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Stands for "Personal computer." PCs are are what most of us use on a daily basis for work or personal use. A typical PC includes a system unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Most PCs today also have a network or Internet connection, as well as ports for connecting peripheral devices, such as digital cameras, printers, scanners, speakers, external hard drives, and other components.

Personal computers allow us to write papers, create spreadsheets, track our finances, play games, and do many other things. If a PC is connected to the Internet, it can be used to browse the Web, check e-mail, communicate with friends via instant messaging programs, and download files. PCs have become such an integral part of our lives that it can be difficult to imagine life without them!

While PC stands for "personal computer," the term can be a bit ambiguous. This is because Macintosh computers are often contrasted with PCs, even though Macs are also technically PCs. However, Apple itself has used the term "PC" to refer to Windows-based machines, as opposed to its own computers, which are called "Macs." While the Mac/PC dilemma remains, PCs can always contrasted with other types of computers, such as mainframes and server computers, such as Web servers and network file servers. In other words, if you use a computer at home or at work, you can safely call it a PC.

Updated: October 5, 2007

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