How would i control something from a PC?

For example, if i were to get an actuator- what is the process of getting it connected to the pc and then being able to actually control its function from the computer and automate the process. By automate i mean, at 11pm close the window, at 8am open the window. Please don't link me any ready to use... show more For example, if i were to get an actuator- what is the process of getting it connected to the pc and then being able to actually control its function from the computer and automate the process. By automate i mean, at 11pm close the window, at 8am open the window.

Please don't link me any ready to use things, this is a project for myself. Meaning i want to construct and configure it myself.

Thanks, any help would be appreciated, even the terminology associated with what im trying to accomplish.
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