Introduction to Computer Systems Fundamentals

© Elliot Westacott |

This unit is designed to teach the fundamentals of computer systems and focuses on how the various software and hardware elements interact. It covers three areas:

  • the physical and software elements of a computer system
  • the number systems and logic used within a computer system and
  • the installation of various types of software.

The first two areas are theoretical and the third area is practical.

While studying the first topic you will gain knowledge on the ways in which the central processing unit communicates with memory and input / output devices. Communication channels such as busses will also be covered. You will also learn about the layers of the operating system. Computer memory can be of many types and you will learn to distinguish the features of different types of memory. Computer software will cover different types of operating systems, application and security software as well as file systems and structures. Some of the many ways to secure a computer system such as rights, permissions and security software will be introduced. Some of the information will be presented to you in graphical form so that you can learn to interpret information from, for example, manufacturers’ documentation.

The main focus of the second topic is the application of number systems and logic. You will be introduced to the binary and hexadecimal number systems and learn to add and subtract in these systems and to convert between these systems and decimal numbers. You will learn about computer logic and the applications in which it can be used such as using masks in calculating network addresses and changing the case of letters.

The third topic focuses on the practical task of installing software. You will have the opportunity to apply the theory that you learned earlier to install operating system, application and security software.


You can navigate between the different sections and subsections of the course using the menu at the top of the screen. You’ll also find a link to the next page at the bottom of each page.

Enjoy the course!

Note: Some of the content included in these materials was originally developed for an earlier course: DH33 Computer Operating Systems 1.

Next: Elements of A Computer System