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What are the four basic functions of a computer?

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Quick Answer

The four basic functions of a computer are input, processing, output and storage. Any activity or process performed by a computer falls into one of these four categories.

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Full Answer

Input is the addition or rendering of data into the computer. This incorporates the mandatory input of a programmer through the keyboard, scanner or other forms of storage media. The most basic sort of input would be typing source code through a keyboard.

Processing is the manipulation of information by the computer system. Processing uses the processor or random access memory, otherwise known as RAM. Processing involves the computer's ability to alter data at the command of the programmer's input.

Storage is the process of permanently saving data on the computer. This process involves a hard drive of some kind. After data has been processed, it must subsequently be stored on a hard drive as opposed to simply rendered via the RAM, which is not a form of permanent storage.

Output is when the computer displays data to be viewed by the programmer or other individuals. Output usually involves the monitor, printer or a form of storage media that data is copied to. Output typically involves some finished product that is separate from the computer system.

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