Electrical interference from one device to another,resulting in poor performance of the device being interfered with.
electrostatic discharge (ESD)
Movement of electrons from one body to another.
radio frequency interference (RFI)
Another form of electrical interference caused by radio-wave emitting devices, such as cell phones,wireless network cards, and microwave ovens.
Any material or device that impedes the flow of electrons. Electronic resistors measure their resistance (impedance) in ohms. See ohm(s).
central processing unit
Brain of the computer. Microprocessor that handles primary calculations for the computer.
Small receptacle used to attach cables to a system. Common types of connectors include USB, PS/2, and DB-25.
D-shaped connectors used for a variety of connections in the PC and networking world. Can be male (with prongs) or female (with holes) and have a varying number of pins or sockets.
digital video interface (DVI)
Special video connector designed for digital-to-digital connections; most commonly seen on PC video cards and LCD monitors.
Serial ATA-based connector for external hard drives and optical drives.
Part of the motherboard that enables users to add optional components to a system.
Interconnection standard to send wide-band signals over a serialized, physically thin connector system;enables connection of 63 devices at speeds up to 800 megabits per second.
Data-recording system using solid disks of magnetic material turning at high speeds to store and retrieve programs and data in a computer.
Hi-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)
Single multimedia connection that includes both highdefinition video and audio. Also contains copy protection features.
Any hardware that may be attached to or removed from a PC without interrupting the PC's normal processing.
(Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers) Leading standards-setting group in the United States.
Part of a connector into which a plug is inserted. Also referred to as port.
Brain of a computer. Primary computer chip that determines relative speed and capabilities of the computer. Also called CPU.
(modulator/demodulator) Device that converts adigital bit stream into an analog signal (modulation) and converts incoming analog signals back into digital signals (demodulation).
Flat piece of circuit board that resides inside your computer case and has a number of connectors on it. You can use these connectors to attach a variety of devices to your system, including hard drives, CDROM drives, floppy disk drives, and sound cards.
network interface card (NIC)
Expansion card that enables a PC to physically link to a network.
Drive used to read/write to optical discs, such as CDs or DVDs.
Connection for the synchronous, high speed flow of data along parallel lines to a device, usually a printer.
An external device that connects to the system unit.
Hardware connection with physical projection that connects to a port.
(1) In networking, the number used to identify the requested service (such as SMTP or FTP) when connecting to a TCP/IP host.
(2) Physical connection: Part of a connector into which a plug is inserted. Physical ports are also referred to as jacks.
Provides the electrical power for a PC. Converts standard AC power into various voltages of DC electricity in a PC.
Series of binary electronic commands sent to a CPU to get work done.
random access memory (RAM)
Memory that can be accessed at random; that is, which you can write to or read from without touching the preceding address. This term is often used to mean a computer’s main memory.
Common connector on a PC. Connects input devices (such as a mouse) or communications devices (such as a modem).
Main component of the PC, in which the CPU, RAM, CD-ROM, and hard drive reside. All other devices-the keyboard, mouse, and monitor-connect to the system unit.
Pointing device distinguished by a ball that is rolled with the fingers.
universal serial bus (USB)
General-purpose serial interconnect for keyboards, printers, joysticks, and many other devices. Enables hot-swapping devices.
Process of confirming that an installed copy of a Microsoft product (most commonly Windows or a Microsoft Office application) is legitimate. Usually done at the end of software installation.
Group of Control Panel applets, including Computer Management, Event Viewer, and Reliability and Performance Monitor.
Windows Aero is the graphical user interface and the default theme in most editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, operating systems. Its name is an acronym for Authentic, Energetic, reflective and Open. It includes window transparency and Flip 3D.
Generic term for a program in the Windows Control Panel.