How Do Computers Work

Have you ever wondered – how do computers work?

Even if you use it all the time, there is a possibility that you are not aware how it actually works. After all, most computers are created to be very user-friendly. That means you can use it even if you have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.

The truth is all the details about how computers work can be very confusing. Not everyone will understand it. But if you try to get to know the basics, it should help you gain insight on how it really works. By doing so, you will gain a better appreciation of your computer. In effect, you will learn how to use it properly.

Parts of a computer

To understand and answer the question “how do computers work?” you need to know the different parts of the computer first. There are two main categories that make up a modern computer: hardware and software.


This is the physical part of the computer that includes the monitor, keyboard, mouse, speaker, and printer. At least, these are the main parts. These have other parts like the motherboard, processing chips, CPU (central processing unit), etc. What the hardware does is to process any command that comes from the software. It is also the one performing the calculations and tasks.


This involves the programmes installed on the computer. These will prompt the hardware to perform computing tasks. There are so many types of software programmes. You have the operating system software (e.g. Windows or Apple iOS). There are also several application software programmes like tools, office systems, games, etc.

These two make up the computer. But how do computers work? You need to provide input. You will be the one to type the command, click on a link, or choose an icon. That is how the software will know what command to give the hardware. Let us explore that a bit further.

How they all work together

If you want to use a computer, what do you do first? You provide your input by pressing the power button. This will tell the software that you want to open the computer. It will send the command to the hardware so it will start specific programmes for you. Once completed, that is called booting up.

Once the computer is open, you will see the different programmes. If you want to send an email, you will use the mouse to click on the icon. The software programme will open this part of your computer and the hardware will display it on the screen. You are then free to type the email address, message, etc. When you press send, that would prompt the software to send the message out. The software will also prompt other parts of the hardware like the modem, etc.

As you can see, answering the question “how do computers work” is very simple. You just have to understand that parts and how they all work together. The process is always the same. You will give the input so the software programmes will know what command to give the hardware. It creates a cycle of cause and effect as all three work together to help you find the results that you are looking for.