Personal computer

Children being taught how to use a notebook (portable laptop) personal computer; an older (1990s-era) desktop personal computer's CRT monitor, keyboard, and mouse are visible in the background.
An artist's depiction of a 2000s-era personal computer of the desktop style, which includes a metal case with the computing components, a display monitor and a keyboard (mouse not shown).

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use.[1] Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.

Institutional or corporate computer owners in the 1960s had to write their own programs to do any useful work with the machines. While personal computer users may develop their own applications, usually these systems run commercial software, free-of-charge software ("freeware") or free and open-source software, which is provided in ready-to-run form. Software for personal computers is typically developed and distributed independently from the hardware or operating system manufacturers.[2] Many personal computer users no longer need to write their own programs to make any use of a personal computer, although end-user programming is still feasible. This contrasts with mobile systems, where software is often only available through a manufacturer-supported channel,[3] and end-user program development may be discouraged by lack of support by the manufacturer.[4]

Since the early 1990s, Microsoft operating systems and Intel hardware have dominated much of the personal computer market, first with MS-DOS and then with Microsoft Windows. Alternatives to Microsoft's Windows operating systems occupy a minority share of the industry. These include Apple's macOS and free and open-source Unix-like operating systems.

The advent of personal computers and the concurrent Digital Revolution have significantly affected the lives of people in all countries.


"PC" is an initialism for "personal computer". The IBM Personal Computer incorporated the designation in its model name. It is sometimes useful to distinguish personal computers of the "IBM Personal Computer" family from personal computers made by other manufacturers. For example, "PC" is used in contrast with "Mac", an Apple Macintosh computer.[5][6][7][8] Since none of these Apple products were mainframes or time-sharing systems, they were all "personal computers" and not "PC" (brand) computers.

Other Languages
العربية: حاسوب شخصي
Bân-lâm-gú: Kò-jîn tiān-náu
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Пэрсанальны кампутар
føroyskt: Eginteldur
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Ke-ngìn thien-nó
Bahasa Indonesia: Komputer pribadi
interlingua: Computator personal
íslenska: Einkatölva
עברית: מחשב אישי
македонски: Личен сметач
Bahasa Melayu: Komputer peribadi
Nederlands: Personal computer
norsk nynorsk: Personleg datamaskin
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Shaxsiy kompyuter
português: Computador pessoal
Simple English: Personal computer
slovenčina: Osobný počítač
српски / srpski: Лични рачунар
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Osobni kompjuter
svenska: Persondator
Tiếng Việt: Máy tính cá nhân
West-Vlams: Personal computer
粵語: 個人電腦
中文: 个人电脑