An application program that helps business owners manage their finances more efficiently by providing tools for tracking accounting transactions such as sales, accounts receivable, inventory purchases, and accounts payable.
The set of programs on a computer that helps a user carry out tasks such as word processing, sending e-mail, balancing a budget, creating presentations, editing photos, taking an online course, and playing games.
audio editing software
Programs that perform basic editing tasks on audio files such as cutting dead air space from the beginning or end of a song or cutting a portion from the middle.
computer-aided design (CAD)
A 3D modeling program used to create automated designs, technical drawings, and model visualizations.
A simplified licensing scheme that enables copyright holders to grant certain rights to a work while retaining other rights.
course management software
A program that provides traditional classroom tools, such as calendars and grade books, over the Internet, as well as areas for students to exchange ideas and information in chat rooms, discussion forums, and e-mail.
The process of installing only those features of a software program that a user wants on the hard drive.
customer relationship management (CRM) software
A business program used for storing sales and client contact information in one central database.
An electronic filing system best used for larger and more complicated groups of data that require more than one table and the ability to group, sort, and retrieve data and generate reports.
desktop publishing (DTP) software
Programs for incorporating and arranging graphics and text to produce creative documents.
drawing software (illustration software)
Programs for creating or editing two-dimensional line-based drawings.
enterprise resource planning (ERP) system
System that is used to control many "back office" operations and processing functions such as billing, production, inventory management, and human resources management.
Programs designed to provide users with entertainment. Computer games make up the vast majority of entertainment software.
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
A self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association that rates computer and video games according to the age appropriateness of content.
financial planning software
Programs for managing finances, such as Intuit's Quicken and Microsoft Money, which include electronic checkbook registers and automatic bill payment tools.
The process of installing all the files and programs from the distribution CD to the computer's hard drive.
integrated software application
A single software program that incorporates the most commonly used tools of many productivity software programs.
Programs that include image, video, and audio editing software, animation software, and other specialty software required to produce computer games, animations, and movies.
online mapping service
An alternative to more traditional mapping software programs; easily accessible with any Internet connection and updated more frequently than offline services. Examples include MapQuest, Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps, and Google Earth.
open source software
Program code made publicly available for free; it can be copied, distributed, or changed without the stringent copyright protections of proprietary software products
personal information manager (PIM) software
Programs such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Organizer that strive to replace the various management tools found on a traditional desk such as a calendar, address book, notepad, and to-do lists.
An application program for creating dynamic slide shows such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote.
Programs that enable a user to perform various tasks generally required in home, school, and business. Examples include word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, personal information management (PIM), and database programs.
project management software
An application program, such as Microsoft Project, that helps project managers generate charts and tables used to manage aspects of a project.
Custom software application that is owned and controlled by the company that created it.
Software that enables users to "test" the software by running it for a limited time free of charge.
Software, often used for training purposes, which allows the user to experience or control an event as if it is reality.
The set of computer programs or instructions that tells the computer what to do and enables it to perform different tasks.
An agreement between the user and the software developer that must be accepted before installing the software on a computer.
Violating a software license agreement by copying an application onto more computers than the license agreement permits.
speech-recognition software (voice-recognition software)
Software that translates spoken words into typed text.
An application program such as Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3 that enables a user to do calculations and numerical analyses easily.
The set of minimum storage, memory capacity, and processing standards recommended by the software manufacturer to ensure proper operation of a software application.
The set of programs that enables a computer's hardware devices and application software to work together; it includes the operating system and utility programs.
tax preparation software
An application program, such as Intuit's TurboTax or H&R Block's TaxCut, for preparing state and federal taxes. Each program offers a complete set of tax forms and instructions as well as expert advice on how to complete each form.
A form included in many productivity applications that provides the basic structure for a particular kind of document, spreadsheet, or presentation.
vertical market software
Software that is developed for and customized to a specific industry's needs (such as a wood inventory system for a sawmill) as opposed to software that is useful across a range of industries (such as word processing software).
Web-based application software
A program that is hosted on a Web site and does not require installation on the computer.
Web page authoring software
Programs you can use to design interactive Web pages without knowing any HyperText Markup Language (HTML) code.
A step-by-step guide that walks you through the necessary steps to complete a complicated task.
word processing software
Programs used to create and edit written documents such as papers, letters, and résumés.
application programming interface (API)
A block of code in the operating system that software applications need to interact with.
The process of identifying a computer user, based on a login or username and password. The computer system determines whether the computer user is authorized and what level of access is to be granted on the network.
Backup and Restore utility
A Windows utility (found in the Control Panel) that allows the user to create a duplicate copy of all the data on a hard drive (or just the folders and files the user specifies) and copy it to another storage device, such as a DVD or external hard drive.
basic input/output system (BIOS)
A program that manages the data between a computer's operating system and all the input and output devices attached to the computer; also responsible for loading the operating system (OS) from its permanent location on the hard drive to random access memory (RAM).
The process for loading the operating system (OS) into random access memory (RAM) when the computer is turned on.
Interface between user and computer in which the user enters commands to communicate with the computer system.
As its name implies, the computer's desktop puts at your fingertips all of the elements necessary for a productive work session and that are typically found on or near the top of a traditional desk, such as files and folders.
Software that facilitates the communication between a device and the operating system.
A feature in the Windows operating system that lets individuals view and change the properties of all hardware devices attached to the computer.
A hierarchical structure that include files, folders, and drives used to create a more organized and efficient computer.
A utility that regroups related pieces of files on the hard drive, enabling faster retrieval of the data.
A Windows utility that checks for lost files and fragments as well as physical errors on a hard drive.
The result of an action, such as a keystroke, mouse click, or signal to the printer, in the respective device (keyboard, mouse, or printer) to which the operating system responds.
extension (file type)
In a file name, the three letters that follow the user-supplied file name after the dot (.); the extension identifies what kind of family of files the file belongs to, or which application should be used to read the file.
A collection of related pieces of information stored together for easy reference; in database terminology, a file or table is a group of related records
file allocation table (FAT)
An index of all sector numbers that the hard drive stores in a table to keep track of which sectors hold which files.
The process by which humans or computer software provide organizational structure to a computer's contents.
The first part of the label applied to a file; it is generally the name a user assigns to the file when saving it.
The exact location of a file, starting with the drive in which the file is located, and including all folders, subfolders (if any), the file name, and the extension. (Example: C:\Users\username\ Documents\Illustrations\EBronte.jpg)
A mini-application that runs on the desktop, offering easy access to a frequently used tool such as weather or a calendar item.
graphical user interface (GUI)
Unlike the command- and menu-driven interfaces used in earlier software, GUIs display graphics and use the point-and-click technology of the mouse and cursor, making them much more user-friendly.
A picture on a computer display that represents an object such as a software application or a file or folder.
A special numerical code that prioritizes requests from various devices. These requests then are placed in the interrupt table in the computer's primary memory.
kernel (supervisor program)
The essential component of the operating system that is responsible for managing the processor and all other components of the computer system. Because it stays in random access memory (RAM) the entire time the computer is powered on, the kernel is called memory resident.
Last Known Good Configuration
A Windows feature that starts the computer by using the registry information that was saved during the last shutdown.
In Windows 7, a folder that is used to display files from different locations as if they were all saved in a single folder, regardless of where they are actually stored in the file hierarchy.
An open source operating system based on UNIX. Because of the stable nature of this operating system, it is often used on Web servers.
The first commercially available operating system to incorporate a graphical user interface (GUI) with user-friendly point-and-click technology.
A large, expensive computer that supports hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously and executes many different programs at the same time.
A user interface in which the user chooses a command from menus displayed on the screen.
Microsoft Disk Operating System (MSDOS)
A single-user, single-task operating system created by Microsoft. MS-DOS was the first widely installed operating system in personal computers.
multiuser operating system (network operating system)
An operating system (OS) that enables more than one user to access the computer system at one time by efficiently juggling all the requests from multiple users.
operating system (OS)
The system software that controls the way in which a computer system functions, including the management of hardware, peripherals, and software.
The process of swapping data or instructions that have been placed in the swap file for later use back into active random access memory (RAM). The contents of the hard drive's swap file then become less active data or instructions.
The backslash mark (\) used by Microsoft Windows and DOS in file names. Mac files use a colon (:), and UNIX and Linux use the forward slash (/) as the path separator.
The combination of a computer's operating system and processor. The two most common platform types are the PC and the Apple Macintosh.
Plug and Play (PnP)
The technology that enables the operating system, once it is booted up, to recognize automatically any new peripherals and configure them to work with the system.
power-on self-test (POST)
The first job the basic input/output system (BIOS) performs, ensuring that essential peripheral devices are attached and operational. This process consists of a test on the video card and video memory, a BIOS identification process (during which the BIOS version, manufacturer, and data are displayed on the monitor), and a memory test to ensure memory chips are working properly.
When the operating system processes the task assigned a higher priority before processing a task that has been assigned a lower priority.
real-time operating system (RTOS)
A program with a specific purpose that must guarantee certain response times for particular computing tasks, or else the machine's application is useless. Real-time operating systems are found in many types of robotic equipment.
A folder on a Windows desktop in which deleted files from the hard drive are held until permanently purged from the system.
A portion of the hard drive containing all the different configurations (settings) used by the Windows operating system (OS) as well as by other applications.
The top level of the filing structure in a computer system. In Windows computers, the root directory of the hard drive is represented as C:\.
A special diagnostic mode designed for troubleshooting errors that occur during the boot process.
On the desktop, the bar that appears at the side or bottom of the window and controls which part of the information is displayed on the screen.
A device that combines the functionality of a cell phone, a PMP, and a PDA into one unit.
swap file (page file)
A temporary storage area on the hard drive where the operating system "swaps out" or moves the data or instructions from random access memory (RAM) that have not recently been used. This process takes place when more RAM space is needed.
A utility in Windows that restores system settings to a specific previous date when everything was working properly.
system restore point
In Windows, a snapshot of your entire system's settings used for restoring your system to a prior point in time.
The set of programs that enables a computer's hardware devices and application software to work together; it includes the operating system and utility programs.
In later versions of Windows operating systems, a feature that displays open and favorite applications for easy access.
Task Manager utility
A Windows utility that shows programs currently running and permits you to exit nonresponsive programs when you click End Task.
Task Scheduler utility
A Windows utility that enables you to schedule tasks to run automatically at predetermined times with no interaction necessary on your part.
An operating system originally conceived in 1969 by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie of AT&T's Bell Labs. In 1974, the UNIX code was rewritten in the standard programming language C. Today there are various commercial versions of UNIX.
A small program that performs many of the general housekeeping tasks for the computer, such as system maintenance and file compression.
The space on the hard drive where the operating system stores data if there isn't enough random access memory (RAM) to hold all of the programs you're currently trying to run.
In a graphical user interface, a rectangular box that contains programs displayed on the screen.
Microsoft operating system that builds upon the security and user interface upgrades that the Windows Vista release provided, and gives users with touch-screen monitors the ability to use touch commands to scroll, resize windows, pan, and zoom.