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· April 24, 2015
I may get flamed for this, but when I was first starting out the CompTIA A+ book by McGraw Hill gave me a good basic understanding of computers. I went on to get the Certification as well. The A+ cert really won't get you anywhere in life so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just got it for fun. The internet and google are your best resources.
· April 24, 2015
I will second the CompTIA book and throw in Upgrading and repairing PC. They will have a lot of information in an orderly fashion. Myself I only use the internet now. Everything I need is somewhere on it. I will still suggest a book for a beginner as some of the relationships between parts are better explained in a book than on the internet.
Hands on experience is a great teacher.
Go buy yourself a used PC something fairly cheap but modern enough to support at least Windows 7. Note OS is not important just having a modern machine that you could throw any new Windows or Linux OS at it for testing.
Since this is a fully running PC start by backing up the HD. Download and burn to disk Clonezilla live http://clonezilla.org/ . Boot to clonezilla and create an image of the PCs drive on an external USB drive. This will ensure if you later blow out the hard drive you can return to the place you were when you first bought the PC.
Tear down that computer to the individual parts. Take notes and pictures to ensure you put it all back together in the same place. (Note 2 don't take apart the power supply. If the capacitor in it is still charged it could kill you.)
Do some googling of the part numbers and start reading about the components. You should probably try to find the manufacturers manuals on the parts and read them.
Use caution when removing the CPU. Don't touch the pins and make sure you put new thermal paste on it when you put it back.
I would say if actually found manuals and did serious reading on the parts and how they function this should take a week at least. Figuring you are working a few hours in the evening.
Eventually put it back together and see if it runs.
This should give you a very basic understanding of how a PC works.
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