A- Z Computer Glossary


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It lists all the possible computer terms and theri meanings (Specially written for Windows users)

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A- Z Computer Glossary

  1. 1. A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows Compiled by: Computer Tweaks Website: http://www.computertweaks.inNote:Here I am listing almost all the terminologies used in computers specifically when you areusing Windows environment. This List can be edited, re-published or shared with anybody. Youcan send it to your friends or colleagues. This has been compiled only for information purpose. 1 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  2. 2. adapter card: A circuitry board that, when added to a computer internally, increases thatcomputer’s capabilities; also called an expansion card.Aero: A Windows color scheme and window format that was new to Vista.Aero Glass: A combination of the Aero color scheme and the Glass effect that creates atranslucent effect in Windows.AGP: Accelerated Graphics Port; a type of computer video expansion.all-in-one: A type of inkjet printer that can also act as a scanner, fax machine, and/or copier.alpha blending test: A test that Microsoft uses to determine how quickly a computersgraphics card can blend colors.application: A kind of software used for productivity or to create things (the software thatdoes the work).base station: A wireless hub, which connects a computer network.Bluetooth: A type of wireless network standard used for short distances with devices such ascell phones and laptops.broadband: Any high-speed Internet connection, whether provided through cable, DSL, orsatellite.broadcasting spectrum: The range of radio waves over which wireless devices communicate.cable: A means of accessing the Internet that runs through your cable TV coaxial connection.Caps Lock: A key on a keyboard that, when pressed to make active, causes letters to appearcapitalized on the monitor’s display when you press the corresponding letter key on thekeyboard.capture card: A video upgrade card that can capture incoming analog video signal andconvert it to digital video.cartridge: The container that stores ink or toner for use in a printer.Cat 5: A Category 5 networking cable used to connect a computer to a network hub. CD:Compact disc; a removable storage medium that can hold data, text, and graphics.CD/DVD recorder: A type of drive that you can attach to your computer in order to copy datafrom your PC to a recordable CD or DVD.chassis: The metal frame on which your computer’s internal components and circuits aremounted.chip: An integrated computer circuit containing many elements connected on a single unit. 2 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  3. 3. chipset: The collection of computer chips on a single motherboard.circuit: An electrical device that provides a path for electrical current to flow.ClearType: ClearType is a special anti-aliasing tool developed by Microsoft to improve theappearance of fonts on high-resolution LCD flat-screen monitors.codec: A codec (short for coder-decoder or compressor-decompressor) is a small programthat converts data from one form to another so that the data can be played on a media player.command prompt: A traditional DOS-like text interface that allows you to input instructionsto the computer.compatibility mode: A Windows option that allows you to trick an older program intothinking it is running in a previous version of Windows.compressed file: A folder containing multiple files that have been packed in such a way thatall excess space is eliminated.console: The main computer box; also called the system unit.controller: The circuits that control data transfer to and from a disk drive (floppy disk, harddisk, or optical disc).cookies: Tiny files that are used by Web sites to track your online activity and recognize youwhenever you access the site.corona wire: A charged wire in a laser printer that draws the toner off the drum onto thepaper.CPU: Central processing unit; A computer component, often called a processor andmicroprocessor, whose speed determines how fast your PC operates.crossover cable: A cable that allows two computers to connect to each other as a networkwithout having to set up an actual Windows network.CRT: Cathode ray tube; an older type of computer monitor that offers better color qualitythan an LCD monitor.cursor: The blinking icon on the computer screen that shows you where the characters youtype appear; also called an insertion pointer.D3D Score: The score that the Windows Experience Index gives to your computers ability toreplicate 3D images.DAT: Digital audiotape; A type of computer backup drive that copies data to a tape.DDR: Double data rate; A computer DIMM memory module that’s still in general use.DDR2: Memory modules that double the data transfer rate between your RAM and yourmotherboard.default programs option: A Windows option that allows you to determine which program youwant to run a certain task or open a certain file type. 3 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  4. 4. defrag; defragment: The process that your computer uses to rearrange the pieces of filesand applications on your hard drive so that they are positioned next to each other on thedrive, improving performance speed.desktop: A type of computer made up of a PC console, monitor, mouse, keyboard, and anyadditional attachments. A desktop PC isn’t easily portable.desktop theme: A collection of settings that control the appearance and behavior of thevarious appearance settings in Windows.details view: One of the viewing options in Windows Explorer that you can use to obtaindetailed information about each file.Device Manager: A Windows tool that shows you the status of all the hardware elements onyour PC.dialup: A kind of computer Internet connection that uses existing phone lines.digital: A means of storing, transmitting, manipulating, or reproducing data, images andsounds by using groups of electronic bits represented by 1 and 0.Digital ID: Electronic certificates that you can use to verify the identity of the person withwhom you’re communicating.DIMM: Dual Inline Memory Module; A standard type of computer memory module.DirectX: A driver used by games, graphics, and audio programs in Windows.disk drive: A component of a computer that reads information from and writes information toa certain kind of disk.display: The information that appears on your computer screen.DNS Server: A computer that translates addresses you can understand, such aswww.dummies.com, into addresses that the Internet can understand, such as208.215.179.139.drive cage: A contraption used to hold a PC’s internal disk drives, an optical (DVD) drive,and a hard drive. 4 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  5. 5. driver: A special type of program that allows specific computer hardware to work.DSL: Digital Subscriber Line; a type of Internet connection that takes advantage of unusedfrequencies in existing phone lines.dual-core: A CPU made up of two independent processors combined onto a single integratedcircuit.DV: Digital video; used to describe camcorders that record video digitally.DVD: Digital video disc; a removable computer storage medium that has a larger capacitythan a CD.DVD drive: A disk drive in or attached to your computer that can read information fromDVDs and CDs.DVI: Digital video interface: The standard connection method for certain types of videodisplay, such as LCD monitors.DVI-to-VGA adapter: An adapter that allows you to connect an older monitor to a newercomputer or vice versa.dye-sublimation: A type of printer that transfers heated solid dye from a ribbon to speciallycoated paper, producing continuous tones, like those in a photo produced from a negative.EDO: Extended Data Output; an older type of computer memory module that’s used on onlyold Pentium motherboards.EIDE: Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics; a type of hard drive.ergonomics: Adapting work or working conditions to suit the worker.Error Checking: A Windows tool that can examine a hard drive and fix many common driveerrors.Ethernet: The standards and protocols used by Windows for networking.expansion card: A circuitry board that you can add to a computer internally to expand thatcomputer’s capabilities.expansion slot: A slot on a computer’s motherboard available for adding expansion cards,which add new components to the PC.favicon: The small icon next to a URL address in an Internet browsers address bar.feeder tray: A component of a printer in which you place paper that you want the printer totake and print on; also called a paper feed.fiber optic: A technology that sends data as light at high speeds and in large amounts. 5 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  6. 6. file: A binary (not physical) container that holds a chunk of information stored in a computer.firewall: A computer program that restricts Internet access, primarily to prevent unwantedintrusions into your computer system.FireWire: Apple’s branded type of computer connection that you can use to attach variousdevices to your PC; most often used to connection DV camcorders.flash drive: A keychain-size storage unit that saves files on memory cards; you can plug itinto your computer and access it like any other external hard drive.flash memory: A special type of computer memory that works like both RAM and ROM;information can be written to flash memory, but that information isn’t erased when the poweris off.Flip 3D: When the Aero color scheme is engaged, this tool allows you to visually scrollthrough all open applications.force feedback: When a game controller rumbles or provides resistance to your hand thatmatches the action on-screen.FSB: Front Side Bus; the primary pathway between a computer’s CPU and memory.game controller: A device that you attach to your computer that allows you to inputmovement and actions when playing a computer game.gamepad: A game controller that features a flat surface and many buttons.Glass: A Windows Appearance setting that gives your folders a nearly transparent look.GPU: Graphics processing unit; the chipset used on your PC’s video card.graphics adapter: The circuitry that runs the computer monitor and controls the image thatthemonitor’s screen displays.graphics system: A computer’s monitor and graphics adapter.hard drive: A disk drive on your PC that can store the greatest amount of information andaccess it in the quickest manner; therefore, it’s the main source of permanent storage.hardware: The physical part of a computer — anything you can touch and see, such as thecomputer console, monitor, keyboard, and mouse.Hardware Troubleshooter: A Windows Help and Support Center tool that runs usersthrough the most common causes of hardware errors in a question-and-answer format.Hardware Update Wizard: A Windows tool that can search for and add hardware to thesystem. 6 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  7. 7. headset: Headphones that include a built-in microphone for online communications and gameplaying.hexadecimal: A numbering system based on 16 digits that is often used for graphics.hibernate: A computer function by which it saves all the computer’s memory (everything thesystem is doing), then turns the computer off.hive: A type of Registry entry that contains a number of other Registry entries.hot key: A keyboard shortcut that opens an application or performs a specific task.hub: A simple, inexpensive piece of hardware that merely connects a computer network.Hyper-Threading: A feature of certain Pentium processors that makes one physical CPUappear as two logical CPUs, overlapping two instruction streams in order to achieve a gainin performanceimpact printer: A type of computer printer that uses an ink ribbon and some deviceto physically bang the ribbon on the paper.inkjet printer: A type of computer printer that lobs tiny balls of ink directly on the paper tocreate a printout.input: Information sent to and received by your computer.insertion pointer: The blinking icon that appears on your computer screen at thelocation where characters you type appear; also called a cursor.I/O: Input/Output; the two kinds of activity that a computer engages in — it acceptsinput from outside devices and gives you output information in a variety of forms.IrDA port: An infrared computer port that can be used to communicate with devices such asPDAs and other laptops.ISA: Industry Standard Architecture; the oldest type of computer expansion slot, used nowmainly for compatibility with older expansion cards.keyboard: The input device you use as a primary way to communicate with the computer;you input information by typing.knowledgebase: The Microsoft online help tool that contains information regarding Windowsproblems and errors. 7 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  8. 8. label printer: A specialized, small printer that can create all kinds of labels on label tape.LAN: Local area network; A group of computers connected to form a network.laptop: A specialty type of computer that folds into a handy, lightweight package, making it easilyportable; also called a notebook.laser printer: A type of computer printer that uses a laser beam to create the image, giving acrisp and fast output.LCD: Liquid crystal diode; A type of computer monitor, also called a flat-panel monitor,that’s thin and uses relatively little electricity.LED: Light Emitting Diode; a display and lighting technology used in almost every electronicproduct.live file system: When burning CDs and DVDs, this file system allows you to add and removefiles as if the disc was another hard drive.log in: To identify yourself on a computer by entering a user name and password.log off: To tell Windows that you’re done using the computer without actually turning off thecomputer; you must log in to use it again. This action is also called logging out.log out: Telling Windows that you don’t want to use the computer anymore; also calledlogging off.malware: A type of application that is designed to cause problems (such as file corruption andstealing personal information) to computer systems.master file system: When burning CDs and DVDs, this setting allows the disc to be read by mostcomputers and players, but it does restrict you to only adding files one time.media card: A storage device that’s essentially the same thing as flash memory, althoughmedia cards are designed for use with various gizmos, such as digital cameras and MP3 players.Meeting Space: A Windows tool that allows you to set up networks on the fly without a hub or arouter by skipping among wireless cards.memory: Temporary computer information storage which is emptied when you turn off thecomputer; also called RAM.memory card: A solid-state (meaning it has no moving parts) computer information storagedevice.memory module: A narrow printed circuit board that holds memory chips. 8 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  9. 9. microprocessor: Your computer’s main hardware chip that determines the speed at whichyour computer can work; also called the processor and CPU.MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface; rather than digital audio, a MIDI file gives thecomputer directions on how to play a song — kind of like how a program is a set of directions thattells your computer how to accomplish a task.mini 1394: A special version of IEEE 1394 (FireWire) that’s designed specifically for digitalvideo and digital cameras.mini-DIN: A standard computer connector used to connect a microphone to your PC.mini-tower: The most popular PC configuration, where the desktop computer sits upright on adesktop or tucked away below the desk.modem: A device that allows your computer to communicate with other computers through theInternet.modifier key: A key on a keyboard that works in combination with other keys to do various tasks.modular: Being made up of a number of individual pieces that can each be replaced withouthaving to change the whole.monitor: The box and hardware that make up the part of your computer that displaysinformation.motherboard: The computer’s main circuitry board, which contains essential PC components, suchas the processor and memory.mouse: A helpful input device that lets you work with graphical objects that the computerdisplays on the monitor’s screen.MP3 card: A specialized sound card that contains a hardware encoder/decoder, which speedsup your PC’s ripping and MP3-playing performance.MPEG card: A video card specifically designed for encoding and decoding Motion PictureExperts Group digital video (usually from a DVD).network: A group of computer resources connected with each other and able to shareinformation.NIC: Network information card; Ethernet networking hardware that your computer requires toconnect to a network.notebook: A portable type of computer that folds up for easy transport; also called a laptop. 9 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  10. 10. Num Lock: A key on a computer keyboard that, when pressed to make active, makes thenumeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard produce numbers. When the Num Lock key isinactive, you can use the numeric keypad for moving the text cursor.OCR: Optical character recognition; a program that allows the computer to read text from ascanned item and convert it to text that you can edit.OpenGL: Open Graphics Language; a 3D graphics language developed by SGI, which hasbecome a de facto standard supported in Windows (among other) computers.output: Anything that the computer produces.paging volume: The Windows system uses a paging volume to expand the RAM and increaseperformance.palmtop: A small hand-held, battery-operated computer.paper feed: The portion of a computer printer in which you store the paper that the printereventually prints on; also called a feeder tray.paper output tray: The location on a computer printer where the printer paper comes outand is stacked.parallel port: A computer connection that used to be the primary means of connecting aprinter to your computer; still used with some printers and peripherals.partition: A drive partition is a way that Windows virtually separates parts of a drive.password reset disk: A disk that records your authority to access your user account — ifyou forget your password, you can use this disk to re-access the system.PC Card: Frequently found on laptops, this credit-card-size card contains a hard drive thatyou can insert into a PC slot to grab data you want to transport.PCI: Peripheral Component Interconnect; the most common form of internal expansion for aPC.PCI Express: The next generation of PCI PC expansion that communicates with themotherboard quickly and efficiently.PDA: Personal digital assistant; a handheld computerized device.pen scanner: A hand-held, pen-shaped scanner with which you can re-create drawings or textas image files.photo printer: A computer printer specifically designed to create photographs that rivaltraditional 35mm prints. 10 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  11. 11. plenum cable: A type of network cable that’s designed to withstand high temperatures, suchas inside a heating duct.Plug and Play: A technology that Windows uses to automate hardware installation.port: A place on a computer where you can attach a device to send and/or receiveinformation.port card: An adapter card that you can insert into your PC to add computer ports.port exception: A type of firewall exception that gives the excepted program complete accessto your system.power strip: A connector that plugs into a wall outlet and offers several sockets (usually six)into which you can plug various devices to power them.printer: A device through which you get printed output (called hard copy) from yourcomputer.process: The action that a computer takes on input to produce a different output.processor: The component of a computer that handles the processing work the computerdoes; also called a CPU and a microprocessor.program: A program is a set of instructions given to computer to perform one or moretasks. E.g: Games, Text EditorsPS/2 (port): A type of connection dedicated to the kind of keyboard and mouse thatfeature this connector.Quick Launch toolbar: A toolbar that can be attached to the Windows taskbar to giveusers one-click access to their most commonly used programs.RAM: Random access memory; a computer component that allows you to store data. RDRAM:Direct Rambus RAM; a branded random access memory that allows your computerto store data. Rambus memory modules are much faster than the standard DDR modules, butare being replaced by DDR2 modules.ReadyBoost: A technology that allows your computer to augment its memory using a flashmemory drive.ReadyDrive: ReadyDrive takes advantage of “hybrid” hard drives — the drives withsignificant amounts of integrated flash memory — to boot faster.reboot: To restart your computer.recharging cradle: A base connected to a power outlet into which you can place a devicethat runs on rechargeable batteries in order to recharge those batteries..reg file: A file that contains a backup of Windows Registry entries. 11 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  12. 12. Registry Editor: A Windows tool that allows you to manually make modifications to theWindows Registry.Remote Assistance: A Windows tool that you can use to allow a user on another computer toaccess your computer so that they can help you correct errors.resolution: The number of pixels that your monitor’s display can show, both horizontally andvertically.resource: Something that a computer uses to get work done, such as memory or processorpower.Resource Monitor: Windows tool for keeping track of the way all your systems componentsare being used, focusing primarily on the RAM and processor.ROM: Read-only memory; Permanent memory that can’t be altered by the microprocessor.root keys : Entries in the Windows Registry.router: A sophisticated device used to connect your network; it can manage hundreds ofnetworked computers and handle Internet traffic.RSI: Repetitive stress injury; a physical condition caused by putting too much strain on ajoint of the body.RSS feeds: Really Simple Syndication feeds: Automatically updated content that can beviewed with an RSS feed reader.Safe Mode: A way of entering Windows, primarily for diagnostics and repairs, that bypassesmany of the drivers that can cause Windows failures.satellite: One of the fastest means of connecting to the Internet, by using an outdoorantenna and a subscription to a satellite service.scanner: A device that attaches to a computer and can create a graphics file of an object youplace on the scanner (much like a photocopier, only a scanner produces a file rather than apaper copy).screen: The part of the computer monitor on which information is displayed.screen shot: An image of the screens contents.Scroll Lock: A key on a computer’s keyboard that, when pressed and therefore active,reverses the function of the cursor keys in some spreadsheet applications.SDRAM: Also called SyncDRAM, these memory modules take the form of standardDIMMs. This kind of module is too slow for current PC use. 12 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  13. 13. serial port: An older kind of versatile computer port that can connect a variety of devices tothe PC; it has been largely replaced with USB ports.shadow copies: Available in Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate, shadow copies are atype of backup file that automatically saves all previous versions of files.SIMM: Single Inline Memory Module; a type of memory module that often needs to beadded in pairs.Sleep mode: A state in which the computer slips into a special, power-saving setting, likegoing into a low-power coma.Snipping Tool: Vistas built-in tool for creating screen shots.software: Instructions that tell the computer hardware what to do or how to act; the brains ofthe computer.Software Explorer: A tool within Windows Defender that can be used to control whichapplications run during the Windows startup process.sound card: A circuit-filled gadget that plugs inside your PC to add music and explosions tocomputer games.spatial imaging: A sound card feature that creates a 3D feeling to the sound being producedby your computer.SPDIF: A computer connection, which requires special fiber optic cable, that’s used fordigital audio.SSID: Service Set Identifier; the name by which your wireless network is known.standard: Specifications about how a group of network devices communicate.stylus: A kind of mouse that looks like a pen and draws on a special pad, which translates tothe computer display.subwoofer: A speaker box designed for low-frequency sounds, which gives oomph to thebass in music or adds emphasis to the sounds in games.SuperFetch: SuperFetch keeps track of which applications are being used the most on yourcomputer and tries to pre-load those applications so they’re available before you need them.surge protector: A special type of power strip that helps fight irregularities in the electricalsupply that runs to your computer.surround sound: 3D environmental audio, created by a set of speakers positioned aroundthe listener.S-Video: A type of computer connection that allows you to attach an S-Video monitor, videorecorder, or television to your PC. 13 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  14. 14. switch: A device that connects computers in a network and manages the signals betweenthose computers.system tray: The icons on the right side of the Windows taskbar that indicate what programsare running in the background.system unit: The main box of the PC; also called the console.tags: Part of a files metadata in which you can give a file a reference name that can be usedby Vista and other programs to sort and retrieve files.Task Manager: Windows tool for keeping track of the programs and processes that arecurrently running.Time server: A computer designed to give accurate time information for any computer thatchecks in on the Internet.toner: A powdery ink substance that comes in a cartridge; used by laser printers.TOSLINK: A standard optical computer connector that creates high-quality soundreproduction.tower: A PC configuration that has essentially a full-sized desktop console standing on itsside, usually on the floor; includes a lot of room for expansion.trackball: A kind of upside-down mouse; you use your thumb or index figure to roll a ball ontop of the mouse, while the whole contraption stays stationary.upgrade: A complete revision of a computer program that you use to replace the currentprogram.UPS: Uninterruptible power supply; basically, a power strip combined with a battery to keepyour computer running for a short time when the power goes out.USB: Universal Serial Bus; a computer connection that you can use to attach many differentkinds of devices and peripherals to a computer.User Account Control: A Windows safety option that protects you from accidentally makingchanges to your system that could have a negative effect on system performance or stability.utility: A type of computer program that’s designed to help you manage the computer, ordiagnose or fix problems.vCard: A file that contains a persons personal contact information that can be sent to othersvia e-mail.VGA: Video Gate Array; a name used to describe graphics adapters. 14 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in
  15. 15. video card: The circuitry that controls the image appearing on the monitor’s screen; alsoknown as a graphics adapter.video port: The connector on a computer’s video card to which you attach a monitor.virtual memory: The portion of your hard drive that Windows uses to expand the availableRAM.WAP: Wireless access point; a device that brings wireless connectivity to an existing wirednetwork.webcam: A video camera that attaches to your computer and allows you to upload images orvideo to the Web.WEI: The Windows Experience Index, Microsofts assessment tool that analyses thehardware on your PC and determines how efficiently your system will be able to handleWindows Vista.WEP: Wired Equivalent Privacy; the encryption for a computer network. WiFi:Wireless fidelity; the original 802.11b standard wireless base station.Windows Experience Index: Microsofts assessment tool that analyses the hardware on yourPC and determines how efficiently your system will be able to handle Windows Vista.Windows Firewall with Advanced Security (WFwAS): Windows limited outbound firewallinterface.Windows Registry: A portion of the Windows system that contains a wide variety ofinformation that instructs Windows how to handle registered applications.WinSAT (Windows System Assessment Tool): The measurement tool that Windows Vistauses to assess your systems capabilities and to create the WEI index for your PC.wireless: Making a connection between computers or a computer and devices withoutphysically connecting them with wires or cables; usually involves using radio signals to sendand receive information.word processor: A computer program in which you generate, edit, store, transmit, orduplicate electronic text documents.workgroup: A group of computers that all share a similar location or organization in anetwork.ZIF: Zero insertion force; a type of socket designed for easy insertion in which a lever ispulled down to lock the chip in place.Zip: A type of file compression where one or more files can be placed into a single filearchive, which is digitally compressed to take up less room on the hard drive. 15 [A-Z Computer Glossary for Windows] Compiled by Computer Tweaks www.computertweaks.in