whatever files you share with other people could contain the virus.

Computer Virus Risk

Computer viruses are a major concern for anyone using a computer.
There are a number of serious risks caused by these programs. Computer
viruses will start to make your computer misbehave. Some viruses are
harmless and simply make your computer do something slightly

However, there are also a number of very dangerous viruses which can
put your entire identity at risk. Identity theft is a major threat which can
affect anyone when they least expect it. Computers know a lot about you
and viruses can help share this information with criminals.

A virus or Trojan could be all a hacker needs to learn all about you. They
will be able to use this information to apply for credit cards and other
loans in your name.

Protecting your PC
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

It's essential that you protect your computer against viruses as this will
help to protect your identity. To protect your computer it's important that
you install a virus scanner. It's also essential that you keep your virus
scanner updated regularly. Choosing a reliable antivirus application
which offers a subscription will ensure your PC is fully protected.
A firewall should also be used to ensure your PC is protected from
hackers. The security of your computer is very important and isn't
something that you should overlook.

Folders are the basic organizational building blocks of any computer
system. Without folders it would be virtually impossible to keep track of
all the files that are found on even the smallest system. New folders can
be created just about anywhere, but three methods are shown below.

Creating a Folder
New Folder on Desktop
 Right click anywhere on an open area of the desktop
 Select New and then click Folder
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 A new folder with the default name New Folder will be created on the
desktop. Either accept the default name New Folder (bad idea) by
hitting the enter key or type a new name for the folder (good idea)
and then hit enter on the keyboard.

New Folder Using Windows Explorer in Hierarchical View

There are two easy methods for creating a new folder in this view
 On the Menu bar select File => New => Folder and the folder will
be created in the right hand pane. The trick is to make sure that prior
to making the selections from the Menu that you are located at the
proper place in the hierarchical view in the left pane. The new folder
will always be created as a subfolder of whatever location you have

Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

New Folder Using Windows Explorer in Task View

Once again, make sure you're in the location where the new folder is to
be created.

 In the File and Folder Tasks section, click the Make a New Folder

 The New Folder is created in the right hand pane as shown in the
screen capture below.
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

 Note that the File and Folder Tasks section also expands to include
new entries relative to what can be done with the folder just created.

Computer errors and software failures happen occasionally so it is
important to backup your files and documents.

One simple way to backup your files is to copy them to a disk. If there
are only a few small files a floppy disk will work but if you are backing
up lots of large files a CD/DVD burner, a second hard drive or tape
backup may be needed. You can use a software program to automate
backups or do it manually. A manual backup usually involves dragging
the files or folders to the backup disk or tape to create the duplicate

Store your backup files in a safe place out of the sun and away from
electro-magnetic devices such as speakers and wires with strong electrical

Every file that you create and plan to keep should be backed up. This
includes word processing documents, financial information, databases,
photos, etc...


Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

Most software you buy or get off the Internet is compressed. Computers
store information in bytes which are made up of on or off signals. The
software applications that uses these files need to have all the on and off
signals (bytes) in place but when the file is stored they can be modified to
take up less space on the storage disk or tape.

There are commercial and shareware programs that will compress and
decompressed files for you. The most popular form of data compression
is called zip but there are others available as well.

Programs are also available to compress and decompress your files as

you or the application you are using requires them. This can be a way of
making more space available on a hard drive. Windows comes with a
program that will compress part of your hard disk. Be sure to read the
documentation before embarking on a project like compressing a hard


Health and Safety is crucial to the effective operation of a computer.
Stress is widely accepted as a common and possibly the most dangerous
aspect of using a computer.

It is possible to use a computer safely if a few simple rules are


Musculoskeletal problems can occur when improper office equipment is

used. Chairs should be adjustable so that legs are at a right angle. The
back should have good support for the spine and lower back. The seat
should swivel and be made from fabric that is porous.

Eye strain can be caused by staring at a fix object for extended periods of
time (like a computer). People who use glasses may have to get their
prescriptions changed and people who use bifocals can find that the line
interferes with the screen and trifocals triple the problem. Regular users
Introduction to I.C.T. and Computer

of computers may develop focusing problems. Temporary colour

distortion has also been reported.

A safe working environment is crucial. Ventilation is an integral part of

the new technological workplace. Though standards are set by the
manufacturer of computer equipment the modern office has many
different pieces of equipment. All electronic equipment emits some level
of electromagnetic field which, on its own, most likely isn't a concern but
when combined with other equipment can create hazardous working
environments. Pregnant women should take extra care when working
around electromagnetic fields. Like any piece of equipment, computers
should have scheduled maintenance.

Stress is caused by many things including poor or inadequate training,

monitoring, fear of new technology, lack of control over work, physical
problems, hardware problems causing delays, poor layout of work space
and the myriad of other problems that people experience that combine to
create stressful situations.

Time away from the computer during the work day is crucial! This gives
the body a chance to stretch and gives the eyes a chance to rest. Breaks
should be scheduled and followed with great discipline. Computers, even
more so than television, have a mesmerizing effect on the user so that it is
easy to work right through breaks without noticing.

There are many other issues to be discussed around computer health and
safety but it is important to understand that there are problems and
solutions to those problems that the user, administrator and manager must