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Computer Glossary

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  • Database
    A collection of similar information stored in a file, such as a database of addresses. This information may be created and stored in a database management system (DBMS).

  • Debug
    Slang. To find and correct equipment defects or program malfunctions.

  • Default
    The pre-defined configuration of a system or an application. In most programs, the defaults can be changed to reflect personal preferences.

  • Desktop
    The main directory of the user interface. Desktops usually contain icons that represent links to the hard drive, a network (if there is one), and a trash or recycling can for files to be deleted. It can also display icons of frequently used applications, as requested by the user.

  • Desktop publishing
    The production of publication-quality documents using a personal computer in combination with text, graphics, and page layout programs.

  • Directory
    A repository where all files are kept on computer.

  • Disk
    Two distinct types. The names refer to the media inside the container:

    A hard disc stores vast amounts of data. It is usually inside the computer but can be a separate peripheral on the outside. Hard discs are made up of several rigid coated metal discs. Currently, hard discs can store 15 to 30 Gb (gigabytes)

    A floppy disc, 3.5" square, usually inserted into the computer and can store about 1.4 megabytes of data. The 3.5" square .floppies. have a very thin, flexible disc inside. There is also an intermediate-sized floppy disc, trademarked Zip discs, which can store 250 megabytes of data.

  • Disk drive
    The equipment that operates a hard or floppy disc.

  • Domain
    Represents an IP (Internet Protocol) address or set of IP addresses that comprise a domain. The domain name appears in URLs to identify web pages or in email addresses. For example, the email address for the First Lady is first.lady@whitehouse.gov, .whitehouse.gov. being the domain name. Each domain name ends with a suffix that indicates what .top level domain. it belongs to. These are: ..com. for commercial, ..gov. for government, ..org. for organization, ..edu. for educational institution, ..biz. for business, ..info. for information, ..tv. for television, ..ws. for website. Domain suffixes may also indicate the country in which the domain is registered. No two parties can ever hold the same domain name.

  • Domain name
    The name of a network or computer linked to the Internet. Domains are defined by a common IP address or set of similar IP (Internet Protocol) addresses.

  • Download
    The process of transferring information from a web site (or other remote location on a network) to the computer. It is possible to .download a file. or .view a download.

  • DOS
    Disk Operating System. An operating system designed for early IBM-compatible PCs.

  • Drop-down menu
    A menu window that opens vertically on-screen to display context-related options. Also called pop-up menu or pull-down menu.

  • DSL
    Digital Subscriber Line. A method of connecting to the Internet via a phone line. A DSL connection uses copper telephone lines but is able to relay data at much higher speeds than modems and does not interfere with telephone use.

  • DVD
    Digital Video Disc.Similar to a CD-ROM, it stores and plays both audio and video.

  • E-book
    An electronic (usually hand-held) reading device that allows a person to view digitally stored reading materials.

  • Email
    Electronic mail; messages, including memos or letters, sent electronically between networked computers that may be across the office or around the world.

  • Emoticon
    A text-based expression of emotion created from ASCII characters that mimics a facial expression when viewed with your head tilted to the left. Here are some examples:
    :-) Smiling
    :-( Frowning
    ;-) Winking
    :_( Crying

  • Encryption
    The process of transmitting scrambled data so that only authorized recipients can unscramble it. For instance, encryption is used to scramble credit card information when purchases are made over the Internet.

  • Ethernet
    A type of network.

  • Ethernet card
    A board inside a computer to which a network cable can be attached.

  • File
    A set of data that is stored in the computer.

  • Firewall
    A set of security programs that protect a computer from outside interference or access via the Internet.

  • Folder
    A structure for containing electronic files. In some operating systems, it is called a .directory.

  • Fonts
    Sets of typefaces (or characters) that come in different styles and sizes.

  • Freeware
    Software created by people who are willing to give it away for the satisfaction of sharing or knowing they helped to simplify other people's lives. It may be freestanding software, or it may add functionality to existing software.

  • FTP
    File Transfer Protocol. A format and set of rules for transferring files from a host to a remote computer.


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