A personal computer or PC is usually a microcomputer intended to be used by one person at a time, and suitable for general principle tasks such as word processing, programming, sending messages or digital documents to other computers on the network, multimedia editing or game play, usually used to run software not written by the user. Unlike minicomputers, a personal computer is often owned by the person using it, representing a low cost of purchase and simplicity of operation. The user of a modern personal computer may have trivial knowledge of the operating environment and application programs, but is not unavoidably interested in programming or even able to write programs for the computer.
In modern usage PC nearly always refers to an IBM compatible and the term may even be used for machines that are in no way personal computers but still use the basic architecture of the IBM pc. The first generation of microcomputers were called just that, and only sold in small numbers to those able to operate them: engineers and accomplished. The second generation micros were known as home computers, and are discussed in that section.