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Computer Basics Interview Questions and Answers

Freshers / Beginner level questions & answers

Ques 1. What is Bit?

A bit (short for binary digit) is the smallest unit of data in a computer. A bit has a single binary value, either 0 or 1. Although computers usually provide instructions that can test and manipulate bits, they generally are designed to store data and execute instructions in bit multiples called bytes. In most computer systems, there are eight bits in a byte. The value of a bit is usually stored as either above or below a designated level of electrical charge in a single capacitor within a memory device.

Half a byte (four bits) is called a nibble. In some systems, the term octet is used for an eight-bit unit instead of byte. In many systems, four eight-bit bytes or octets form a 32-bit word. In such systems, instruction lengths are sometimes expressed as full-word (32 bits in length) or half-word (16 bits in length).

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Ques 2. What is Binary?

Binary numbers look strange when they are written out directly.This is because the digits weight increases by powers of 2, rather than by powers of 10. In a digital numeral, the digit furthest to the right is the ones digit; the next digit to the left is the twos digit; next comes the fours digit, then the eights digit, then the 16s digit, then the 32s digit, and so on.The decimal equivalent of a binary number can be found by summing all the digits.For example, the binary 10101 is equivalent to the decimal = 1x20 + 0x21 + 1x22 + 0x23 + 1x24 = 1 + 4 + 16 = 21:

DECIMAL = 216432168421
BINARY = 101010010101


The numbers from decimal 0 through 15 in decimal, binary, octal and hexadecimal form are listed below. 


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Ques 3. What is Byte?

A Byte is equal to 8 Bits. A Byte can represent 256 states of information, for example, numbers or a combination of numbers and letters. 1 Byte could be equal to one character. 10 Bytes could be equal to a word. 100 Bytes would equal an average sentence.

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Ques 4. What is Driver software?

Driver software is software that works as a translator between another program and some piece of hardware. In the software industry, there are generally standard ways to do things. 

There are many different types of hardware, however, and each piece of hardware may have its own protocol (or "language"). The driver software receives standard signals from another program, then translates these into commands for a particular piece of hardware. This way a program can be written in a standard way, and it will work with many different devices.
Example: If you want to run CD-ROM in you computer, you need to install CD-ROM Setup software which is a driver software.

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Ques 5. What is Restore?

Restore means to make a window smaller than full screen, so that it can be resized. At the right top corner there are three boxes from left to right it is Minimize - Restore - Close. The middle square box is to restore.

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Ques 6. What is Taskbar?

A bar that usually runs at the bottom of Windows which shows all tasks that are currently being run. The Start button is usually on the left side of the Taskbar. A clock is usually on the right side of the Taskbar. The Taskbar can be moved to any edge of the screen, and the clock and Start button can be removed if desired. task list A list of applications that are currently running. Windows users can access the Task list by pressing Alt + Tab.

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Ques 7. What is Toolbar?

A toolbar is a collection of buttons, usually organized by category. Some programs allow you to turn individual toolbars on and off (to display or hide them), and you may even be able to customize the toolbar by changing what buttons are shown (or even add your own buttons). Often, you can drag a toolbar (by dragging from an edge of the toolbar where there is no button) to move it to a different location on the screen. If a novice user does this, though, the user may not know what he or she did and may "lose" the toolbar. Usually, you can turn toolbars on and off by clicking the "view" menu, then choosing "toolbars".

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Ques 8. What is Macro?

A series of keystrokes and mouse clicks that can be abbreviated into a single keystroke or mouse click.

Example: Open Microsoft Word/MS Word -> Go to Tools -> Macro. Here you can record Macro.

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Ques 9. What is Map network drive?

Associating a network drive. Doing this will have the drive appear in My Computer.

Right click on My Computer -> Map network drive. Here you can choose drive and folder. Then you open My Computer. You'll be able to see your selected drive.

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Ques 10. What is the correct way to uninstall/remove a program from our computer?

The best way is to go to Start -> Control Panel -> Add remove programs. Find the program you wish to remove, click on it and follow the on screen directions. If the program is not there you can check to see if there is an uninstall option when you go to the Program itself or in the start menu options for that program. As a last resort, you can move the program folder to the recycle bin but this will not totally remove it and may cause problems. Leave it on the computer if space allows.

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Ques 11. What is Accelerator key?

An accelerator key is a key on your keyboard that you can press to quickly access a menu or function. It is also sometimes called a hot key, access key or mnemonic. Few examples:
  • To find we press: Ctrl+F
  • To open a file: Ctrl+O
  • To create a new file: Ctrl+N
  • To open the file menu: Alt+F

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Ques 12. What is Active window?

The current window that is being used. The window you are working currently.
Example: If you are working on MSPaint so the active window is MSPaint, if you are working on Notepad so that time Notepad is the Active window.

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Ques 13. What is Button?

A button does some command in a program when it is clicked. Buttons usually have a 3-dimensional look, although you may have to move the mouse over the button for it to look 3D. You should single-click on buttons (do not double-click).

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Ques 14. What is CD-R?

Compact Disc Recordable. A special type of compact disc which can have information written onto it once. You must have a special CD-R drive to write to these discs, but most CD-ROM drives can read them.

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Ques 15. What is Activate of Windows?

To make a window active by bringing it to the front. You can activate a window by clicking on the window and the window comes in front of all windows.

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Ques 16. What is Cascade?

An arrangement of Windows so each window is neatly stacked with only the title bar of each window is showing.

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Ques 17. What is Clicking?

Swiftly pressing and releasing a mouse button.

A mouse click is the action of pressing (i.e. clicking, an onomatopoeia) a button to trigger an action, usually in the context of a graphical user interface (GUI). Clicking an onscreen button is accomplished by pressing on the real mouse button while the pointer is placed over the onscreen button icon.

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Ques 18. What is Close button?

The X in the upper right corner of a window. When clicked, it will close the current window.

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Ques 19. What is Color scheme?

A selection of colors that the user sees when using Windows. These colors make up the display of applications, dialog boxes, etc.

You can change it from Start -> Control Panel -> Appearance. Here you can change theme, window colors etc.

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Ques 20. What is Associate?

To link a file with a certain program. This way, when you double-click on an associated file, it will open the correct program.

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Ques 21. What is Auto arrange?

In Windows Explorer, selecting auto arrange will lock any visible icons into a grid or pattern. Whenever you will paste or make new folder/file on that folder view will be auto arrange. You need not to make it arrange explicitly.

You can do it: Right click on window -> Arrange Icons by/View -> Auto Arrange.

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Ques 22. What is Backward Compatible?

A program is backward compatible if it can use files from an older version of itself. For a file saved in the program to be backward compatible, it must be possible to open the file in a previous version of the program.

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Ques 23. What is CD-ROM?

Compact Disc - Read Only Memory. A CD-ROM is any compact disc which contains computer data. These discs can store huge amounts of data (up to 640 megabytes). If there is a large amount of data on a CD-ROM, then it is usually impractical to copy the data on to the hard disk; in this case, you must insert the disc whenever you want to use the data. The ROM simply means that you can not save information onto these discs. CD-ROM may also refer to the drive used to read these discs.

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Ques 24. What is Check box?

A dialog box, usually square, that records an on or off value, when we click on this box for on it shows as right tick mark.

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Ques 25. What is Clipboard?

A temporary storage location in Windows. The clipboard will store one piece of information at a time when it is manually added to the clipboard or is copied there.

Ex: While copy any text firstly it is saved in clipboard.

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Ques 26. What is Collapsing?

Hiding an additional level of directories beneath the selected directory in My Computer or Windows Explorer.

Usually it looks like (+) and (-) or (->). When we click on (+) directory opens/expands, when we click on (-) directory closes/collapse.

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Ques 27. What is Command?

An option form an application's menu, or a command typed in by the user, such as at a DOS prompt or at the Run dialog box in Windows.

We open command prompt for writing command: Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt

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Ques 28. What is Command button?

A command button, when clicked, will cause an action to occur.

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Ques 29. What is Connection?

An established communication session between a server and a workstation.

For windows network connection can be checked from Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Internet

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Ques 30. What is Control Panel?

A system utility that comes with Windows that allows the use to change a variety if different Windows and system settings.

Start -> Control Panel

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Ques 31. What is Cursor?

The representation of the mouse on-screen. Depending on your settings, the cursor can be many different things. You can change the cursor view from:

Start -> Control Panel -> Mouse -> Pointers tab -> In customize menu you can select different cursor view -> Click on 'Apply' and 'OK'.

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Ques 32. What is Desktop?

This is what you see on your computer screen when you have no windows open. It may be a solid color, or it may be graphics. On the desktop, there will be icons, including one called "My Computer" and one called "The Recycle Bin."

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Ques 33. What is Dialog box?

This is a small window that is demanding your attention (Usually to ask e.g 'Do you want to continue?'). You must respond before you can continue using the program that displayed the dialog box. A dialog box does not have a minimize or maximize button and does not show up on the taskbar. It is only a portion of its "parent" program. Most dialog boxes have a cancel button.

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Ques 34. What is Dial-up Networking?

Using a modem to dial into a remote site network.

Start -> Control Panel -> Phone and Modem

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Ques 35. What is Double-click?

Move your mouse pointer over the object, then press the left mouse button twice in a row quickly. Be VERY careful to not move the mouse as you double-click. If you move the mouse while trying to double-click, you may end up dragging the object instead of double-clicking it.

Example: You double-click while you open a folder.

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Ques 36. What is Download?

Retrieving a file from a BBS, an FTP site, or a remote computer.

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Ques 37. What is Drag?

Move the mouse pointer over the object you wish to drag, then hold down the left mouse button. While holding the mouse button, move the mouse pointer (and the object) to the location you want it, then let go of the mouse button. This will move or copy the object to the new location, depending on the context.

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Ques 38. What is Drag and drop?

When you click your mouse once and an object and hold it, while simultaneously moving that item to a different location.

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Ques 39. What is Drop-down list?

A dialog box such as a File menu that contains one command until it is clicked when a number of different commands "drop-down."

Example: While sign up you need to select country, and there are many countries already in the menu box and from there you need to select one (e.g India).

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Ques 40. What is Drive?

Any data storage device. This includes your CD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive, and hard disk drive (C Drive, D Drive etc).

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Ques 41. What is DVD and DVD-ROM?

DVD is a new technology very similar to compact discs. A DVD looks just like an ordinary compact disc, however a DVD can hold up to 25 times as much as a CD!! That's 18 gigabytes!! This gives enough room to hold an entire movie at twice the quality of VHS with theater quality sound (better than CD-quality). Since it is on a disc, you can jump to any scene instantly, and you never need to rewind.
A DVD-ROM is a DVD disc for a computer. This means a multimedia encyclopedia can have even more multimedia with much better quality (on DVD-ROM). You must have a DVD-ROM drive to use DVD-ROM discs. If you have a DVD-ROM drive, then you can also play DVD movies on your computer. Many systems with DVD-ROM can output the video and sound to your TV and home audio system, so you may not have to buy a separate DVD player.

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Ques 42. What is Icon?

An icon is a picture used to represent an object. Some example objects are: data files, program files, folders, email messages, and drives. Each type of object has a different icon. That means that different types of files each have an icon representing its file type. 

Example: MS Word files will have the MS Word icon; MS Excel files will have the MS Excel icon; Etc.

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Ques 43. What is Inactive window?

A window that is open but is not active means the window is behind other window.

Example: You opened Notepad and Paint. Now Paint is on top and Paint window is above Notepad and currently you are working on Notepad. In this case Notepad is Inactive window.

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Ques 44. What is Insertion point?

A vertical flashing line that shows the user where text will be inserted. In graphics-based programs, the insertion point is the point where the next characters typed from the keyboard will appear on the display screen. The insertion point is usually represented by a blinking vertical line. You can reposition the insertion point by pressing arrow keys or by moving the I-beam pointer.

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Ques 45. What is the Interface?

The visible layer which allows a user to communicate with a computer means which you can see like windows, website view in your browser etc.

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Ques 46. What is Maximize button?

To make a window appear at its largest possible size. The maximize button is a square in the top right corner of the window.

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Ques 47. What is Minimize button?

To make a window disappear from the screen and move down to the taskbar (looks like - at the right top corner of windows).

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Ques 48. What is Modem?

A device, usually connected to a serial port of a computer, that transmits data over regular phone lines. Modem stands modulatordemodulator; it converts a digital stream of data into sound for transmission (modulator) and converts incoming sound signals into data (demodulator).

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Ques 49. What is Right-click?

To click with the right mouse button rather than the usual left button.

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Ques 50. What is File?

A file is a long sequence of bytes which represent data. Each file has a name and an extension which are separated by a dot (a period). The name, of course, identifies the file. The extension tells the computer what type of data is contained within the file. For example, a file called "Letter to George.DOC" is a Microsoft Word DOCUMENT. The file you are reading now is called "glossary.html". HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, and it is the file type for web pages.

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Ques 51. What is Floppy Disk?

A round, flexible piece of magnetic media stored within a 3.5 inch square protective plastic case. One floppy disk can store 1.44 megabytes of data. Because floppy disks use magnetic media, they must be kept away from magnets, or the data on them could be erased! Computer speakers are magnetically shielded to prevent erasure of floppy disks, but standard speakers are not!

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Ques 52. What is Focus?

When you use a dialog box with many items to fill out, only one of the items can be accepting input from the keyboard at a time. The active item is said to be the item with the focus. You can press the TAB key to move the focus to the next item; press SHIFT+TAB to move the focus to the previous item. The item with the focus will usually have a dashed border around it, or it will have a blinking text cursor in it.

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Ques 53. What is Folder?

A folder can be thought of as a location on your hard disk or floppy disk. Folders used to be called directories/subdirectories. A folder contains files and can contain nested folders (subfolders). Folders and subfolders are used to organize your hard disk. For example, you probably already have a folder named "My Documents" on your hard disk; you could place a subfolder named "Work" under "My Documents", and place all your work documents within this subfolder. This way, you can keep your work documents separate from your personal documents.

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Ques 54. What is Open?

You must open a file to view or edit it. When you open a file, it is copied from the hard disk into the computer's high-speed memory. Memory is temporary workspace only. If you change the file, you must save it (which copies the file back to the permanent hard disk).

You can open a file by double-clicking on the file or right click on the file and click on 'Open'.

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Ques 55. What is Select?

Select means to highlight data. To select text, for example, hold down the mouse button at the beginning of what you want to select, then move the mouse to the end of what you want to select (and let go of the mouse button). The selected text will now be in inverse (opposite) colors. This is only to show what text is selected, it does not affect the printed document.

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Ques 56. What is Text Formatting?

Text formatting refers to the attributes of text other than the actual text itself. For example: bold, italics, underlining, color, and size, are all formatting attributes of text. The location of text can also be considered part of the formatting. Text can be automatically centered, indented, or positioned in other ways. When you wish to change the format of text, you usually have to select the text, then do the formatting by clicking the appropriate buttons. Occasionally, there are exceptions to the select-then-do paradigm. In Microsoft Word, there is a feature called Format Painter with which you click some already formatted text, then click the Format Painter toolbar button, then drag the mouse cursor across some other text. The other text will be "painted" with the formatting of the original text selected. If you double-click the Format Painter button, then it will be "locked" and you can paint lots of text. When you are done, click the Format Painter button again to turn it off.

Example: In notepad, click on 'Format' -> Click on 'Font...' -> Here you can change the text formatting.

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Ques 57. What is the difference between Save and Save As?

  • Use SAVE when you are updating an existing document.
  • Use SAVE AS when you are creating a new document from scratch or an existing document. If you do for existing document, this will keep the original document untouched in its original format and create a new document with a new name with updated data.
  • Example: Open Notepad -> Type something -> Click on File -> Save As. It will save the file by asking file name (sample.txt). If you want to update the file use File -> Save. If you want another file name with (sample.txt file data + added some another data), use Save As. Here sample.txt will be untouched and new file will contain updated data.

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Ques 58. How can we find out basic information (Operation System, RAM, CPU, Drivers etc.) about our computer?

We can get the basic information about our computer by following below steps:
  • Right Click at my computer icon.
  • Click Properties.
  • General tab will show the processor and ram information
  • And Hardware Tab -> Device Manger will show the entire hardware resources attached with you computer

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Ques 59. How do we change the screen resolution of our computer?

Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Display Settings and adjust the resolution there. Or
Right click on an empty place on the desktop -> choose Properties from the menu and then -> Settings.

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Experienced / Expert level questions & answers

Ques 60. What are Kilobyte, Megabyte, Gigabyte ... etc?

Kilobyte: A Kilobyte is approximately 1,000 Bytes, actually 1,024 Bytes depending on which definition is used. 1 Kilobyte would be equal to this paragraph you are reading, whereas 100 Kilobytes would equal an entire page.

Megabyte: A Megabyte is approximately 1,000 Kilobytes. In the early days of computing, a Megabyte was considered to be a large amount of data. These days with a 500 Gigabyte hard drive on a computer being common, a Megabyte doesn't seem like much anymore. One of those old 3-1/2 inch floppy disks can hold 1.44 Megabytes or the equivalent of a small book. 100 Megabytes might hold a couple volumes of Encyclopedias. 600 Megabytes is about the amount of data that will fit on a CD-ROM disk.

Gigabyte: A Gigabyte is approximately 1,000 Megabytes. A Gigabyte is still a very common term used these days when referring to disk space or drive storage. 1 Gigabyte of data is almost twice the amount of data that a CD-ROM can hold. But it's about one thousand times the capacity of a 3-1/2 floppy disk. 1 Gigabyte could hold the contents of about 10 yards of books on a shelf. 100 Gigabytes could hold the entire library floor of academic journals.

Terabyte: A Terabyte is approximately one trillion bytes, or 1,000 Gigabytes. There was a time that I never thought I would see a 1 Terabyte hard drive, now one and two terabyte drives are the normal specs for many new computers.  To put it in some perspective, a Terabyte could hold about 3.6 million 300 Kilobyte images or maybe about 300 hours of good quality video. A Terabyte could hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Ten Terabytes could hold the printed collection of the Library of Congress. That's a lot of data.

Petabyte: A Petabyte is approximately 1,000 Terabytes or one million Gigabytes. It's hard to visualize what a Petabyte could hold. 1 Petabyte could hold approximately 20 million 4-door filing cabinets full of text. It could hold 500 billion pages of standard printed text. It would take about 500 million floppy disks to store the same amount of data.

Exabyte: An Exabyte is approximately 1,000 Petabytes. Another way to look at it is that an Exabyte is approximately one quintillion bytes or one billion Gigabytes. There is not much to compare an Exabyte to. It has been said that 5 Exabytes would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind.

Zettabyte: A Zettabyte is approximately 1,000 Exabytes. There is nothing to compare a Zettabyte to but to say that it would take a whole lot of ones and zeroes to fill it up.

Yottabyte: A Yottabyte is approximately 1,000 Zettabytes. It would take approximately 11 trillion years to download a Yottabyte file from the Internet using high-power broadband. You can compare it to the World Wide Web as the entire Internet almost takes up about a Yottabyte.

Brontobyte: A Brontobyte is (you guessed it) approximately 1,000 Yottabytes. The only thing there is to say about a Brontobyte is that it is a 1 followed by 27 zeroes!

Geopbyte: A Geopbyte is about 1000 Brontobytes! Not sure why this term was created. I'm doubting that anyone alive today will ever see a Geopbyte hard drive. One way of looking at a geopbyte is 15267 6504600 2283229 4012496 7031205 376 bytes!

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Ques 61. What is Asynchronous SRAM?

Asynchronous SRAM (Asynchronous Static Random Access Memory) is a type of memory that stores data using a static method, in which the data remains constant as long as electric power is supplied to the device. This is different than DRAM (dynamic RAM), which constantly needs to refresh the data stored in the memory.
These are fabricated using high-performance, high-reliability CMOS technology. This technology, combined with innovative circuit design techniques, provides a cost-effective solution for high speed async SRAM memory needs. Fully static asynchronous circuitry is used, requiring no clocks or refresh for operation.

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Ques 62. What is BIOS (Basic Input and Output Software)?

BIOS stands for Basic Input and Output Software. The BIOS is software that controls the most fundamental operations of a computer and a BIOS is necessary in order to start a computer. Without a BIOS, a computer would not know how to communicate with its hard disk and other devices. The BIOS is stored on a ROM (Read-Only Memory) computer chip inside the computer. Many computers in the past few years use Flash EPROM chips, which means the BIOS chip can be reprogrammed with an updated BIOS. A BIOS may need to be updated to fix bugs, such as the year 2000 bug, or an update may be necessary in order to support new hardware protocols.

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