Computer instructions

Updated: 05/02/2021 by Computer Hope

Computer instructions may refer to any of the following:

Logo instructions for a square

1. When referring to the computer processor, instructions are a segment of code containing steps that need to be executed by the processor. For a computer to know how to do anything, it must be provided instructions.

For example, asking the computer to draw a square requires a set of instructions telling the computer how to draw the square. In Logo, a user could complete this task by giving the computer the below set of instructions. The picture is an example of the results.

forward 100
right 90
forward 100
right 90
forward 100
right 90
forward 100

How does a computer get instructions?

A computer is given instructions by a human using a keyboard or another input device. To interpret these instructions, the computer uses an operating system or software that's also programmed by a human to translate user commands into something the computer can understand.

Note

The computer is able to process these instructions by following the computer's instruction set.

2. Computer instructions are a set of steps or documentation that includes information on how to operate, perform, or otherwise maintain particular computer software or hardware. If a program or hardware device includes an instruction manual or online instructions, we recommend reviewing it before asking questions.

Tip

With many programs, you can press the F1 key to get help and instructions on using that program.

3. Instructions are also a portion of programming that prompts a computer to execute a function. These instructions are stored on the hard disk drive or another storage device and are not executed until they are run by the user.

4. With computer hardware, instructions for a computer on how to use the device are provided with device drivers.

CPU terms, Data, Information, Instruction set, Logic, Program counter, Programming terms, RTFM, SOP