1- The files are on the computer.

2- The files are in the computer.

How can files be on the computer? I am having trouble seeing computers as having a flat surface and files be put on top of it.
nerdikarp1- The files are on the computer.
2- The files are in the computer.

How can files be on the computer? I am having trouble seeing computers as having a flat surface and files be put on top of it.
Closed laptop computers, and even open ones, have a flat surface that you can put files on.
nerdikarpHow can files be on the computer? I am having trouble seeing computers as having a flat surface and files be put on top of it.
Actually, the hard disks have flat surfaces, and the data is stored on those surfaces, but the choice of prepositions often has more to do with arbitrary traditions than with logic. I suppose you also have trouble seeing any logical reason for the expressions on a trip, on vacation, on approval, on tap, and on hold, but that's what they are. Emotion: smile

CJ
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Hi,

1- The files are on the computer.

2- The files are in the computer.

How can files be on the computer? I am having trouble seeing computers as having a flat surface and files be put on top of it.

#1 can indeed mean 'physically on top of the computer'. But no-one seems to have commented that it is also can be an alternative way of talking about a file that is in the computer's memory.

It's similar to the way we say

eg the data is on the hard disk

eg I did my income tax on my computer.

Niehter of these examples means 'physicaly on top of'.

Clive