A Guide to Computer Repair Terminology

A definitive guide to the most used terms when discussing computer repairs

Adware is software that is designed to automatically play, display, or download ads, in exchange for access to a program without payment. Most adware is safe to use, but some adware can be spyware, which can be harmful to your computer.
Application & App
An application (often called “app” for short) is a program with a Graphic User Interface (GUI).
Boot refers to starting an Operating System (OS) up. Rebooting is the term used if the computer is already running.
A browser is the computer program used to view content and search the web.
A bug is the term used to designate a mistake in the design of software. Some severe “bugs” can cause a computer to crash.
A click refers to pressing the button on the mouse once; when the button is pressed twice quickly it is called a double-click.
The cursor is the point of attention on a computer screen, marked by a flashing line or. Any text typed into the computer will typically appear at the cursor.
A database is the collection of data, organized to make common retrievals of information more efficient.
A desktop computer is designed to sit in one position on or near a desk and to not be moved frequently.
A directory is a collection of files created to organize information and is also commonly called a “folder”. A directory is also itself a file, and so can contain other directories.
A disk is the spherical physical object used for storing data and does not lose data even if it loses power. It is always with a disk drive.
A drive is the device that stores and/or retrieves data. Some drives are capable of having new data written to them.Email
Email is electronic mail and it provides for the transfer of information from one computer to another, via a network.
A file is the term used for a unit of information stored on a computer.
Hardware refers to the physical parts of a computer and peripheral devices including printer, ipads, etc.
Hypertext allows users to link from any document to another document.
The Internet refers to the world-wide web (www) or network of computers. Sometimes referred to as the ‘net’, there is only one Internet, and it is typically capitalized.
A keyboard is the board of keys used to control a computer, along with a mouse. This peripheral device was originally based on the typewriter’s keyboard.
A laptop is a portable computer that can run on batteries or be plugged in.
Malware stands for “malicious software,” and refers to software programs that are designed to harm or do other unwanted actions on a computer system. Malware examples include spyware, viruses, spyware and Trojan horses.
Megahertz (MHz)
One megahertz is equivalent to 1000 kilohertz, or 1,000,000 hertz. Older Personal Computers typically measure the clock speed of the main processor in MHz.
Computer memory refers devices that can store data temporarily or permanently on a computer. of data on a computer.
The modem stands for Modulator / Demodulator and is the device that allows one computer to connect with a second computer and transfer data.
The monitor is the screen that is used for viewing the computer information.
A mouse is both the device that moves around to control the pointer or cursor on the screen, and the pointer itself.
A network is a group of computers that work together. It can also refer to the physical wire etc. connecting the computers.
OS is an abbreviation for Operating System and is the program that manages a computer’s resources.
PBX is an abbreviation for Private Branch Exchange and can provide voice services that include call forwarding, phone extensions and voicemail. A hosted PBX solution provides professional management of this business phone system.
PC is an acronym for personal computer and refers to any desktop, laptop, or notebook computer system.
A computer peripheral refers to any external device that can provide both input and output. Input peripherals include the mouse and keyboard. Examples of output peripherals include the monitor and printer.
A platform refers to a computer’s operating system and is used most often when referring to what kind of computer system a specified software program can run on.
A printer is hardware that prints out computer information onto paper.
The processor is also called a central processing unit (CPU) and is also referred to as the microprocessor. The processor runs all computations and is the part of the computer that runs the programs and works with the data. Some computers use more than one processor and are called “multiprocessors”.
A program refers to the series of instructions for a computer. Two other terms, “application” and “app”, have a similar meaning, although they generally have Graphic User Interfaces (GUI).
Spyware is software that literally “spies” on your computer to capture information including usernames, passwords, email content and browsing habits. Similar to viruses, spyware can be installed when an email attachment containing the malicious software is opened or if another program is installed that contains a spyware installer.
A user refers to the individual operator of a computer.
A computer virus is a malicious program or script that can move, create or erase files, consume your computer’s memory, and cause your computer to function incorrectly. Some viruses can travel across networks, attach to programs and even duplicate themselves. A common way to get infected by a computer virus is by opening an infected email attachment.
VoIP is an acronym for “Voice Over Internet Protocol”, and provides a telephone connection using the Internet. Instead of using analog telephone lines, voice data is sent digitally.
The World Wide Web (www) or “web” or Internet, as it sometimes called, primarily refers to all the publicly accessible documents on the Internet.