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A peripheral is a piece of computer hardware that is added to a host computer ,i.e any hardware except the computer, in order to expand its abilities. More specifically, the term is used to describe those devices that are optional in nature, as opposed to hardware that is either demanded or always required in principle.

The term also tends to be applied to devices that are hooked up externally, typically through some form of computer bus like USB. Typical examples include joysticks, printers and scanners. Devices such as monitors and disk drives are not considered peripherals when they are not truly optional.

Some people do not consider internal devices such as video capture cards to be peripherals because they are added inside the computer case; for them, the term peripherals is reserved exclusively for devices that are hooked up externally to the computer. It is debatable however whether PCMCIA cards qualify as peripherals under this restrictive definition, because some of them go fully inside the laptop, while some, like WiFi cards, have external appendages.


List of common peripherals

  • Storage
    • Removable (Writes/reads portable media)
      • CD
        • CD-ROM
        • CD-RW
        • CD-R
      • DVD
        • DVD-ROM
        • DVD-RW
        • DVD-R
      • Blu-Ray
        • BD-ROM
        • BD-RW
        • BD-R
        • BD/DVD-RW Combo
      • USB flash drive
      • Tape drive
      • Floppy disk
      • Punch card
    • Non-removable
      • Disk drive
      • Disk array controller

  • Input
    • Manual
      • Keyboard
      • Pointing devices
        • Mouse
        • Trackball
        • Joystick
        • Touch screen
      • Gamepad
    • Microphone
    • Brain-computer interface
    • Image scanner
    • Computer terminal
    • Computer speech recognition
    • Webcam
    • Digitizing tablet
    • Barcode reader

  • Output (see also output device, display device, graphical output device, computer display)


    • Printing
      • Plotter
      • Printer
      • Braille embosser
    • Sound
      • Computer speech synthesis
      • Sound card
      • Speakers
    • Visual
      • Digital Camera
      • Graphics card
      • Monitor
    • Refreshable Braille display
  • Networking
    • Modem
    • Network card
  • Expansion
    • docking station
  • except memory and processor

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