Basic Computer Terms
For those who are fairly new to computers, you may find the following list of basic computer terminologies useful.
For easy reference, the list has been arranged alphabetically. Take time and learn.
Bandwidth - The transmission capacity of the lines that carry the Internet's electronic traffic.
Bit - A binary unit of data storage that can only take a 0 or 1 value.
Boot - A term used to describe what happens to a computer when it is turned on, the operating system begins to run, and then the user is able to successfully use the computer.
Broadband - Data transmission where multiple pieces of data are sent simultaneously to increase the effective rate of transmission, regardless of data signaling rates.
Browser - a software application which enables a user to display and interact with text, images, videos, music, games and other information typically located on a web page at a website.
CD-ROM – (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory) – Storage disk with a capacity of about 700MB which are more commonly read than written to.
CD-ROM drive - The hardware component that is used to read a CD-ROM or write to it.
Computer - A machine that manipulates data according to a list of instructions.
CPU (central processing unit) - An electronic circuit that can execute computer programs.
Crash - A common term used to describe what happens to a computer when software errors force it to quit operating and become unresponsive to a computer user.
Driver - A specially written program which understands the operation of the device it interfaces to, such as a printer, video card, sound card or CD ROM drive. It provides an interface for the operating system to use the device.
Firewall - A firewall prevents computers on a network from communicating directly with external computer systems. A firewall typically consists of a computer that acts as a barrier through which all information passing between the networks and the external systems must travel. The firewall software analyzes information passing between the two and rejects it if it does not conform to pre-configured rules.
Firmware - Software written into permanent storage into the computer.
Hard disk drive – A non-volatile device which stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces.
Hardware - Describes the physical parts of your computer which you can physically touch or see such as your monitor, case, disk drives and other physical parts.
Internet - A network of networks which incorporate a many organizations, physical lines, the ability to route data, and many services including email and web browsing.
ISP - Internet Service Provider is an organization that provides the ability to connect to the internet for their customers. They also usually provide additional services such as e-mail and the ability to host web sites.
Keyboard - An input device, partially modeled after the typewriter keyboard, which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys, which act as mechanical levers or electronic switches.
Monitor – A visual display unit that usually displays computer output to the user.
Motherboard - is the central printed circuit board (PCB) in some complex electronic systems, such as modern PCs.
Mouse - is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface.
Operating System - The core software component of a computer providing the ability to interface to peripheral and external devices along with program functions to support application programs.
Printer - A peripheral device which produces a hard copy (permanent human-readable text and/or graphics) of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper.
Ram - Volatile types of memory (such as DRAM), where the information is lost after the power is switched off.
Resolution - The number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed.
Scanner – A device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image.
Software - Describes the programs that run on your system.
SPAM - A term used to describe junk and unsolicited e-mail.
Virus - A program that runs on a system against the owner's or user's wishes and knowledge and can spread by infecting files or sending itself through e-mail
Worm - A term used to describe an unwanted program that uses system or application vulnerabilities to infect a computer without the user doing anything but connecting to an infected network.