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Different kinds of programs (applications) that come with Windows.
Active Task Button
A task button located on the taskbar that
appears to be pressed.
The window whose title bar is highlighted,
indicating it is currently being used.
One of the first, if not the first, personal computers, the
8800 has gone down in computing history, as has Ed Roberts, its
The same as program.
A computer program that performs a
specific task, such as word processing.
ASCII (pronounced ASK-key) stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange,
otherwise known as "plain text". ASCII is a standard method of describing text
characters. "Text-only" files can be read by just about any
A file type that has been identified as belonging to a certain program, such as .TXT with Notepad, .BMP with Paint, or .DOC with
The number of bits (binary digits) a
computer can send per second.
Bulletin Board System, an electronic bulletin board where users can leave messages. Many
BBSs are on a membership basis.
A pre-release, often buggy, version of software. Frequently available for downloading
on the Web.
Basic input/output system, a set of instructions in the ROM of most
computer components that controls the transfer data in and out.
The smallest amount of information that can be transmitted. A combination of bits can
indicate an alphabetic character, a numeric digit, or perform signaling, switching or
Starting your computer by turning on the power.
The edge of a window is called the border. You can resize a window
by clicking and dragging the border.
Bits per second. The measure of a modem's speed.
Application software that gives you a
graphical interactive interface or searching, finding, viewing and managing information
over a network.
An error, as in a computer program, but this
word usage predates computers.
A collection of wires over which the computer sends
A unit of information that corresponds to a
character; eight bits.
Temporary memory areas that help your computer or
peripheral process information.
A hardware circuit board (often inside the system
unit) which lets you add other capabilities to your computer.
To resize and layer windows on the desktop so
each title bar is visible.
A menu that opens when you highlight a menu item that is followed by a
A term used to describe real-time conferencing. IRC, WebChat, Prodigy and AOL chat rooms
are all examples of chat.
The act of pushing down and releasing the mouse button.
A remote computer connected to a host or server
computer. Also refers to the software that makes this possible.
Clone or Compatible
A computer that is similar to the IBM PCs.
A command that lets you leave a Windows program.
A button (an "X") located at the right end of the title bar
that you click to close a window.
A point-to-point dedicated or switched communication path.
A folder that combines the commands, control
and configuration functions for Windows 95/98.
Central Processing Unit (a microprocessor) attached to motherboard. The part of the computer that does most of the data
An organized collection of information.
Storing data in a format that requires less
space than usual. Backup programs, communications programs, and graphic
file formats (such as JPG) are typical uses of data
compression. Zip is kind of compression for groups of
files. Some data compression is "lossy compression."
A file that consists of data that has been created in a program, such as a text file typed in Notepad.
The standard setting in a program.
The opening screen in Windows that contains a few objects, the Start button and the taskbar.
A special kind of window that asks you a question or presents
controls that you can choose from.
A command that cannot be used in the current situation; it is displayed in gray instead of
The term seldom used in Windows 95/98. "Folder"
has replaced this term.
The permanent storage area for your programs and documents.
Hardware capable of reading and writing data stored on a disk.
Any data file you create with a program.
Disk Operating System, a text command operating system.
Dots Per Inch, a unit of measure describing printer resolution.
Pressing and releasing the left-mouse button two times in quick succession (without moving
the mouse between clicks).
To transfer programs or data from a computer to a connected device,
usually from a server to a personal computer.
Move the pointer on an item, hold down the left button, slide the pointer to a new
location, and release the button.
A program that tells another program how to communicate with and
control a peripheral, such as a printer. A device driver allows the operating
system to work with a specific peripheral.
Digital Versatile Disc, the latest compact disc storage media. Holds much more than a
Also known as "smileys." Emoticons are sequences of ASCII text that communicate emotion in e-mail and newsgroups. For
example, : ) means happy, and : ( means sad. A few of these go a long way.
The Windows program that you can use to
explore your disks.
Frequently Asked Questions. A list of frequently asked questions and answers about a given
topic, very common in newsgroups.
A named collection of information stored on a disk.
The name assigned to a collection of data that is stored on a disk.
The optional "period" and up to three characters at the end of a filename.
A computer that provides access to files for remote users (clients). (See server.)
A program that helps you locate files and folders by entering search criteria.
Nasty or abusive e-mail or newsgroup postings. A "flame war" is
a usually hot-tempered argument that never seems to end.
is a set of related programs that protects the
resources of a private network from users from
other networks. Simple firewalls are also available for home users to
protect them when they are connected to the Internet.
We strongly recommend the use of one of these "personal
firewalls", such as ZoneAlarm Pro.
An object that holds files and/or other folders that are stored on disk. Folders have traditionally been called "directories".
A window that displays the contents of a folder.
To format a disk means to make it usable for storing information.
Software that is given away at no charge. You can
often download this software on the Web.
The Frontside Bus (FSB) within a microprocessor that connects the CPU with main memory. It's used to communicate
between the motherboard and other components. A backside bus
connects the CPU to a Level 2 cache.
File Transfer Protocol, a protocol used to provide file transfers
across a wide variety of systems.
Co-Founder of Microsoft. One of the world's richest men.
Graphics Interchange Format (created by Steve Wilhite), a standard format for image files on the WWW. The GIF file format is popular because it uses a compression method
to make files smaller. Originally
by the format's creator, it is now also pronounced with
a hard "g" sound as in "gift". Many, except maybe the
creator, consider both
pronunciations correct. Because GIF is limited to 256 colors, it is
more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color
Roughly a billion bytes or characters. Abbreviated G
Graphical User Interface, used to describe Windows and other programs that use pictures to help you interact with the computer.
Invented by Xerox
Corporation. Some people pronounce this "goo-ey". We are not among them.
A large capacity storage area that offers fast access to information.
The physical parts of your computer, as opposed to software.
A system of things ranked one above the other, used to describe the multilevel structure
of folders and subfolders on a disk.
To select something by clicking or dragging with the mouse. Once
selected, an item usually turns a different color or becomes outlined.
Hypertext Markup Language. A simple language of keywords used to create World
Wide Web pages that is then interpreted by the user's browser.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the method by which documents are
transferred from the host computer or server to browsers
and individual users.
Connections between one piece of information and another.
Abbreviation for hertz, the number of cycles per second, used to measure clock speed. (See
A graphic picture that represents a program,
command, data file or a concept in a graphical user interface (GUI).
A buzz word. Refers to the Clinton/Gore administration plan to deregulate communication
services allowing for the integration of all aspects of the Internet,
CATV, telephone, business, entertainment, information providers, education, etc.
The Internet (or "Net") is a network of linked computer networks
that enables data communication services such as World Wide Web, file
transfer, electronic mail, and newsgroups.
Internet Protocol, defines the unit of
information passed between systems that provide a basis packet delivery service.
The Internet protocol address which is a 32-bit address assigned
to a host. The IP address has a host component and a network
Integrated Services Digital Network, set of standards for high-speed transmission of
simultaneous voice, data and video information over fewer channels than would otherwise be
needed, through the use of out-of-band signaling.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (pronounced JAY-peg), a popular method used to compress
photographic images. Many web browsers accept
JPEG images as a standard file format for viewing.
Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, it is
a lossy compression
technique for color images, so some detail is lost in the compression.
A small arrow that appears in the lower-left corner of shortcut icons
to distinguish them from other icons.
Abbreviation of kilobyte (also K). One KB is 1, 024 bytes.
Abbreviation for Local Area Network, typically a network of
computers within the same building.
A term used to mean start a program. Interchangeable with
This is a data compression technique in which
some amount of data is lost. The attempt is made to
eliminate redundant information. Most video compression technologies, such
as MPEG, use a lossy technique.
The button in the middle of three button at the right end of the title
bar which enlarges the window to its greatest possible size.
Abbreviation for megabyte. One MB is approximately one million bytes.
Information storage and distribution format. (e.g. video tape, floppy disk,
optical disc, print, etc.) The extensions of mankind's ability to communicate.
Chips attached to motherboard; the computer's temporary work area (RAM).
A list of items form which you may choose.
The bar located under the title bar that list the available menus.
MP3 is the file extension for MPEG, audio layer 3.
Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for
the compression of audio signals. Because MP3 files are small, they can be
more easily transferred across the Internet than
other audio formats.
Short for Moving Picture Experts Group
(pronounced m-peg), the term also refers to the family of digital
video compression standards and file formats developed by the group. MPEG
generally produces better-quality video images than competing formats.
Abbreviation for megahertz, or millions of cycles per second.
Silicon chip that powers computers (see CPU).
A button located at the right side of the title bar that you can
click to reduce a window to a task button on the
Hardware device that permits the computer to send and receive data
via phone lines.
The computer's visual output device, similar to a television.
The system unit circuit board that contains the microprocessor, memory and other chips.
Device that moves the onscreen pointer by spinning a rubber trackball. Invented by
Engelbart at SRI.
The ability of an operating system to run more than one program at one time, that is, to juggle tasks.
A program, the obvious, quick way to the files
and folders on your Windows computer.
The rules of conduct for interacting on the Internet.
A collection of computers connected together by some means, such as cables or satellite.
A new user of the Internet. Newbie can be used as either a neutral
or derogatory term.
A general term for "item" or "element", typically referring to an icon.
Being connected, usually through modem and phone line, to another
Special software that runs when the computer is first turned on.
Manages communication between your hardware and software.
A connector through which a computer communicates with a peripheral along
parallel wires. Printers are the most common peripheral to use parallel ports.
The route to a folder or file; it consists of
the disk drive name, a folder and/or subfolder (if any), and the filename.
A personal computer, or an IBM compatible computer.
A "picture element" or dot that the monitor can display
to create the image you see.
A specialized program that adds functionality to a Web browser. Often downloadable
The arrow-shaped cursor on the screen that moves when you move the mouse.
A type of window that appears on top of (over) the window of a Web site
that a user has visited. (There are also Pop-Under ads.) A pop-up ad
covers other windows, particularly the window that the user is trying to
read. Pop-ups ads are used extensively in advertising on the Web. Pop-up
blocking programs are available to stop this annoying practice.
Point to Point Protocol, dial-up Internet connection speaking in
TCP/IP protocol, somewhat faster than SLIP.
Software that allows an application
program to use your printer.
A set of instructions that tells the computer what to do. See software.
A characteristic of an object (such as an icon); many properties can
be changed by selecting the Properties dialog box.
A specification that describes how computers will talk to each other on a network.
Random Access Memory, the computer's electronic memory; your work
The computer term for restarting your computer.
The number of pixels the monitor can use to display an image, or
dots your printer can print.
The button in the middle of three buttons located at the right end of the title
bar on a maximized window; it returns the window to its previous
size and location.
Quickly press and release the right mouse button.
An easy-to-use menu that opens when you right-click an object. Also
called a "shortcut menu", "object menu" or "context menu."
A mouse action in which you move the pointer on an item, hold down
the right mouse button, drag the pointer to a new location, and release the right mouse
Read Only Memory, the computer's pre-programmed memory.
The command that saves changes to a previously named document.
A command that opens a dialog box that permits you to save a new
(unnamed) document or rename a previously saved one.
The arrows at each end of the scroll bar, used to scroll through the contents of the window.
A bar that appears at the right and/or bottom edge of a window whose
contents are not completely visible; termed "horizontal" and
"vertical" scroll bars.
The box in a scroll bar that shows the position of the information displayed in relation
to the entire document, and the size of the document in relation to the
A network computer to which users can connect to receive services
such as file sharing.
Copyrighted software that's free for trial usage,
a very popular format on the Web. If you like and continue to use the program, you are usually legally obligated to pay a fee or at least
register your copy with the author. Otherwise, you're expected to delete it from your
computer. Sometimes the program will be crippled in some way or will stop functioning
after a certain length of time if not registered. This is in contrast to Freeware, which, as the name implies, is totally without cost.
A filename that is no longer than eight characters, and a three
An icon containing a direct route to a specific object (usually a program, data file or disk)
which displays a small jump-arrow in the lower-left corner.
Another name for the right-click menu.
An area in the bottom right corner of a window that can be sized; it
is used to size windows. You can, however, size a window from any
Computer programs written to perform specific tasks, such as a word processor or spreadsheet.
To send identical and irrelevant messages to many different people, or (as a
noun) the mail itself. Usually, but not
always, the message is an advertisement. The term comes from a skit by English comedy
group Monty Python in which every entree at a diner contained the
food product Spam. The
skit ended with a song in which the word "spam" was repeated endlessly.
Program that automates an accountant's worksheet.
A general term for a program that surreptitiously
monitors your actions. Spyware is programming that is put in someone's
computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to
advertisers or other interested parties. While they are sometimes
sinister, like a remote control program used by a hacker, other companies
frequently use spyware to gather data about customers. Many of Windows instabilities
can be traced to spyware that was secretly installed. Anti-Spyware
software is highly recommended.
The button at the left end of the taskbar that is labeled
"Start." Clicking the Start button opens the Start menu you
can use to launch programs.
The bar at the bottom of a program; it displays information about
A folder that is within another folder. Traditionally called a
The main part of your computer that contains the disk drives and motherboard.
A T1 line is a high-bandwidth telephone line with a transmission speed as
high as 1.544 megabits per second.
An open (but not necessarily active) program.
The bar on the desktop that let you quickly start and switch
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, the standard network communications protocol used to connect computer systems
across the Internet.
The process of exchanging information between computers over phone lines.
The horizontal bar at the top of a window that displays the window's
name. The window's name is usually the name of the program running
in the window.
A row of buttons that provide quick access to commonly used commands.
A malicious program that is disguised as something
benign. For example, you download what appears to
be a game or utility program, but when you click on it, you unleash a
dangerous program that erases your disk, sends your credit card numbers
and passwords to a stranger, or lets that stranger hijack your computer. Anti-Trojan
programs are highly recommended.
Universal Serial Bus
A bus standard -- becoming more common every day -- which allows IBM-compatible
computers to exchange data with peripheral devices at speeds up to 12 Mbps. Abbreviated
To decompress, or expand a file that has been made smaller using a
To transfer a file from one computer (usually a
smaller one -- a "client" ) to another computer (a larger
one, a server or "host" computer).
Uniform Resource Locator, the form of the site address that reveals the name of the server where the site's files are stored, the
file's directory path, and its filename.
A software program intentionally written to
disrupt your work. Anti-Virus software is highly recommended.
Pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart the computer or close an application
that is stuck.
The file extension used on some types of audio files.
The rectangular work area for a task, program, folder or document.
Graphical operating system by Microsoft designed to make computer easier
to use. It currently comes in several flavors: Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT. (See
A compression/decompression utility that lets Windows users make their files
smaller for faster transfer over the Internet. This utility also
decompresses files that were originally compressed using PKZIP or other formats.
A computer program that helps you create, change, format and print documents such as letters and reports.
A disk whose contents can be read by a disk drive,
but cannot be changed or erased.
World Wide Web (WWW)
Internet system for world-wide hypertext linking of multimedia documents, making the relationship of information that is common between
documents easily accessible and completely independent of physical location.
The Web is one part of the Internet, not the complete Internet.
A PC-based file(s) that has been compressed. See WinZip.
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