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Jan 242014

Computer Vocabulary

  • Adware –  A software application which displays unwanted pop-up advertisements on your computer while in use. Adware is often installed on your computer at the same   time as free software or shareware.
  • Anti virus software – A program that finds and removes viruses from a computer.
  • Application -An application is any program designed to perform a specific function directly for  the user. Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook or Adobe Photoshop are examples of  application programs.
  • Backup – A copy of files from a computer’s hard disk, usually made on some external medium such as CD-ROM or flash drive. A backup is made in case the hard disk file(s) are erased or damaged.
  • Bit, Bytes – A bit is the smallest piece of information that computers use. For simplicity, a PC uses bits in groups of 8 called bytes (8 bits = 1 byte).
  • Bluetooth – A way of communicating wirelessly over short distances between electronic devices (for example computer and mobile telephone)
  • Boot, Boot up, Boot disk – You boot (or boot up) your computer when you switch it on and wait while it prepares itself. Instructions for startup are given to the computer from the boot disk, which is usually the hard disk.
  • Browser – A program or tool such as Internet Explorer ,Firefox or Mozilla that enables you to browse use it to view  or browse the Internet sites.
  • Bug – A defect or fault in a computer program that prevents it from working correctly.
    Bugs are caused by mistakes or errors made by the people who write the
  • Cache – A kind of memory used for temporary storage of recently accessed web pages,
    which enables the browser to display them more quickly on the next visit.
  • CD-ROM – A disk for storing computer information. It looks like an audio CD.
  • Client – A client is the requesting program or user in a client/server relationship. For example, the user of a Web browser is effectively making client requests for pages from servers all over the Web.
  • Cookies – A cookie is a small piece of information on the times and dates you have visited web sites. A web server can temporarily store this information within your browser.   The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customized web pages for them.
  • CPU – Central Processing Unit. This is a PC’s heart or “brains”.
  • Crash – A crash, in computing, is what happens when a program, or the entire operation
    system, unexpectedly stops working.
  • Cursor  – A blinking symbol on the screen that shows where any new text will next be entered.
  • Data – Usually means the information (text, pictures, audio etc) that you create or share on a computer, as opposed to the programs that manipulate the data.
  • DOS – Disk Operating System. The original system used for PCs, where you typed in commands instead of pointing and clicking.
  • Domain (Domain Name System -DNS) – Is indicates the IP address of a computer or a website.
  • Driver – A special program which enables a computer to work with a particular piece of
    hardware such as a printer.
  • E-business  -Business done over the internet or any internet-based network.
  • Ebook – An electronic book that can be downloaded and read on a computer or other device.
  • E-commerce – E-commerce (electronic commerce or EC) is the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet, especially the World Wide Web. In practice, this term and a newer term, e-business, are often used interchangably. For online retail selling, the term e-tailing is sometimes used.
  • E-mail (Electronic mail) – messages sent from one computer to another over the Internet.  You can see email on the screen or print it out.
  • FAQ -Frequently asked questions
  • File – A specific computer record; it could contain data such as text (eg essay.doc), or a program such as paint.exe.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard Internet protocol for transmitting files between computers on the Internet.
  • Firewall  – Specialized hardware or software designed to prevent unrestricted or unauthorized access into or out of a computer or network.
  • Floppy disk – A cheap, removable disk used for storing or transferring information. It is floppy (soft) because it is plastic. (Now virtually obsolete.) See hard disk.
  • Floppy drive – The device used to run a floppy disk (usually drive “A”.) (Now virtually obsolete.)
  • Folder (directory) – A sub-division of a computer’s hard disk into which you put files.
  • Font – A particular sort of lettering (on the screen or on paper). Arial is a font. Times New Roman is another.
  • Format – All hard disks and floppy disks have to be electronically prepared for use by a process called formatting. Hard disks are pre-formatted by the computer manufacturer. If you buy a floppy disk that is not pre-formatted, you format it yourself, using a program that comes with your PC.
  • Graphics card – The equipment inside a computer that creates the image on the screen.
  • Hard disk – The main disk inside a computer used for storing programs and information. It is hard because it is metal. See floppy disk.
  • Hardware  -The physical equipment or touchable parts of a computer system, the CPU(central processing unit),  the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, the external
    speakers, the scanner, the printer, etc,
  • Hit – A visit to a website.
  • Home page -The main page or opening page that appears when you visit a web site.  It usually contains links to the other pages.
  • Host -For companies or individuals with a Web site, a host is a computer with a Web server that serves the pages for one or more Web sites. A host can also be the company that provides that service, which is known as hosting.
  • Hotspot – An area that has an available wireless signal for Internet access (usually public).
  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) – Is the set of rules for transferring files (text, graphic images, sound, video, and other multimedia files) on the World Wide Web.
  • Icon – A small image or picture on a computer screen that is a symbol for folders, disks, peripherals, programs etc.
  • Internet – International network of computers that you connect to by telephone line. Two popular services of the Internet are the World Wide Web and electronic mail.
  • Internet Protocol (IP) -A set of rules to send and receive messages at the Internet address level.
  • iPad – a tablet computer created by Apple.
  • Kb, Mb, Gb – Kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes. Used to measure computer memory and storage.
  • Kindle – A device for downloading and reading ebooks, developed by
  • Login  – Process by which a user enters a name and password to access a computer.
  • Memory – Memory is for the temporary storing of information while a computer is being used. See RAM, ROM and Cache.
  • MHz – Megahertz. This describes the speed of computer equipment. The higher the MHz the better the performance.
  • Modem – Equipment connected to a computer for sending/receiving digital information by telephone line. You may need a modem to connect to the Internet, to send electronic mail and to fax.
  • Notebook – A notebook computer; a laptop computer; a folding, portable computer.
  • Operating system (OS) – The basic software that manages a computer (for example, Windows 7, OS X, Unix, iOS).
  • OCR – Optical Character Recognition. OCR lets a PC read a fax or scanned image and convert it to actual lettering.
  • Palmtop – A computer that is small enough to sit on the palm of the hand.
  • Parallel port – A socket at the back of a computer for connecting external equipment or peripherals, especially printers.
  • PC card – A device that is the same size as a thick credit card, for plugging into a slot on notebook computers. You can buy memory, modems and hard disks as PC cards.
  • PDA – abbreviation of “personal digital assistant”.
  • Peripheral – Any equipment that is connected externally to a computer. For example, printers, scanners and modems are peripherals.
  • Pixel – The image that you see on the screen is made of thousands of tiny dots, points or pixels.
  • Portal – A website that acts as a gateway or entry point to the internet (for example, Yahoo).  Typically, a portal offers a search engine and links to other sites grouped into
    categories,  as well as news or other services.
  • Program – Software that operates a PC and does various things, such as writing text (word-processing program), keeping accounts (accounts program) and drawing pictures (graphics program).
  • Protocol -A protocol is the special set of rules that end points in a telecommunication connection use when they communicate.
  • Provider  – Company that provides access to the Internet.
  • QWERTY – The first 6 letters on English-language keyboards are Q-W-E-R-T-Y. The first 6 letters on French-language keyboards are A-Z-E-R-T-Y.
  • RAM, ROM – Two types of memory. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the main memory used while the PC is working. RAM is temporary. ROM (Read Only Memory) is for information needed by the PC and cannot be changed.
  • Resolution – The number of dots or pixels per inch (sometimes per centimetre) used to create the screen image.
  • Scanner – Equipment for converting paper documents to electronic documents that can be used by a computer.
  • Serial port – Socket at the back of a PC for connecting peripherals (obsolescent).
  • Smartphone – A mobile phone that includes a palmtop computer or PDA and also gives access to Internet and email.
  • Spam -Unwanted, irrelevant or inappropriate e-mail messages, especially commercial
    advertising.   Also referred to as “junk e-mail”.
  • Spyware -Software that collects information, without your knowledge, about your web-surfing habits and uses it for marketing purposes.  Very often contained in free downloads or shareware programs.
  • Tablet – A tablet computer; a mobile computer consisting of a screen only, and controlled by touching the screen.
  • TFT – Thin Film Transistor, a type of high quality screen for notebook computers.
  • Trojan  -A Trojan is a computer program that is hidden in a useful software application and actually used  to gain access to your computer. It then performs malicious actions
    such as displaying messages or erasing files. Trojans may be found in a hacked  legitimate program or in free software .
  • USB – Abbreviation of “universal serial bus”; a standardized connection for attaching devices to computers etc.
  • USB flash drive – A small, external device for storing data; it connects through the USB socket.
  • Videoconference   -Interactive, audiovisual meeting between two or more people in different geographic locations using two-way video technology.
  • Virus – A small, unauthorized program that can damage a PC.
  • Web server -A Web server is a program that, using the client/server model and the World Wide Web’s Hypertext Transfer Protocol ( HTTP ), serves the files that form Web pages to Web users (whose computers contain HTTP clients that forward their requests).
  • Wi-Fi – A system for communicating without wires over a computer network.
  • Windows – An operating system used by the majority of PCs.
  • World Wide Web  (WWW) – WWW are initials that stand for World Wide Web. The Web is one of the services available on the Internet. It lets you access millions of pages through a system of links. Because it is “world-wide”, it was originally called the World Wide Web or WWW.
  • Worm -A computer worm is a self-replicating computer program, similar to a computer virus. It infects additional computers (typically by making use of network connections),
    often clogging networks and information systems as it spreads.
  • WYSIWIG – “What You See Is What You Get.” With a WYSIWIG program, if you print a document it looks the same on paper as it looks on the screen.
  • Zip -To zip a file is to compress it so that it occupies less space in storage
    and can be transferred quickly over the Internet.


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