Many users become fixated on how their laptop works on a number of levels. On one hand, for a new user, admiring the closed laptop from afar, it might seem impossible that the laptop could engender any kind of visually appealing, informationally stimulating experience. Many beginner users wonder how their laptop works on a basic level, as they are unsure how to start using it out of the box. Some users can become obsessed with how their laptop works on a more abstract level. This includes the functioning of the hardware and software and how these interact with human input.
In this article, we provide a brief overview of the various ways in which a laptop works. First, we discuss how beginner users can get their device up and running, emphasizing users who have never used a laptop before. Then, we discuss how laptops work on a more technical level, emphasizing their parts and processes.
How Laptops Work – Beginner Users
When you first purchase a laptop, it can be difficult to know where to even begin. This is especially true if you have never owned a laptop before. When you procure the laptop from the box, the first step will be to charge the battery. Your laptop should come with a laptop charger if you purchased it new. This cord simply needs to be plugged in to your laptop and the wall. Unlike many cameras, the battery does not have to be removed on your laptop in order to charge it. If your laptop did not come with a charger, perhaps because you bought it used, then these can be found cheaply on websites like Amazon.
Once you’ve sufficiently charged your laptop, it will work once it’s been powered on. You achieve this by pressing the power button, which should be a unique button on the keyboard or the side of the body. In order to locate the keyboard, simply lift up the laptop screen. Some screens will connect to a mechanism that prevents their movement unless pressed. After you’ve pressed the power button, a log-in menu will typically appear. If this is your first time using the computer, the log-in will prompt you to create a new user account on the computer for future accessing. The interface for this process will vary depending on the operating system that powers your laptop.
After creating a user account, the laptop works by responding to input from the user. This might be anything from the pressing of a keyboard button, to the clicking of the trackpad, to the tapping of the touchscreen. A laptop works very similarly to how the human body works, with the laptop’s central processing unit (CPU) much like the brain of the machine. Like the body, the laptop has a number of sensory instruments that it uses to interact with the outside world. When these instruments receive input, they record this data and then distribute it to other parts
of the laptop.
The laptop’s main processing chips are located within the CPU. These chips interpret incoming data and direct how the laptop will respond. Ultimately, the laptop responds most noticeably on a visual level, as the computer screen displays a different image. Computer screens work very similar to any kind of monitor, displaying so many frames per second that the human eye can be overwhelmed. Essentially, our screens offer us a kind of illusion. The more information they provide, the easier it is to trick our brain into thinking movement occurs. In reality, we are just being shown different images. Modern laptops have to be extremely efficient and fast at performing these commands, as users demand instant responses to their inputs. If you’re using a laptop for research purposes, you might not expect instant results all the time, as some of your experiments will entail setting certain parameters and waiting to observe how the computer responds.
Still, whenever you are navigating the basic start menu or internet, or more simply just using the trackpad or an external mouse, you expect your commands to result in an instant output.
Most users use a laptop in order to connect to the internet, which is a global network that provides users with endless opportunities for entertainment and growth. Laptops most often connect to the internet through a wireless network, which is popularly created through the use of a router and modem combination. The router connects to your modem and allows you to establish a local network for all of your devices to use. Ultimately, your laptop connects to your router through wireless technology, similar to how radios interpret radio waves. Essentially, your laptop has a receiver and transmitter that respond to a receiver and transmitter in your router. As you increase the distance between your laptop and your router, these parts are less efficient at communicating information, resulting in a compromised signal and computer performance. Ideally, when your wireless network is running smoothly and efficiently, your laptop is able to connect to the internet almost instantly upon being powered on. Using its rechargeable battery, your laptop can be taken anywhere within range of your router.
Some modern laptops are hybrid laptops, which means they can be transformed into tablets. Many tablets offer users a similar experience to smartphones, which has led to manufacturers equipping hybrid laptops with more permanent ways of accessing the internet that bypass routers. These machines use the same technology that phones use to constantly connect users to the internet. However, this service can be quite expensive. Furthermore, portable wifi boxes exist that allow you to connect to the internet even when no local network can be accessed. These are usually similarly priced to a phone and require payments per month.
Really, what makes a laptop a laptop is its portability. This is due to its rechargeable battery, as well as its small parts and sleek, cutting-edge features. Companies have had the latter half of the 20 th century and the beginning of the 21 st century to maximize their creation of graphics cards, processors, monitors, keyboards, and touchscreen technology. Consequently, customers usually receive the densest product that manufacturers are able to produce. Technically, laptops don’t offer customers anything different from a desktop computer. Most desktop computers are actually faster and more durable, with more expensive keyboards and sharper, larger screens. What’s unique about laptops is their aesthetics and design, which is facilitated by such small parts.
Of course, the manufacturers of these parts often sacrifice certain features in order to keep their sizes down. But these sacrifices are becoming less apparent, as the industry for laptops is changing rapidly. Suddenly, hybrid laptops that weigh a mere 2 pounds and feature stunning 4K displays are the norm. Laptops with these specifications make it difficult to distinguish them from desktop computers when it comes to performance and reliability. At the end of the day, nanotechnology is partially responsible for how laptops work. As we study the areas and surface that are just beyond our vision, we are able to create more efficient, innovative products.
Our Final Thoughts on How Laptops Work
We think laptops are both mysterious and simple devices. On one level, they are relatively recent inventions and their potential has not been fully unlocked. Unlike some tools that we use on a daily basis, laptops have not benefited from years of experimentation and study. Scientists don’t fully understand how the light and particles emitted by these machines interact with our bodies, and most importantly, how they affect our health. On another level, laptops are simple devices that use a combination of software, hardware, and an input. This software is methodically designed ahead of time in order to dovetail with the hardware. The hardware itself is a result of the creative use of materials. We think future laptops will display information in a novel way. We think modern screens are antiquated technologies that hold back the development of the personal computer. We think a personal computer is really nothing more than a couple of chips that exist in your CPU.
Really, the modern way of displaying the information collected by these chips is what needs to be updated. When you think about it, most of your laptop is designed with the keyboard and screen in mind. In the future, we think that computer information will be displayed and accessed through virtual reality headsets. If keyboards still exist, they will be integrated more intimately with our hands, or perhaps another body part that better dovetails with the virtual reality technology. Essentially, we think the devices of the future will be so small that different parts of our body will be utilized for navigation. There’s no need to use your hands to type on a keyboard, for example, when you can perform the same function by blinking, moving your tongue, or by merely thinking of the word that needs to be typed. The future of the computer might entail a direct foray into the human mind.