Your Computer System (A001)

Your computer system is a tool you likely use at work every day, but do you know how it works?

No matter what your profession, you are likely to use a computer for all or part of your job. You may need various hardware such as a mouse and a keyboard, and various software such as Microsoft Office in order tto write reports. There are many different combinations of hardware and software, but there is even more complexity under the hood that makes it possible for you to use them.

System administration is a term used to describe the activity of managing computers and employees that use them. Most of the time, if you are an employee you won’t need to know how they work or how to connect to other computers, you just need to log on and do your work. It’s the job of a system administrator, along with others such as the network administrator, to make sure all parts of the computer system work together.

Here we’ll cover Windows 10, Windows 10 Server and maybe Linux, and you’ll see the difference between a consumer and a provider of various services. For now, all you need to know is that a service in the context of IT is similar to any other service — if you go to a doctor, the service being performed is a check-up or a diagnosis or a particular ailment. When you want to do something like print or share files, your computer runs a service in order to make that happen. Different parts of the operating system provide these services for software and devices to function, and the system administrator provides his or her services to make sure the computer system is always up and running smoothly.

If you’re brand new to computers, you may have heard of Windows 10 and all you know is that it’s an operating system. An operating system is the main program that allows your computer hardware to interact with the software and do everything you want to do. Different operating systems work differently in the way they store files, manage disk space, interact with hardware and perform other functions — and, of course, many of them look much different from one another. In the next lesson, you’ll learn the difference between a client and a server and I’ll begin to explain how two computers can work in unique ways.

The word system may sound confusing because we are talking about system administration, and I have mentioned both computer systems and operating systems. Both of these are part of what you might just want to call a computer system, but the important thing to know from this lesson is that this topic covers how a system administrator manages computers and their users. We are not worried about networking or security except when it comes to each machine because the most basic system is a standalone machine that is not connected to anything else. Later, you’ll see why security still matters and how we want to connect that computer to something, especially when it is one of many in the organization.