What is hardware? Webster\'s dictionary gives us the following definition of the hardware - the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical devices composing a computer system. Computer hardware can be divided into four categories: processing hardware, storage hardware, output hardware and input hardware. The purpose of the input hardware is to collect data and convert it into a form suitable for computer processing. The most common input device is a keyboard. It looks very much like a typewriter. The mouse is a hand held device connected to the computer by small cable. As the mouse is rolled across the mouse pad, the cursor moves across the screen When the cursor reaches the desired location, the user usually pushes a button on the mouse once or twice to signal a menu selection or a command to the computer. The purpose of processing hardware is retrieve, interpret and direct the execution of software instructions provided to the computer. The most common components of processing hardware are the Central Processing Unit and main memory. The purpose of storage hardware is to store computer instructions and data in a form that is relatively permanent and retrieve when needed for processing. Storage hardware serves the same basic functions as do office filing systems except that it stores data as electromagnetic signals. The most common ways of storing data are hard disk, floppy disk and CD-ROM. The purpose of output hardware is to provide the user with the means to view information produced by the computer system. Information is output in either hardcopy or softcopy form. Hardcopy output can be held in your hand, such as paper with text (word or numbers) or graphics printed on it. Softcopy output is displayed on a monitor.