Computer Vocabulary

application n. a program designed for a specific task [eg: word processing, graphics etc] - also app (abbr.)
Have you downloaded any new smartphone apps lately?
back up phr. verb to send copied data to a secure location in case the original data is lost or corrupted - also n. backup
Don't forget to back up important files to an external hard drive or the cloud.
bit n. the basic binary unit for storing data in a computer, either 0 or 1 [binary digit] - see also byte
Data transfer speeds are measured in bits per second, so the higher the number of bits, the faster your downloads.
browser n. a program that lets you browse the Internet and access web pages - also web browser
Which is this year's most popular browser? Is it Firefox, Chrome or Safari?
byte n. 8 bits - kilobyte (approx. 1,000 bytes), megabyte (1 million), gigabyte (1 billion)
One byte can store enough data to generate one letter in a typical European alphabet.
cookie n. a small file installed by a website on a visitor's computer to record the visitor's activity
Aren't websites supposed to ask for permission before leaving cookies on your computer?
data n. information in digital form that a computer can process, store or use in some other way
These new laws will allow the government to access any of the personal data on your computer or smartphone.
file n. a set of related data that's saved with a file name to identify it
Text files don't use much memory, but video and music files can take up lots of memory.
hard disk, hard disk drive, HDD n. a spinning magnetic disk for storing permanent data, usually fixed inside a computer but sometimes an external device. Not to be confused with the newer solid state drive (SSD), which does the same job without moving parts.
You can't do anything on a computer if your hard disk isn't working.
hardware n. the physical, tangible parts of computers (such as motherboards, hard drives) and their peripherals (such as printers, modems) - see also software
Before buying software, make sure it's compatible with your hardware.
input n. data entered into a computer (by keyboard, mouse, touch screen, etc) - also v.
Even something as simple as pressing send after writing an email is a form of input.
keyboard n. the alphanumeric keys or buttons used to input data [can be a physical device or a touchscreen image]
I bought a keyboard in Thailand and it's got Thai characters on the keys as well as English.
memory n. part of a computer for storing data, either temporarily or permanently - see RAM
Can I upgrade the memory to 16 GB?
modem n. device that converts data to a form that allows a computer to connect to the Internet
The router's for your Wi-Fi network and the modem is for accessing the Internet.
operating system n. software that manages basic functions of computers, smartphones etc, such as running programs and linking with peripherals - abbr: OS
Android and iOS are operating systems widely used on phones, and Windows and macOS are the most popular for computers.
output n. information sent from a computer (to a printer, screen, speakers, etc) - also v.
Computer-generated audio output goes straight into the mixing desk.
peripheral n. equipment linked to a computer [eg: printer, scanner, modem, mouse etc]
Printers and other peripherals are much cheaper now than they used to be.
program n. coded software instructions designed for a specific task [eg: word processing, graphics etc]; application - also v.
If you can write programs and create apps, you'll always be able to get a job.
RAM abbr. random access memory [it goes away when you switch off]
The more programs your computer's running at one time, the more RAM it needs.
screen n. the flat surface on which a computer, TV or other device displays text, graphics, movies, etc
My kids spend too much time looking at TV screens, computer monitors and those little screens on their phones.
software n. the programs that allow a computer to operate and perform specific tasks - see also hardware
Be careful with free software. Some of it secretly collects your personal data, which is then sold to marketing companies.
virus n. a program that can infect a computer, replicate itself, and damage or destroy data
Antivirus software only finds viruses it knows about, so you have to update it to catch any new ones.

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