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The Main Functions of Computer Components

BIOS

The main function of BIOS in a computer is set up the hardware, ready for loading and the eventual starting of an operating system. The first function of the BIOS once the computer has been turned on is to initiate the process of identifying the system devices. These devices include the keyboard, hard disc drive, optical disk drive, and the mouse, among other hardware. Thereafter, the BIOS locate such software as a CD/DVD or the hard disc, often designated as ‘boot device’. It loads the software before executing it, thereby giving the ‘boot device’ control over the PC. This is the booting process.

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Circuit Board

The role of the circuit board is to provide electrical connection to the various electrical components. Also, the circuit board facilitates electrical connections. To do so, it makes use of conductive pathways and signal traces.

CPU

The CPU (central processing unit) executes the instructions that allow a computer program to undertake basic logical, arithmetical, and output/input operations. The CPU may be regarded as the computer’s brain.

Motherboard

The motherboard facilitates the communication of the various components of the system. Besides other devices and subsystems, the motherboard connects the CPU as well. The supporting chipset of the microprocessor is a significant component of the motherboard as well. In this case, the component functions as an interface, supporting the external components, the various buses, and the CPU as well. To a certain extent, the capabilities and features of the motherboard depend on the chipset.

Operating System

The main function of the operating system is to act as a link between the computer hardware and the application programs. This is especially the case with such hardware functions as output and input, as well as memory allocation.

ROM

The main function of Read Only Memory (ROM) is to store information that the user can never change. Such information includes the start up instructions of a computer. Even when power goes off, such instructions are not erased.

RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) stores data temporarily. Unlike ROM, RAM tends to be dynamic, meaning that any data stored in it gets lost once power goes off.

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Bootstrapping is the term used in reference to the procedure of starting up a computer. In this case, the computer is normally in a powered-down or halted condition, and it has to be started up to facilitate an interaction with the user.

Once the user switches on the computer, the memory-resident code of the computer, contained by the CPU board, is activated. At this stage, the operating system is still not available to facilitate operations. The computer must therefore must undergo the bootstrapping procedure in order to ‘pull itself up by its own boot-straps’, literary. The bootstrapping procedure is also referred to as cold boot. Often, bootstrapping depend mainly on the computer hardware. Nonetheless, below are the main steps of the bootstrapping process:

  • The first step involves a self-test by the memory-resident code. The code also probes the bus on behalf of the boot device to facilitate a reading of the boot program.
  • The second step entails a reading into the kernel by the boot program, with a subsequent passing of control to the kernel.
  • Then, the kernel is able to recognize and configure the various devices involved.
  • The system is then initialized and the system processes started. If necessary, the system is brought into a single-user mode.
  • The suitable startup scripts are run.
  •  Finally, the system is brought up to enable multi-purpose operations.

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