How Well Do You Know These Computer Terms?


Antivirus software is an application that protects a computer or device against infection from malware and viruses, which are sometimes spread via unprotected wireless networks.


A short-range wireless technology that transmits data between two devices, Bluetooth is generally used to connect peripherals like a mouse, keyboard or headset to computers or mobile devices that have the Bluetooth interface. Fun fact: The name Bluetooth was inspired by a Viking king, Harald Bluetooth, who is said to have united Denmark in the same way Bluetooth unites devices.


Byte is a unit of measurement that is eight binary units long. Generally, digital storage is measured in byte multiples. For example, one kilobyte (KB) is equal to approximately 1,000 bytes. There are approximately 1,000 kilobytes in one megabyte (MB), and a gigabyte (GB) is equal to approximately 1,000 megabytes.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on a computer hard drive. In this case, the cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. Cloud computing also refers to off-site backup of data. In this instance, data on a computer is synchronized with a remote server. If data is erased locally, the computer can resynchronize with the remote server and reload the missing information. Many business programs and services can now be run over the cloud, without the need to set up local servers and manually install software.

DVI Port

A digital visual interface (DVI) port enables you to connect your computer to a digital-display monitor/TV with minimal loss of image quality. A DVI port is great for showing a slideshow of your photos on your home TV.

Graphics Card/Dedicated Graphics

This is a separate card fitted into a computer with a graphics processor and its own memory. The more megabytes (MB) the graphics card has, the faster and more detailed graphics you can run, and the better your video will look.

Hard Drive

Your computer typically stores all its data on a hard drive, which is similar to a record player in that it retrieves information by spinning a platter beneath a needle that reads from microscopic grooves. Its size is measured in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). You can also buy an external hard drive — though it should be noted that while hard disk drives usually come in higher capacities and are much less expensive than a solid state drive, the latter type is typically faster and less energy-intensive.

HDMI port

A high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port enables you to send digital audio and video signals to a high-definition TV. HDMI supports, on a single cable, any TV or PC video format including standard, enhanced and high-definition video along with eight channels of digital audio. An HDMI port will ensure great picture quality when watching Internet content on your HDTV.

Integrated/Shared/External Graphics Processor

The graphics processor is often integrated into the computer motherboard. Integrated graphics share the memory from the main computer (RAM), which means the laptop will have less memory for other tasks. This is best suited to general office tasks and everyday use.

Media Reader

A media card slot allows you to view information directly from a media card (e.g., a digital camera memory card) on your computer with no cables or camera required.

Operating System

An operating system (OS) is the type of software that controls the other software on the laptop. Examples include Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome.

Optical Drive

The optical drive is a type of drive that uses discs such as DVDs and CDs. Most optical drives allow you to read and write to a disc.


A peripheral is an external device that’s used with a computer or mobile device and is either critical for functionality or intended to enhance the user experience. Examples include a mouse, keyboard, joystick, printer, scanner, Webcam and microphone. Peripherals use a variety of connection types, such as Bluetooth and USB.


The processor is the brain of the computer. Different processors provide various levels of performance, measured in CPUs, or central processing units.


The Random Access Memory (RAM) is a temporary storage area. The higher a laptop’s number of megabytes of RAM, the more files it will be able to process.

Solid State Drive

A newer type of external drive, solid state drives (SSD) tend to be faster and less energy-intensive than hard disk drives, but typically have less memory and are more expensive. They are chunks of silicon that retrieve information by sending precise voltages through a network of transistors.

Touch Screen

Whether it’s on a laptop, an all-in-one computer or an external monitor, touch screens allow users to have a more natural interaction with a computer. The screens can support up to 10 points of multi-touch input, which is perfect for complex-yet-intuitive commands like pinching to zoom or twisting to rotate.


Short for universal serial bus, USB is a standard type of connector that allows external devices and peripheral accessories (e.g., Webcams, printers, mice and external drives) to connect with a computer


Short for Wireless Fidelity and also known as WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network, Wi-Fi enables the connection of computers, phones, tablets or any other device to the Internet. Most homes and workplaces use a router to create a Wi-Fi hub and provide wireless connectivity within a specific range. Most tablets use one of three different Wi-Fi standards — 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac — which differ only in speed (ac is the fastest, g is slowest).

Wireless LAN

This allows a mobile user to connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless connection. There are “hotspots” where you can easily connect to the LAN (e.g., in airports).

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