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Chapter 8. Setting up Hardware

Chapter 8. Setting up Hardware

In the broadest sense, hardware is your computer and whatever connects to it; everything else is software. Windows generally uses the term to refer to a peripheral—nowadays usually called a device—which is any part of a computer other than the processor (CPU), motherboard, and memory (RAM and ROM). Your monitor, mouse, keyboard, hard disks, and printer, for example, are devices, as are external devices such as digital cameras, backup drives, video recorders, speakers, and PDA synchronization cradles.

Windows treats any gadget connected to your PC as a device, and requires you to install the software that controls it, called its device driver or simply driver. A driver acts like a translator between specialized commands for the device and the requests from the Windows programs that use it. Fortunately, XP makes installation a snap for modern Plug and Play devices, and offers wizards to help you install older non-Plug and Play devices.


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