Basic Computer Terms

Software     – Instructions executed by a computer –

Applications- Complete, self-contained programs that perform a specific function (ie. spreadsheets, databases)

Boot- The process of loading or initializing an operating system on a computer; usually occurs as soon as a computer is turned on

Browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave)- A program used to view website files much like a word processor allows you to view document files

Bug- A part of a program that usually causes the computer to malfunction; often remedied in patches or updates to the program

Click- Occurs when a user presses a button on a mouse which in turn, generates a command to the computer

Database- An index that compares files in the form of tables that contain numerous records and fields

Desktop- The first screen you come to when starting the computer where the icons live

Double Click- Occurs when a user presses a button on the mouse twice in quick succession; this opens a program or file.

Download- Transferring data from another computer (usually the internet) to your computer

Drag- Occurs when a user points the mouse at an icon or folder, presses the button and WITHOUT releasing the button, moves the icon or folder to another place on the computer where the button is released (drop)

Driver- Software program that controls a piece of hardware(keyboard, speakers, display, usb’s, or any extra devices)

FAQ- Frequently asked question; documents that answer questions common to a particular website or program

File- Namable unit of data storage; an element of data storage; a single sequence of information

Folder- A graphical representation used to organize a collection of computer files; as in the concept of a filing cabinet (computer’s hard drive) with folders containing “files”

Freeware- Software provided at no cost to the user

GUI- Graphical user interface; all the things you can click on a computer. Buttons, Icons, Files, Browsers, Desktop, Taskbar

Icon- A small picture used to open a file or program on the desktop

Internet- A network of computer networks encompassing the World Wide Web, email, and voice protocols

IP number- Internet protocol; a computer’s unique address or number on the Internet

Memory- Any device that holds computer data (Hard Drive for permanent storage or RAM for working memory)

Menu- A list of options available to the user of a program

Network- A collection of computers or devices that are connected

Peripheral- Any of a number of hardware devices connected to a computer.

RAM- Random access memory; when the computer is turned off, the RAM memory is erased

ROM(Hard Drive, USB drive, External backup)- Read-only memory; the type of storage that is permanent.

Scroll Bar- slider arrows on the side or bottom/top of a page that allow the user to view parts of the document not visible on the screen

Spreadsheet- A program arranged in rows and columns that manipulates numbers

Tab- a way to switch between pages of information either on a website or

Task Bar- A graphical representation of program activities; a row of icons used to perform tasks in a program

URL- Uniform resource locator; the address of a site on the internet; a standard way of locating websites

Virus- A deliberately harmful computer program designed to create annoying glitches or destroy data

Window- A screen in a software program that permits the user to view several programs at one time

Word Processor- A program that allows the user to create primarily text documents

Hardware     – The physical parts of a computer –

CPU- Central processing unit; the brain of the computer; controls the other elements of the computer

Disk Drive- A peripheral device that reads and/or writes information on a disk

Hard Drive- A device (usually within the computer case) that reads and writes information, including the operating system, program files, and data files

Keyboard- A peripheral used to input data by pressing keys

Modem- A peripheral device used to connect one computer to another over a phone line

Monitor- A device used to display information visually

Mouse- A peripheral device used to point to items on a monitor

NIC- Network interface card; a board inserted in a computer that provides a physical connection to a network

Printer- A peripheral device that converts output from a computer into a printed image