Basic Computer Terms

  • Bit - A binary unit of data storage that can only be a value of 0 or 1.
  • BIOS - BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System and it is a low level program used by your system to interface to computer devices such as your video card, keyboard, mouse, hard drive, and other devices.
  • Boot - A term used to describe what happens to a computer when it is turned on, the operating system begins to run, and then the user is able to use the computer successfully.
  • Byte - 8 bits of data which has a possible value from 0 to 255.
  • CD-ROM disk - A disk with about 640Mb of storage capacity which are more commonly read than written to.
  • CD-ROM drive - The hardware component that is used to read a CD-ROM or write to it.
  • Crash - A common term used to describe what happens to a computer when software errors force it to quit operating and become unresponsive to a computer user.
  • Driver - A specially written program which understands the operation of the device it interfaces to, such as a printer, video card, sound card or CD ROM drive. It provides an interface for the operating system to use the device.
  • File - A collection of data into a permanent storage structure. Stored on a permanent storage media such as a computer hard drive.
  • Firmware - Software written into permanant storage into the computer.
  • Floppy disk - A low capacity storage media which can be written to as easily as it is read.
  • Floppy Drive - The hardware component that is used to read or write to a floppy disk.
  • Hardware - Describes the physical parts of your computer which you can physically touch or see such as your monitor, case, disk drives, microprocessor and other physical parts.
  • Internet - A network of networks which incorporate a many organizations, physical lines, the ability to route data, and many services including email and web browsing.
  • ISP - Internet Service Provider is an organization that provides the ability to connect to the internet for their customers. They also usually provide additional services such as e-mail and the ability to host web sites.
  • MIME - multipurpose internet mail extension
  • Memory - Used to provide the temporary storage of information function.
  • Network - A general term describing to the cables and electronic components that carry data between computers. It is also generally used to refer to the server computers that provide services such as printing, file sharing, e-mail, and other services.
  • Operating System - The core software component of a computer providing the ability to interface to peripheral and external devices along with program functions to support appllication programs.
  • Parallel - A data transmission method where data is sent on more than one line at a time. This may be any number of bits at a time, but is usually one word at a time (two bytes) or possibly three bytes at a time.
  • Protocols - A standard method used for communications or other internet and network functions.
  • Security flaw - A software bug allowing an attacker a method to gain anauthorized access to a system.
  • Serial - A data transmission method where data is sent on a single line and one bit is sent at at a time. This is similar to a line which one item must come one after another
  • Software - Describes the programs that run on your system.
  • SPAM - A term used to describe junk and unsolicited e-mail.
  • Storage Media - A term used to describe any magnetic device that computer data can be permanently stored on such as a hard drive or floppy drive.
  • URL - Uniform Resource Locator is the term used to describe a link which points to a location of a file on the internet.
  • Virus - A program that runs on a system against the owner's or user's wishes and knowledge and can spread by infecting files or sending itself through e-mail
  • Vulnerablity - Software errors that allow some kind of unauthorized access when they are used or exploited.
  • Word - Two bytes or 16 bits of data with a possible unsigned value from 0 to 16535.
  • Worm - A term used to describe an unwanted program that uses system or application vulnerabilities to infect a computer without the user doing anything but connecting to an infected network.
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