Chapter 46. Installing and Removing Hardware

A typical computer consists of hardware, firmware, and software. These three components work together to make the computer both usable and useful. This chapter will help you understand each of these with a focus on installing and removing hardware in Windows 7.

Before jumping into hardware-related tasks, take a quick look at just what hardware, firmware, and software really are.

Hardware, Firmware, and Software Demystified

Hardware is any physical device used by the computer, whether internal to the computer (such as the CPU on the computer's motherboard), or attached externally to the computer. A discrete hardware component that performs a given function is generally referred to as a hardware device or just device for short. You can use numerous types of hardware devices with a computer. Printers, scanners, mice, keyboards, monitors, disk drives, digital cameras, MP3 players, modems, and routers are all examples of hardware devices.

Before I describe firmware, it helps to get a better understanding of software. Software is program code that is written to perform a given function. For example, all of the program code that makes up WordPad is software. Likewise, all of the program code that constitutes Windows 7 is software.

Device drivers are also software. A device driver is a program that serves as ...

Get Windows® 7 Bible now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.