Cover image for Peter Norton's Inside the PC
Peter Norton's Inside the PC
Norton, Peter, 1943-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Inside the PC
Eighth edition.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, Ind. : Sams Pub., [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 816 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.8.I1015 N66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Peter Nortons Inside the PC, 8th Edition provides insight into the PC family. The book focuses on the exploration of the PC including the hardware and its interior as well as concentrating on the operating systems--Windows and DOS. The more you know about your PC the better you can truly realize the potential of the machine. This book will help you understand what goes on inside the PC, which will help you make more educated decisions in buying new or additional equipment. Peter Norton covers everything from processors to operating systems, monitors to multimedia, and mobile PCs to the Internet. Become well versed in all of these technologies and more

Author Notes

Peter Norton: Computer software entrepreneur and writer Peter Norton established his technical expertise and accessible style from the earliest days of the PC. His Norton Utilities was the first product of its kind, giving early computer owners control over their hardware and protection against myriad problems. His flagship title Peter Norton's Inside the PC has provided the same insight and education to over 1 million computer users worldwide. His recent new titles including Peter Norton's Guide to Upgrading and Repairing PCs have instantly solidified their standing as expert books on each topic. John Goodman: Designer, writer, teacher, and consultant, John Goodman has been explaining computers to lay people since 1977. Former president of one of the country s largest PC users groups, he is the best-selling author of computers books including Memory Management for All of Us. His long-term study of PCs provides a valuable perspective that he shares with his readers.

Table of Contents

Part I The Big Picturep. 1
1 The View from Afarp. 3
Don't Blinkp. 4
The Plague: Jargonp. 5
Do the Time Warp, Againp. 6
The Bottom Line: What You Must Know and Whyp. 8
A Method and Plan for Our Journeyp. 10
2 How (Almost) Any Computer Worksp. 13
The Logical Parts of Any Computerp. 13
What Makes a Computer More than a Calculator?p. 24
Summaryp. 27
3 Understanding Bits, Nybbles, and Bytesp. 29
What Is Information? How Much Room Does It Takes Up?p. 29
Bits, Bytes, Nybbles, and Wordsp. 39
Representing Numbers and Strings of Charactersp. 42
Symbols and Codesp. 49
What Is Data and How Is It Processed?p. 58
Part II A First Look Inside Your PCp. 59
4 understanding Your PC's Partsp. 61
A PC as a Chamber Orchestrap. 61
The Three Main Piecesp. 62
Controlling Chaos by Leaving the Legacy Behindp. 86
What Parts Are Where in Your PC; Some Things to Think About and Tryp. 94
Summary IBM's Grand Innovation/IBM's Great Follyp. 94
5 How to Get Your PC to Understand Youp. 95
What Language Does Your PC Understand?p. 95
Where Are Instructions and Data Kept?p. 98
How Mere Humans Can Manage All Thisp. 105
6 Enhancing Your Understanding by Exploring and Tinkeringp. 107
Why Is This Valuable? And, Is It Dangerous?p. 107
Windows 98's Best Hidden Secretp. 111
An Introduction to DEBUGp. 113
Using the Norton Disk Editorp. 116
Some More Things to Think About and Tryp. 118
Summaryp. 121
Part III The Standalone PCp. 123
7 Understanding PC Processorsp. 125
A Sea of Change in PC CPUsp. 126
Intel, IBM, and Youp. 128
What If It Isn't Intel Inside?p. 143
It's an Increasingly RISC-y Businessp. 150
Are More Brains Better than One?p. 152
Other Processors in Your PCp. 152
Major and Minor Improvementsp. 153
When to Upgrade Your PCp. 154
8 How Your PC "Thinks"p. 157
What Is a Computer Architecture?p. 157
Details of the x86 CPU's Architecturep. 158
The Architecture That Goes Around the CPUp. 179
Interrupts: The Driving Forcep. 188
What Is a DMA Channel?p. 194
Keeping Up with the Clockp. 196
How Your PC Wakes Up and Prepares Itself for Workp. 200
Some Things to Think About and Tryp. 205
9 You Can Never Have Too Much Closet (or Data Storage) Spacep. 207
Traditional PC Disk Drivesp. 207
Understanding the DOS Perspective (and Why This Still Matters)p. 212
Learning About File Formatsp. 244
Summaryp. 249
10 Digging Deeper Into Disksp. 251
How Hard Disks Are Differentp. 251
Managing Multiple PC Disk Drivesp. 256
Variationis on the Theme of PC Storagep. 262
How DOS and Windows See Optical Discs--The Origin and Value of ISO9660 and UDFp. 281
Disk Utilitiesp. 284
Some Things to Think About and Tryp. 290
11 Giving Your CPU Enough Elbow Room--PC Memoryp. 293
Understanding PC Memoryp. 293
Not All Memory Is Equalp. 315
Your PC's Memory Needs to Be Managedp. 321
Understanding Windows Memory Usep. 331
So, How Much RAM Do I Need, Really?p. 334
Some Things to Think About and Tryp. 335
12 Getting Your PC's Attention: Input Devicesp. 337
The Keyboard Is "Key"p. 338
The Point Is Pointing (Mousing Around)p. 348
Some Other PC Input Devicesp. 360
The "Dark Side" of PC Inputp. 369
Summaryp. 371
13 Seeing the Results: PC DIsplaysp. 373
It's Just No Good If You Can't Get the Information Outp. 373
Getting the Colors (Almost) Rightp. 391
How to Talk to a Video Displayp. 392
Understanding Display Technologiesp. 393
Running the Display System Backwardp. 401
Summaryp. 404
14 Getting It All Down on Paper; Printersp. 405
The Purpose and Power of PC Printersp. 405
Printing Technologies--An Overviewp. 405
Impact Printers for PCsp. 410
Nonimpact Printers for PCsp. 413
Getting the Color (Almost) Rightp. 418
Summaryp. 421
15 Understanding Standard PC Input and Outputp. 423
Some Special-Purpose I/O Interfacesp. 423
Talking Through a Tiny Pipe: Serial Portsp. 424
The Keyboard Interfacep. 434
Bus Mice Versus Serial Mice Versus USB Micep. 436
Combining the Keyboard and a Pointing Devicep. 438
The Faster Output Path That Can Work Both Waysp. 438
Serial and Parallel Port Addresses and Their Namesp. 443
Some Other Ways to Get More Than the Allowed Number of Serial (or Parallel) Portsp. 444
The Video Output Portp. 446
Summaryp. 448
16 Faster Ways to Get Information Into or Out of Your PCp. 449
The Most General I/O Interfaces: The PC Input/Output Bus(es)p. 449
The Original (ISA) PC I/O Busp. 450
Growing Up ISA to Meet Modern PC I/O Needsp. 452
ISA Grows Up--The Origin of IDE, EIDE, ATA, ATAPI, and Morep. 453
The PCI Busp. 460
The Really Good Bus with the Really Bad Name (SCSI)p. 471
The Future of PC-to-Peripheralp. 483
The Wonderful New High-Speed Serial Buses (USB and IEEE 1394)p. 485
There Will Be More I/O Bus Standardsp. 488
17 Understanding PC Operating Systemsp. 491
What Is an Operating System and Why Do I Need One?p. 492
Microsoft Windows Takes Overp. 499
Windows 9x Internal Details and Boot Processp. 506
Understanding Your Choices for Your PC's Operating Systemp. 511
Summaryp. 515
Part IV PC Programs: From Machine Language Bytes to Human Speechp. 517
18 Understanding How Humans Instruct PCsp. 519
Harnessing the PC's Power to Help Mere Humansp. 519
Dividing Up the Workp. 531
How Not to Keep On Reinventing the Wheelp. 532
Helping Ordinary People "Program" Their PCs Easilyp. 536
Summaryp. 537
19 Some PCs Can Understand Speech and Talk to Usp. 539
Making Conversational PCs: Breaking Down the Overall Jobp. 540
Making PCs Speakp. 541
Teaching PCs to Listen and Understandp. 543
Understanding What You Have Heardp. 547
Generating Useful and Relevant Responsesp. 547
How Far Along Are We Now?p. 548
What's Next?p. 552
Part V Splendiferous Multimedia PCsp. 553
20 How to "Wow" a Humanp. 555
What Was a Multimedia PC?p. 555
Multimedia Today and Tomorrowp. 557
Direct Hardware Accessp. 580
Will Your PCs RUn Your Radio, Wash Your Clothes, and Program Your VCR?p. 589
The Convergence of PCs, Telephones, and Television Is Here--At Last!p. 590
21 Immersive PC Experiencesp. 593
Immersive Technologiesp. 594
Immersive Applicationsp. 603
No Longer Just for Gamersp. 606
Part VI PCs Are Frequent Flyers, Toop. 609
22 Why Mobile PCs Must Be Differentp. 611
From Luggables to Laptops and Beyondp. 611
Lessons to Be Learned from Portable PCsp. 620
Power Is Previous on the Roadp. 622
The Ecologically Sensitive PCp. 627
Mobile PCs at Home and in the Officep. 633
Summaryp. 635
Part VII The Connected PCp. 637
23 The PC Reaches Out, Part One: Modems and Morep. 639
A Really Short Stretchp. 639
Four Realms of PC COnnectivityp. 641
Permanent and Transient Connectionsp. 641
Modems and Morep. 643
Summaryp. 662
24 The PC Reaches Out, Part Two: Through the NIC Nodep. 663
The NIC Nodep. 663
The NIC Node Needs a NOSp. 676
Other Software for the Connected PCp. 682
Summaryp. 687
25 PCs That Think They're Mainframes: Multiprocessor PCs and Other Servesp. 689
Analyzing the Needp. 689
What's Hard About Multiprocessor PCs?p. 703
Summaryp. 705
Part VIII PCs, the Internet, the FUture, and Youp. 707
26 You Can Touch the World, and It May Touch You, Too!p. 709
What Is the Internet, and How Does It Work?p. 709
A Lot More Than Just Data Is Out Therep. 717
Be Careful: It Can Be a Dangerous World Out Therep. 733
Summaryp. 734
27 Looking Back and Looking Aheadp. 735
Learning from the Past and Predicting the Futurep. 735
Our Tour Is Over But the Journey Is Notp. 738
How the Story Comes Out Depends, in Part, on Youp. 738
Remember, It's Your Personal Computer; You Are in Chargep. 739
Glossaryp. 741
Indexp. 771