Computer Terms Everyone Should Know
Address Bar/Web Address/URL
The Address Bar is the space in the browser where you type the Web Address (URL) of the Web site you want to visit. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator.
In a computer network, the bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another and is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).
A bit is the most basic unit of binary information and is expressed as a 0 or 1. Bit stands for "binary digit." A byte is a collection of 8 bits. A kilobyte (K) is 1000 (actually 1024) bytes; a megabyte (MB) is 1000 (1024) kilobytes.
A browser is a program that provides a way to look at and interact with all the information on the World Wide Web (e.g. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox)
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. The browser itself is a client in its relationship with the computer that is getting and returning the requested HTML file. The computer handling the request and sending back the HTML file is a server.
Common file types
DOC (or DOCX), XLS (or XLSX), JPG, GIF, MPG, AVI, MOV, BMP, PDF, TXT, HTML, MP3, WAV, EXE, ZIP. Certain file types are opened by a specific program (or types of programs). If you cannot open a file, you do not have the appropriate program. You may be able to download a “viewer” if you only want to view the file; to work with the file, you will probably need to purchase the program. If you are unsure what program created a given file type, search the file extension (e.g. JPG) on the internet.
A cookie is information that a Web site puts on your hard disk so that it can remember something about you at a later time.
A database is a collection of information that is organized so that it can easily be accessed, managed, and updated.
A temporary window on the screen that contains a set of choices whenever the executing program needs to collect information from the user.
A file that tells the computer how to communicate with another piece of equipment (device), like a
A firewall is a piece of computer software or hardware that restricts the data that is allowed to flow through. A firewall is used to prevent undesired traffic from an internet connection.
The device inside a computer on which all of the files are stored. This data storage is not to be confused with the computer memory (RAM), which stored smaller amounts of data for quick retrieval and is erased when you turn off your computer. Files stored on your hard drive persists even after the computer is shut down.
Your computer's "internet protocol" address an numeric code that identifies every device (computer, phone, etc.) connected to the internet. A typical IP adress looks like "192.168.1.100."
Internet Service Provider. This is the company that supplies the Internet connection to your home or office.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. The memory in your computer is used to store information that the computer needs to be able to retrieve quickly. Data stored in memory is erased when the computer is turned off. Memory is not to be confused with storage which is provided by the hard drive. Increasing the amount of memory in your computer can often improve performance.
A menu bar is (usually) a horizontal list of application function categories (e.g. File, Edit, View) usually located at the top of an application screen. Clicking the category name will open a menu of accessible functions.
A modem is a device that connects the signal from your Internet Service Provider to your computer. A router is a device that allows your Internet connection to be distributed to multiple computers. Some devices combine both functions in one physical unit.
An operating system (sometimes abbreviated as "OS") is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer.
The smallest element of an image as displayed on a television or computer screen.
The term application is a shorter form of application program. An application program is a program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or, in some cases, for another application program. Examples of applications include word processors, database programs, Web browsers, development tools, drawing, paint, image editing programs, and communication programs.
Switching a computer, router, etc. off and on for the purpose of letting its operating system and software to reload.
The resolution of a computer display is the number of individual pixels displayed in each dimension (width and height). For example, a screen with a resolution of 1024x768 displays 1,024 pixels from left to right and 768 pixels from top to bottom.
A shortcut is a computer desktop icon that enables a user to easily see and select a particular program or data object. The operating system comes with some shortcuts already visible on the desktop. A user can remove these or add new ones. Deleting a shortcut does not delete the program it starts; it just removes the shortcut link to that program.
A spreadsheet is a sheet of paper that shows accounting or other data in rows and columns; a spreadsheet is also a computer application program that simulates a physical spreadsheet by capturing, displaying, and manipulating data arranged in rows and columns.
The taskbar is the bar at the bottom of the Windows screen that contains the Start button, address bar, notification area and other toolbars.
A toolbar is a row or column of selectable image buttons that can be used to easily access certain application functions. If you don’t understand the meaning of a button icon, you can usually move your mouse over the button to find out its function. The toolbar(s) is usually located at the top of the program window. Also, many toolbars can be customized, so the user can add or remove buttons based on the user’s needs. Additionally, many programs offer a variety of toolbars that the user can turn on (or off) as needed.
A word processor is a computer program that provides special capabilities beyond that of a simple text editor.