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Connections for Assembling Computer

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Connections for your computer are a standard set of plugs and sockets (sockets are also sometimes called ports). Assembling a computer is usually no more complicated than finding a suitable desk or table for it, and then making sure that the right plugs go into the right sockets.

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Plugs and Sockets on a typical PC

When assembling a new computer…

If the computer comes with assembly instructions, read them first! Otherwise, usethe guide on the opposite page. There are only two rules:

  • If it doesn’t fit, it probably isn’t meant to fit. Don’t force it!
  • Most plugs have to be put in the right way round. If it won’t fit, try turning itupside-down.

When disassembling an old computer…

Before starting to dissemble the computer, make a map where its different cables go. While most computers have a reasonably standard layout, some are most definitely non-standard!

  • Switch off the computer before moving, bumping or jiggling the computer’s boxor tower. This prevents damage to the hard disk.
  • Switch off the computer before unplugging any connections. Some plugs (called ’hotplugs’) don’t mind being unplugged while the computer is running - but others do mind, and may cause damage if you try. If you are not sure which plugs are‘hot’, best is not to experiment.

Adding a printer or other device...

USB and sound plugs are usually ‘hot; you can plug them in anytime you like.Unplugging USB devices needs a little extra care though. In XP, click on the SystemTray icon before unplugging a USB device, and set the device to be ‘safe to unplug’. Amongst other things, this prevents accidental wiping of data.

homework time

First, make a map of the back of a computer (preferably your own). Pay careful attention to plug colours, and also to the little pictures or icons that some computer manufacturers put by each socket. (If this is your own computer, you might like to make it a neat map, and file it away for future use.) Next, use this map to unplug and re-plug the computer.

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