How to Hook up a Computer

You’ve got a brand new computer, and all that stands between you and the digital world is a few cables. Where do they all go? Hooking up a computer has gotten significantly easier and more straightforward over the years; you can be connected in just a few minutes! See Step 1 below to get started.


  1. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 1
    Place all of your equipment where you want it. Before you start plugging things in, you’ll make your life a little easier by placing your peripherals where you want them and then plugging them in one at a time. Place everything so that the cables don’t have to stretch to reach the computer, and place the computer itself near a power outlet or power strip.
    • As you plug devices in, mind the cables to keep them from getting bunched and tangled.
    • Make sure that the computer tower is in a well-ventilated spot. Heat is the number one enemy of computer components, so the more you can mitigate it the better.
  2. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 2
    Plug in your mouse and keyboard. Modern mice and keyboards connect via USB, and can be plugged into any available USB port on the front or back of the computer. Some keyboards have USB ports as well that you can plug your mouse into.
    • Older mice and keyboards connected with special plugs. These plugs are color coded; the keyboard plugs into the purple socket, and the mouse plugs into the green socket on the back of the computer.
    • Many older computers require a keyboard to be connected in order to boot up.
  3. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 3
    Connect your monitor. You may have several options when it comes to connecting your monitor to your computer. If you have a dedicated video card installed, you’ll want to connect your monitor to one of its ports. If not, you can connect your monitor to one of the ports on the motherboard. Monitor cables only fit one direction, so don’t try to force them.
    • Dedicated video card ports are usually horizontal on a tower computer, while motherboard ports are vertical.
    • Use the highest quality connection possible. The major available connectors will be VGA, DVI, and HDMI. HDMI and DVI will result in the best image quality.
    • DVI and VGA cables should be secured with the small screws on each side. This will prevent them from accidentally coming unplugged. HDMI cables are inserted like a USB cable.
  4. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 4
    Connect your Ethernet cable (if applicable). If you are connecting to your home network via Ethernet, plug it in to your motherboard. If you are connecting wirelessly, you may need to attach an antenna to a special plug on the back of the motherboard or wireless card.
  5. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 5
    Plug in your speakers (if applicable). If you are connecting speakers to your computer, plug them into the color-coded ports on the back. If you have a dedicated sound card, be sure to plug the speakers into the card for the best-quality sound.
    • If your monitor has speakers, you can connect the monitor to the computer using a sound cable. If your monitor is connected via HDMI, the sound will be transferred through the HDMI cable as well.
  6. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 6
    Connect the power supply to a power source. The power supply needs to be connected to an outlet in order for the computer to function. Use the cable that came with your computer or power supply, and plug it into a three-pronged outlet.
    • To protect your computer against power surges or power outages, consider plugging into a surge protector or battery backup unit.
  7. Image titled IMG_5085
    Organize your cables. If you can, use zip ties to bundle your cables together. Having well-organized cables will reduce the amount of dust that gets captured, and makes it easier to keep clean. Make sure that you don’t have anything bundled too tight, and that everything can still move around as need (especially the mouse).
  8. Image titled Hook up a Computer Step 8
    Plug in your other devices after turning it on. Before connecting any printers, cameras, flash drives, or other USB devices, turn your computer on first and let it load into the computer's operating system. (Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu...) Once you are logged in, you can plug these devices in. Your operating system will then automatically install any software needed to use them.


  • Make sure that the cords are NOT tangled.


  • Keep all liquids away.

Article Info

Categories: Hardware