Basic Computer Terms

Software Terms:

Computer Software / Program / Application

A program is executable software that runs on a computer.

Operating System (OS)

The operating system (OS) is the software that communicates with the computer hardware on the primary level, and controls the computer.

Linux

Linux (pronounced “lih-nux”, not “lie-nux”) is a freely distributed Unix-like operating system (OS) created by Linus Torvalds.

Mac OS

This is the operating system that runs on Macintosh computers.

IP Address

Also known as an “IP number” or simply an “IP,” this is a code made up of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet. Every computer, whether it be a Web server or the computer you’re using right now, requires an IP address to connect to the Internet. IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by three dots. For example “66.72.98.236″ or “216.239.115.148″.

MAC Address (Media Access Control Address)

A MAC address is a hardware identification number that uniquely identifies each device on a network. The MAC address is manufactured into every network card, such as an Ethernet card or Wi-Fi card, and therefore cannot be changed.

Driver

A file on a computer which tells it how to communicate with an add-on piece of equipment.

File / Document

The file is a unit for information storage that includes word-processor, spreadsheet, pictures, music, etc. Each file is differentiated with the help of a unique file name.

Browser

The web browser is an application that helps render the source code of World Wide Web or web pages that can be used by the user.

Plug-in

Software plug-in is an add-on for a program that adds functionality to it.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to applications and services offered over the Internet. These services are offered from data centers all over the world, which collectively are referred to as the “cloud.” This metaphor represents the intangible, yet universal nature of the Internet.

Hardware Terms:

Peripherals

The peripherals are the input devices that are connected to the machines. The keyboard, mouse and printer are computer peripherals.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

A central processing unit, also referred to as a processor or a CPU, is an electronic circuit which facilitates data processing by executing various computer programs. It is also known as the brain of the computer.

Heat sink

CPUs include a heat sink, which dissipates the heat from the processor, preventing it from overheating. The heat sink is made out of metal, such as a zinc or copper alloy, and is attached to the processor with a thermal material that draws the heat from away the processor towards the heat sink. Heat sinks can range in size from barely covering the processor to several times the size of the processor if the CPU requires it.

Motherboard (MOBO)

The computer motherboard, also referred to as the main board, is the central printed circuit board, located in the central processing unit of the computer. The motherboard facilitates the communication between the various components of the computer.

Hard Drive (HDD)

Hard drive, also referred to as the hard disk drive, is a non-volatile storage device in the computer, which facilitates the storage of digitally encoded data. HDD helps the computer to permanently retain and store the data.

Partition

A partition is a section of a hard disk. When you format a hard disk, you can usually choose the number of partitions you want. The computer will recognize each partition as a separate disk, and each will show up under “My Computer” (Windows) or on the desktop (Macintosh).

Flash Drive

Flash drives have many names — jump drives, thumb drives, pen drives, and USB keychain drives. Regardless of what you call them, they all refer to the same thing, which is a small data storage device that uses flash memory and has a built-in USB connection.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random access memory, more often referred to as RAM, is a volatile data storage component of the computer, wherein the data is stored only until the computer is on. Once a program is closed, the data is removed from RAM. The amount of RAM helps in determining the number of programs that can be run.

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

A computer power supply unit is a computer hardware which is used to convert the power from the mains to a voltage that is necessary to run the computer. It also regulates the flow of power to the other various parts of computer, thus keeping the computer secured for fluctuating electricity.

Modem

A modem is used to transfer information through the Internet.

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

HDMI is a digital interface for transmitting audio and video data in a single cable. It is supported by most HDTVs and related components, such as DVD and Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and video game systems.

Network

The network is a physical or logical construction that connects different computers together and helps them communicate. The computer networking is carried out through cabling or through wireless networking. The best example is the Internet.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi refers to wireless networking technology that allows computers and other devices to communicate over a wireless signal. It describes all network components that are based on one of the 802.11 standards, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. These standards were developed by the IEEE and adopted by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which trademarked the name “Wi-Fi”.

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