Lesson 4 Computer Software. Hardware vs. Software. Computer systems consist of both hardware and software. Hardware has little value without software, and software cannot run without hardware to run it. What Is Software?
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When you start your computer, operating system commands are loaded into memory.
Each operating system starts the computer in its own individual way.
When you turn on a computer, you boot the system.
POST (Power-on Self Test), a series of tests that check RAM and verify that the keyboard and disk drives are connected to the computer, runs when you start your computer.
Then the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) searches for the boot record. The hard disk drive C is typically the startup drive, so that is where the BIOS will look first for the boot record. BIOS is built-in software on a ROM chip. It contains all of the code that controls the monitor, keyboard, disk drives, and other components. The boot record, which includes several files, is loaded into RAM. These files contain programming configuration instructions for hardware devices and software applications that you may have installed on your computer.
Next, the software drivers are loaded. Drivers enable you to use your printer, modem, scanner, or other devices. Generally, when you add a new device to your system, drivers are installed for that device.
Next to be loaded is the GUI or graphical user interface, such as Windows XP. When loading the GUI, the operating system reads the commands for your desktop configuration. It also loads whatever programs you have previously specified into the Windows Startup Folder.
If everything goes as it should, the GUI displays the desktop and the computer is ready to use.