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Glossary of Common Desktop Computer Terms

Mar 10, 2008
You may be interested in purchasing a new desktop computer, but may not be familiar with common computer terminology. This glossary has been designed to help.

Application: Refers to computer software that performs a task or set of tasks, ie word processing or drawing.

Bandwidth: Refers to the capacity of a networked connection and determines how much data can be sent along networked wires. This measurement is important for Internet connections, since the greater the bandwidth, the faster the Internet download.

Byte: Typically, computers use combinations of eight bits, or bytes to represent an individual character of data or instructions.

Cache: A small data memory storage area that a computer uses to re access data rather than re reading data from an original source.

CDROM: Stands for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory Aided Manufacturing. This refers to a disc that has been optically designed to hold music, reference materials, or computer software. Most software programs are now delivered on this platform.

Database: A collection of similar information stored within one file, sometimes created and stored within a database management system.

Domain: This term represents an IP or Internet Protocol address, or set of addresses comprising a domain. The domain name appears within URLs and helps to identify web pages or email addresses.

DSL: Stands for digital subscriber line, a method of connecting to the Internet via a phone line. Most DSL connections use a copper telephone line to relay data at much higher speeds than modems can and does not interfere with the use of telephones.

Ethernet card: A board located inside a computer to which a network cable can be attached.

Firewall: A set of computer security protocol programs designed to protect a computer from outside interference or Internet access.

FTP: Stands for File Transfer Protocol, a format and set of rules concerning the transfer of files from a host to a remote computer.

Gigabyte (GB) Unit of measurement consisting of 1024 megabytes. Also known as a gig.

GUI: Stands for Graphical User Interface, a system that simplifies the process of computer command selection by enabling the user to point to symbols or illustrations, or icons by use of the mouse.

Hard drive: Also known as a hard disc. Stores information within a computer.

Hardware: This refers to both the physical and mechanical components of a computer system, including the electronic circuitry, monitor, disks, disk drives, modem, keyboard, and printer.

HTML: Stands for Hypertext Markup Language, referring to a standard text of markup conventions.
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