Basic Computer Terms


All basic computer terms used on my site are explained in this page and I have listed them alphabetically.

While organizing computer files into your electronic document storage facilities you may come across terms or acronyms that you are not familiar with or have forgotten their meaning.


Rather than explaining each term, every time that it appears in a page I decided to create a page in this basic computer training section where all those basic computer terms are explained.

This is that page!

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos


Backup Computer Files

Making a replicate of your computer files and folders and copying these to an external storage device. Visit my page on How to Backup Computer Files to see how this is done.


Bookmarks

A term used by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and some other web browsers to describe the list of links to the web pages that you save to a folder. See Favorites.


CD

The Compact Disc is an optical disk used to store digital data. The disk can hold up to 700 MB of data.


Close Windows

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos

This is the first of the basic computer terms dealing with handling of Microsoft Windows. Close the window by clicking on the “X”. You find this icon on the top right corner of all open windows. Indicated by the red arrow in the graphic on the right.


Collapse Folders

An action performed to hide all sub-branches of a computer folder. Go to my section on “Expanding and Collapsing Folders” in Computer File Management – Folders (Part 1) where this action is demonstrated.


Copy and Paste

The user-interface action for copying text, data, files or objects from a source to a destination. This is demonstrated in my section “Copying Folders to the External Hard Drive” in my page on How to Backup Computer Files.


Ctrl+(letter)

You can use shortcuts by pressing certain letters on your keyboard while holding down the “Ctrl” key. Here are some useful shortcuts for your spreadsheets, presentations and word processor programs:

  • Ctrl+A = Select all text in a document or all files in a folder
  • Ctrl+B = toggle bold text on and off
  • Ctrl+C = copy
  • Ctrl+I = toggle italics text on and off
  • Ctrl+N = opens a new document in your current application
  • Ctrl+P = opens the printer dialogue window
  • Ctrl+S = save
  • Ctrl+U = toggle underline text on and off
  • Ctrl+V = paste
  • Ctrl+W = close the current open window
  • Ctrl+X = cut


Cursor

An indicator in the form of a blinking vertical line displayed on your monitor normally adjacent to a text string. The cursor can be placed with the mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard.


Cut and Paste

The user-interface action for moving text, data, files or objects from a source to a destination. Similar to “Copy and Paste” with the exception that the information is automatically deleted at the source once it is moved to the destination.


Default

An option that is selected automatically unless an alternative is specified


Desktop

This is the area of the screen against which icons and windows appear. You are able to remove all icons from the main screen and reduce the desktop to a row of icons placed on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. To learn how to do this go to my segment entitled goal board.


Drag and Drop

This is the action of selecting a virtual object by “grabbing” it and dragging it to a different location or onto another virtual object. Go to my section on “Moving Folders” in Computer File Systems, Files and Folders (Part 2) where this action is fully demonstrated.


DOS

An acronym for Disk Operating System which described the operating systems that prevailed in the IBM personal computer compatible market from 1981 until about 2000 if one includes Microsoft Windows versions 95 and 98 which were partially DOS based. It is outdated as far as today's basic computer terms but still often used. Sometimes incorrectly.


e-(noun)

This is a reference to an electronic file which would typically be in a paper form. For example e-Correspondence is a reference to e-mails rather than hand written letters or faxes, e-Document is an electronic copy of a document which may have been scanned into its PDF electronic format and so on. Not strictly part of basic computer terms but I make several mentions of e-Documents on this site.


eMail Client

A software computer program used to manage a user’s email. Not strictly part of basic computer terms but nevertheless important. Visit my page Personalize Your Best eMail Client.


Expand Folders

An action performed to open up and display all sub-branches of a computer folder. Go to my section on “Expanding and Collapsing Folders” in Computer File Management – Folders (Part 1) where this action is fully demonstrated.


External Hard Drive

Computer hardware that holds and spins a magnetic or optical disk and reads and writes information onto it located outside of the computer box and connected via a USB Port. Not really a part of basic computer terms but often used. Here are some examples.


Favorites

A term used by Microsoft Windows Explorer given to the list of links to the web pages that you choose to save into the favorites folder of your web browser. It is a “Table of Link Contents” if you like. See Bookmarks.


GB (GiB)

A gigabyte is a unit of information equal to 1000 megabytes or 1,000,000,000 bytes



Hardware

The mechanical, magnetic, electronic and electrical components that form part of a computer system. The stuff that you can physically touch.


HDMI Port

An acronym of High Definition Multimedia Interface. This is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data.


Icons

A graphic symbol (usually a simple picture) that denotes a program, a command, a data file or a concept in a graphical user interface. In order words, all those pictures on your desktop. In my section on “Changing Folder Icons” in my section Computer File Systems, Files and Folders (Part 2) there are step by step instructions on changing icons to give your folders and files a personal touch.


Maximize Windows

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos

Increases the size of the window to cover your whole computer screen. You do this by clicking on the square shaped icon which you find on the top right of any window that has been restored down. It is indicated by the black arrow in the graphic on the right. This action is demonstrated in my section “Copying Folders to the External Hard Drive” in my page on How to Backup Computer Files.


Minimize Windows

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos

Reduce the window to an icon on the desktop without closing it. To minimize a window, click on the “-” icon which you find on the top right of all open windows. The icon is indicated by the white arrow in the graphic on the right.


Mouse Pointer

An indicator consisting of a movable icon usually in the form of an arrow displayed on your computer monitor. Moving it allows the user to point to commands or screen positions. Here are some examples of wireless computer mice.


PDF

An acronym of Portable Document Format. A computer file format for documents containing formatted text and/or images. PDF file format is device and platform independent and widely used on the Internet to allow for quick downloading of e-Documents.


Port Locker

Software which reduces the risk of data leakage by blocking USB ports from unauthorized data access via external devices. The computer operator is asked to enter a password in a dialogue box which opens as soon as the external device is plugged into the USB port or card reader. Once the correct password is entered the device can be used. Not strictly part of basic computer terms but a very useful bit of software to keep your computer safe. See graphic below.

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos


Restore Computer Files

Return previously backed up computer folders or files to their original or usable and functioning condition.


Restore Down Windows

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos

Reduce the size of a window so that it only takes part of the screen space. To restore down a window, click on the double square shaped icon which you find on the top right of all windows. This icon is indicated by the lime green arrow in the graphic on the right.

This action is demonstrated in my section “Copying Folders to the External Hard Drive” in my page on How to Backup Computer Files.


Screen Dump

This is achieved by pressing the PrtSc (Print Screen) key on your keyboard. It is the image taken by a computer to record the visible items on the monitor. Also known as screenshot, screen capture or screen grab. The image is stored in the computer’s memory and can be pasted onto a graphics software package such as “Paint”.


Software

Written programs, procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system that are stored in read/write memory or on the computer’s internal hard drive. The stuff that you cannot physically touch.


Taskbar

The bar usually along the bottom of your computer screen where you find icons used to launch and monitor applications. I show you how to place your desktop icons onto the taskbar rather than have them in the main screen section. Go to my segment entitled goal board if you want to learn how to do this.


TB

A terabyte is unit of information equal to 1000 gigabytes or 1,000,000,000,000 bytes


USB Flash Drive

This is an exterior data storage device consisting of a memory module and an integrated USB interface. Sometimes referred to as a memory stick. Like these.


USB Port

The Universal Serial Bus port was designed to standardize the connection of peripheral devices to a computer such as keyboards, pointing devices, digital cameras, printers, portable media players, network adapters, memory sticks, external hard drives both to communicate and to supply electrical power.


Virus Scanner

Anti-virus software used to prevent, detect and remove computer viruses. This is explained in detail in my section on AVG Virus Scanner in this Basic Computer Training Section. Although not part of basic computer terms but often not understood. There are several antivirus software packages on the market.


Wallpaper

This basic computer term refers to an image used as a background for your computer screen. If you would like to make your own customized wallpaper, go to my section goal board. I go through the steps of creating your own electronic goal board.

Basic Computer Terms,How to be Organized,Tony Bastos



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