15th Nov 2010

Computer A-Z Glossary


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ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line). A form of internet connection that uses normal copper telephone cables, but is much faster than a traditional modem.


Bandwidth. The rate at which data is transmitted. Often used to rate the speeds of internet connections.

Blog (weB LOG). An online diary entry.

Booting/Booting Up. The processes your computer preforms to get to the stage where it is usable.

bps (Bytes Per Second). Internet connections commonly show download speeds in this format.

Broadband. A fast digital internet connection.

Browser. Allows you to navigate on the internet. Interprets HTML code it recieves and converts that to something that can be easily interpreted by the user. Some examples are Internet Explorer and Mozilla.

Byte. A very small way of measuring file sizing. More commonly used with older internet connections based on how many bps you could download.


CD (Compact Disc). A format of data storage that was initially used for music, but has since spread to computer data.

CD-R (CD-Recordable). A CD that is blank and can have data put (burnt) onto it.

CD-ROM (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory). A CD that holds information that can only be used in a computer via a CD-ROM drive.

CD-RW (CD-ReWritable). A CD that can have data copied (burnt) onto it, then have that data added to or erased.

Chat Rooms. A place where you can talk to othere people on any topic. This can include as well as chat rooms, forums and instant messaging. In chat rooms identities are kept anonymous, so never revel any personal details over a chat site. Chatdanger is a site which offers more information on staying safe in chat rooms.

Cookie. Small files sent by websites to keep details of you, for your benefit, stored on your computer. You can easily disable cookies if you don't want them used. An example is amazon.com, which uses cookies to display a list of books you may be interested in, based on previous purchases. If cookies are disabled a generic greeting page is instead displayed.

CPU (Central Processing Unit or processor). The part of the computer that gets instructions from programs and prefoms these tasks. The amount of instructions the CPU can take out per second is measured by a clock speed, in older CPUs by MHz whilst new CPUs are measured in GHz. See image.


Desktop. The first screen you see when your computer finishes loading up, the desktop contains links to most of the things you are going to need to do on your computer.

Download. Transferring a file from one source to your computer. Most commonly from the internet.

DVD (Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc). A disc that has the same dimensions as a CD but allows much greater data storage. This format has become hugely popular for movies, and is becoming increasingly used in PCs.


email (Electronic MAIL). Mail sent over an internet connection. Can include nearly anything like, photos, music or movies. Hugely popular, mostly free, way of staying in contact with friends, family and business associates.

Excel. A product that often comes bundled with Microsoft Office. Excel is used to create and manage spreadsheets. It is very powerful and can be used to create graphs and preform calculations.


Floppy Disc
Firewall. A guard that protects you from unwanted people accessing your computer, via the internet.

Flash. See Macromedia Flash.

Floppy Disc. A small disc that is inside a plastic coating, measuring 3 1/2 inches. Can store up to about 1.44 MB. See image.

Floppy Disc Drive (FDD). The drive in your computer that reads a floppy disk. Usually located below your CD-ROM drive.

Freeware (FREE softWARE). A peice of software that is free, has no expiration date and no limitations.


GIF (Graphic Interchangable Format). Common way of storing images that do not require high quality. Can be used to create a short animation.

Gigabyte (GB). A popular way of measuring the amount of space hard-drives or other very large files consume.


Hard Drive
Hard Drive. The part of your computer that stores all the data, including your operating system, photos, Microsoft Office products, games and everything you use on your computer. See image.

Hardware. Hardware are the physical parts of the computer that you can physically touch. Examples are the mouse, monitor, and all the parts inside the computer box (CPU, graphics card, etc.).

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). The code that is written to display websites. Browsers read this code, interpret it, then format it in a way that can be viewed by the user.

HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). The way in which web pages are sent over the internet.


ISP (Internet Service Provider). The company that allows you to connect to the internet. Some examples are Telstra and Optus.


Java Applets. A program that is designed to be run within a web page. Most commonly used for games.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group). A type of image that is best suited to digital camera photos and always still.


Kilobyte (KB). A popular way of measuring the amount of space small files take-up. A PDF application form may be 125 KB.


Laptop. A small portable computer that is an all-in-one device, meaning the keyboard, monitor, mouse, and keyboard are all connected. Also known as a notebook. See image.

Linux. A base for people to create operating systems. Usually these are free and come bundled with basic tools you may need for your computer, unlike Windows as you would have to pay for these products.


Macintosh. A less used format of computer, Macintoshs have been growing in favour with some professionals, but is still in the minority. Programs that are created for Windows can not be used on Macintoshs without the use of a Windows emulator, or vise versa.

Macromedia Flash.

Malware (MALicous softWARE). Software that is designed to harm your computer, that is often installed with users knowledge or consent.

Megabyte (MB). A way of measuring the amount of hard-disk space an average file will take up. A downloaded MP3 may be 3.5 MB.

mhz. Measures the speed of computers CPU, that is how quickly it can process information.

Microsoft. The largest computer company in the world and creator of Windows, Office and XBOX. Headed by Bill Gates.

Modem (MOdulator DEModulator). Allows you to connect to the internet, ususally via a phone line. Speeds are measured in the amount of data they can accept, per second, this is shown as kilobytes per second(kps). Speeds range from 28.8 kps to 512 kps.


Netiquette (interNET etIQUETTE). The dos and don'ts of the internet to be considered courtious.

Notebook. A small portable computer that is an all-in-one device, meaning the keyboard, monitor, mouse, and keyboard are all connected. Also known as a laptop.


Offline. Not connected to the internet.

Online. Connected to the internet.


Paint. Basic image editing software that is supplied with Windows.

PC (Personal Computer). A computer designed to be used by normal people for things like, surfing the web, playing games or creating documents.

PDF (Portable Document File). A type of document that can be easily seen on the internet. Usually viewed through Adobe Acrobat. Common way of storing application forms.

Powerpoint. A Microsoft Office product that is designed to allow users to create presentations.


Quicktime. A multimedia player that is capable of playing videos, music and animations. Originally designed for Macintoshs it has since been developed for Windows.


Recycle Bin
RAM (Random Access Memory). Programs are sent from the hard drive to RAM so that the can be accessed randomly, instead of sequentially like from the hard drive. RAM is measured in MBs.

Real Player. A multimedia player capable of playing videos and music. Some videos require codecs that must be run through Real Player.

Recycle Bin. The location on your Windows computers where files are sent prior to being deleted. See image.

ROM (Read Only Memory). Contains the instructions, for your CPU on how to start-up (boot) your computer.


Search engine. Allows users to easily search the internet for website. Some examples are Google and Yahoo!

Server. A computer system that provides services to other computers. Most commonly servers hold data about web sites that can be viewed by users. See image.

Shareware. Software that you are able to use either for a limited time or with limited functionality (or both), before you must register your program. Registering usually involves payment.

SKYPE. The most popular software of VOIP. Allows users to make free calls using their computer to other users of SKYPE. Calls can be made to normal telephones or mobile phones, at a cost. Can be used to set up a phone number which people can call, the same as a land line. Requires connection to the internet for use.

Smilies. Faces that are created by combinations of normal letters, smilies now have been extended to small pictures that can be animated. An example is the traditional smilie, :).

Software. The programs that make up your computer. Stored on your hard drive, your computer would be useless without software, as it wouldn't do anything.

Spam. Emails that are sent to you that you haven't asked for and don't want. Includes mostly pornography, herbal medicine for sale and chain emails.

Spyware. A program that is installed, without the users knowledge, to keep track of your internet habits. Pop-ups are tailed to match these habits. There are many anti-spyware programs available, like Spyware Doctor or Ad Aware

Surfing. Browsing the internet.


Trojan Horse. A peice of software that does one thing and often in the background, without the users knowledge, does another, which can track users internet browsing habits, capture passwords or anything that the program has been designed for. Malware and Spyware can be included as Trojan Horses.


Upload. Transferring something that is stored on your computer to another location, usually via the internet.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The location of web pages on the internet. Generally in the form of http://www.yourlifechoices.com.au.

USB (Universal Serial Bus). A way of connecting devices quickly to computers. Most commonly used with digital


Virus. A program that is self-replicating that changes the way your computer operates. Malware and Spyware are both virus.

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Uses your intenet connection to make telephone calls, which can be free (if user calls another user on the same service). Can also be used to call fixed lines or even mobiles. Requires a permenant connection and a microphone to be most useful. This kind of telephoning is growing in popularity beacause of cheaper calling rates. Some popular examples are, Skype and engin


Web Cam
Web. A short hand version of World Wide Web, refers to the internet as a whole.

Wi-Fi (WIreless FIdelity). Wireless connections that allow computers to connect to each other or the internet, without the use of wires.

Web Cam. A video recorder designed to be used with computers and in particular on the internet.

Windows. The most common operating system, developed by Microsoft, a new version is released every few years. Windows Vista, the latest version will be available in early 2007.

Word. Word processing software that is the worlds most commonly used, developed by Microsoft.

Work Offline. Browsing web pages that have been visited when online, whilst not connected to the internet. This is made possible by caching, which is the storing of web pages on your computer to speed up your downloading.

www (World Wide Web).he World Wide Web ("WWW" or simply the "Web") is a system of interlinked, hypertext documents that runs over the Internet. With a Web browser, a user views Web pages that may contain text, images, and other multimedia and navigates between them using hyperlinks.





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