the physical components, both internal and external, that make up a computer
any program loaded on the computer to perform a specific function
basic input output system (BIOS)
Program stored in a ROM chip in the computer that provides the basic code to control the computers hardware and to perform diagnositics on it. The BIOS prepares the computer to load the operating system.
instructions (software) permanently stored on a memory chip (hardware)
a program, such as a word processor, that is stored on the hard disk of the computer
a program that is designed to run over a network like the Internet
largest global internetwork that connects tens of thousands of networks worldwide
large centralized computer found in sizeable enterprises and purchased through specialized retailers
high-performance computer used in businesses and other organizations to provide services to many end users of clients
software running in the background that provides information and resources to clients
personal computer (PC)
generic term for any computer used by a single user. Also refers to IBM-compatible, Windows based computer
a PC that is participating in a networked environment. The term has also been used to refer to high end computer systems for end users. (like a CAD workstation)
small form factor computer designed to be mobile, but operates much the same as a desktop computer
A type of small laptop type computer that usually has many of the same capabilities as a desktop computer
a type of notebook computer with both a keyboard and an interactive LCD screen able to convert handwritten text into digitized text
small PC that can perform many functions of a regular PC. Usually contains a keyboard, display & RAM but no disk storage.
personal digital assistant (PDA)
standalone handheld device with computing and communicating abilities
telephone that uses cellular wireless technologies to communicate
Digital signals that are typically expressed as 1 or 0. A numbering system used in computers that is based on two values (0 & 1)
The smallest unit of data in a computer. A bit can take a value of 0 or 1. A bit is the binary format in which data can be processed by computers. A bit is also known as a binary digit.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)
8-bit code for character representation (7 bits plus parity). Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number from 0-127.
A group of 8 bits; each byte is used to represent a single character using extended ASCII.
Modulator-remodulator. Device that modulates or converts digital computer signals into a format that is sent and received over an analog phone line. The receiving modem demodulates that analog signal, converting it back to digital for the receiving computer.
A distinct point of light displayed on a monitor or captured by a digital camera.
A measurement of how fast something cycles or refreshes. One hertz represents one cycle per second.
A large circuit board used to connect the electronics and circuitry required for the computer to function.
central processing unit (CPU)
processor; the component that processes all the data within the machine
A type of data storage medium used in computers to store programs and data while they are being processed by the CPU
A circuit board installed in a computer or networking device that provides an interface to another device or network. Common examples include a video card or an NIC (Network Interface Card)
Accelerated Graphic Port (AGP)
Dedicated high-speed bus that supports the high demands of graphical software. This slot is reserved for video cards only.
hard disk drive (HDD)
or hard drives; that main storage medium found in almost all computers. Typically these are internal components attached to the motherboard.
floppy disk drive (FDD)
or floppy drives; they store data on a removable plastic disk
used to back up information for archival or disaster recovery purposes. They are often found on file servers but not normally on home computers.
another form of DVD drive that uses blue-violet laser to read and write data.
refers to any type of memory found in flash or USB drives
USB memory keys
flash drives; a portable USB storage device that uses flash memory and can take the place of other types of removable media, such as a floppy disk.
a device that is added to a computer to expand its capabilities, like a mouse or a printer
holds and protects the internal computer components
converts the wall outlet power source to the low voltage required by the components
removes voltage spikes and surges from the power line and prevents them from damaging the computer
uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
a device that continually monitors the power to a computer system and maintains the charge on an internal battery
Ability to remove, replace and add peripherals while a system is running.
electrostatic discharge (ESD)
static electricity that can be transferred from your body to electronic components in the computer
failures that make components non-functional
connects a technician to the computer case ensuring they both reach the same voltage potential and preventing ESD
a specialized piece of software that certain components require to function
Components such as system memory, cache memory, hard disk space, IRQs and DMA channels used to manage applications.
Universal Serial Bus (USB)
An external serial bus interface standard for the connection of multiple peripheral devices.
Technology that allows a computer to automatically configure the devices that connect to it.