Q&A-Introduction to Computers

Storage media


State three types of optical disks

  • compact disks
  • DVDs
  • Blue Ray

Definition of a Computer


Clearly define a computer

  • A computer is an electronic device that operates (works) under the control of programs stored in its own memory unit
  • An electronic device that accepts data, as input and transforms it under the influence of a set of special instructions called programs, to produce the desired output (referred to as information)

Introduction to Computers


State two reasons for the increased use of computers in offices                      (2 marks)

  • They are small and fit in a small storage space
  • They are portable hence can be carried when need to be used outside the office
  • Low power consumption
  • Have rechargeable batteries

Introduction to Computers


A computer laboratory experiences power supply problems. Describe three power related problems that should be addressed

Blackout: This is unexpected discontinuation of power supply in the laboratory.

Power sag: Sudden drop of voltage levels that lasts less than a second.

Transients/ surge: High voltage flowing.

Brownout: Partial blackout where there's low voltage flow.

Historical Development of Computers


State three features of the fifth generation computers (3mks)    [2017 paper 1]

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Parallel processing
  • Natural language processing
  • quantum computing

Introduction to Computers


What precaution would you take in a computer lab if humidity falls below normal for prolonged periods due to weather changes?

  1. Use a humidifier: Using a humidifier can help maintain a consistent level of humidity in the computer lab, which can prevent the negative effects of low humidity.

  2. Avoid dry air: Avoid creating a dry environment in the computer lab by opening windows or using fans to increase air circulation.

  3. Regular maintenance: Ensure that all computer components are properly maintained and cleaned to prevent damage due to static electricity.

  4. Backup data: Regularly backup all important data to avoid data loss in case of hardware failure caused by low humidity.

  5. Monitor humidity levels: Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in the computer lab and take corrective measures if the levels fall below a safe range.

  6. Use anti-static materials: Use anti-static mats or wristbands when handling computer components to prevent static electricity buildup.

Introduction to Computers


Explain what happens in the computer during the booting process

The booting process is the sequence of events that occur when a computer is turned on or restarted. It involves a series of steps that allow the computer's operating system to initialize and become functional. Here's a simplified explanation of what happens during the booting process:

  1. Power-On Self-Test (POST): When the computer is powered on, the first thing it does is perform a Power-On Self-Test. During this step, the computer's hardware components, such as the CPU, memory, and storage devices, are checked for proper functioning. The POST verifies that all essential hardware components are present and operational.

  2. Bootloader: Once the POST is completed, the computer looks for the bootloader. The bootloader is a small program stored in the computer's firmware or on the bootable device (such as the hard drive or a USB drive). It is responsible for loading the operating system.

  3. Loading the Operating System: The bootloader locates the operating system's files and initiates the loading process. It may display a boot menu allowing the user to choose the operating system if multiple options are available. The selected operating system's core files are loaded into the computer's memory.

  4. Kernel Initialization: The operating system's kernel, which is the central component responsible for managing system resources, is initialized. The kernel sets up essential components such as device drivers, memory management, and process management.

  5. System Initialization: After the kernel is initialized, the operating system proceeds with system initialization. During this stage, various system services and processes are started, and hardware devices are initialized and configured. The operating system loads essential system files and prepares the environment for user interaction.

  6. Login/Graphical Interface: Once the system initialization is complete, the user is presented with a login prompt or a graphical user interface (GUI). The user can then log in with their credentials or interact with the GUI to access the computer's functionalities.

Introduction to Computers


Explain one reason why a computer needs to be connected to a stable power source

System Stability: Computers require a consistent and stable power supply to function properly. Fluctuations or interruptions in the power source can cause various issues that can disrupt the computer's operation or lead to hardware damage.

a. Data Loss: Sudden power outages or voltage fluctuations can cause the computer to shut down abruptly, resulting in data loss if unsaved work is not properly stored. This can be particularly problematic when working on critical tasks or handling important files.

b. Hardware Damage: Power surges or inconsistent power supply can damage the computer's internal components, including the motherboard, CPU, memory, and storage devices. These damages can result in system instability, reduced performance, or even complete hardware failure.

c. Operating System Corruption: Abrupt power loss or inconsistent power supply can corrupt the operating system files, leading to system crashes, error messages, and instability. This may require system repairs or reinstallation of the operating system.

d. Component Lifespan: Inconsistent power supply can put unnecessary stress on computer components, shortening their lifespan. Frequent power fluctuations or surges can cause wear and tear on various parts, reducing their efficiency and overall longevity.

Introduction to Computers


Explain why smoke and dust particles are harmful to a computer

  1. Overheating: Smoke and dust particles can accumulate inside the computer's casing, blocking airflow and hindering the cooling mechanisms of the computer. This can lead to overheating of the internal components, such as the CPU and graphics card. Overheating can cause system instability, performance degradation, and even permanent damage to the hardware.

  2. Component Malfunction: Smoke and dust particles can settle on electronic components, such as the motherboard, memory modules, and connectors. Over time, this accumulation can create a layer of debris, leading to poor electrical contact and interference with signal transmission. This can result in component malfunctions, intermittent failures, or even complete hardware failure.

  3. Short Circuits: If smoke or dust particles contain conductive materials, such as metal flakes or moisture, they can create a risk of short circuits. When conductive particles come into contact with exposed circuits or connectors, they can cause a direct electrical connection between two points that are not intended to be connected. Short circuits can damage components, disrupt data transmission, and even pose a fire hazard.

  4. Increased Maintenance Requirements: Smoke and dust particles can increase the frequency and complexity of computer maintenance. Accumulated dust can clog cooling fans, causing them to work less effectively or even fail. Additionally, smoke particles can leave behind sticky residues that further attract dust, making the cleaning process more challenging.

  5. Reduced Performance and Reliability: As smoke and dust particles accumulate within the computer, they can restrict the movement of mechanical components, such as fans or disk drives, affecting their performance and reliability. Dust particles can also hinder the reading and writing capabilities of optical drives or cause errors in data transmission.

Introduction to Computers


What precautions would you take in a computer room in case a user complains of backache after long periods of using the computer?

  1. Ergonomic Chair: Ensure that each user has an ergonomic chair that provides proper lumbar support. The chair should be adjustable in terms of height and backrest angle.

  2. Adjustable Desk: Provide adjustable desks or workstations that can accommodate different user heights and allow for proper positioning of the keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

  3. Monitor Placement: Ensure that the computer monitors are positioned at eye level or slightly below to prevent users from straining their necks and shoulders. Consider using monitor stands or adjustable monitor arms for better positioning.

  4. Keyboard and Mouse: Encourage the use of ergonomic keyboards and mice that are designed to minimize strain on the wrists and hands. Provide wrist rests if needed.

  5. Proper Lighting: Ensure that the computer room is well-lit, with appropriate lighting levels to reduce eye strain. Avoid glare on the computer screens by using adjustable blinds or curtains.

  6. Regular Breaks: Encourage users to take regular breaks from prolonged computer use. Suggest the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

  7. Stretching Exercises: Promote stretching exercises for the neck, shoulders, and back to help alleviate muscle tension and improve blood circulation. Display posters or provide resources on desk stretches and exercises.

  8. Correct Posture: Educate users about proper sitting posture, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a neutral spine position. Provide visual aids or ergonomic training materials to demonstrate the correct posture.

  9. Desk Organization: Encourage users to keep their workstations organized to minimize the need for reaching or straining. This includes keeping frequently used items within easy reach and arranging cables to prevent trip hazards.

  10. Individual Assessments: If the backache issue persists, consider offering individual ergonomic assessments for users. A specialist can evaluate the user's workstation setup and suggest personalized recommendations.