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Active Partition

portion of a hard drive that contains the bootable operating system


a 2-part systeem (backup and restore) in Windows BACKUP that backs up the system state, system services, and all the disks that are associated with the operating system components

Automatic Updates

Windows system setting that, if turned on, can access the Microsoft website to find the most up to date protection for your computer's operating system


a database in Windows Vista that replaces the XP BOOT.INI file

Blue Screen of Death

a crash in windows where you must reboot to gain functionality; the display returns some error message and the background is completely blue

Boot Diskette

diskette that contains enough of an operating system to boot the computer


the symbol given, such as C:\>, if the computer is waiting for typed input from the user

Control Panel

part of the Windows GUI that allows the user to view and change basic system settings and controls


a troubleshooting mode that allows step-by-step programming instructions to be entered in an attempt to repair or maintain a computer

Disk Cleanup

Windows feature that allows the user to free up space on the hard drive by
getting rid of temporary Internet files and unnecessary program files

Extended Partition

the second portion of a hard drive after the primary partition that can be
broken down further into logical drives

Fast User Switching

feature on Windows XP and Vista that allows the operating system to
switch between users without them having to quit their applications or log out


the original file system used in DOS and early versions of Windows


- file system that is limited to 4GB per partition, maximum file size of 2GB, and a
minimum cluster size of 8KB but varies with drive size


- file system that is limited to 2TB per partition, maximum file size of 4GB, and a
minimum cluster size of 4KB but varies with drive size

File Attributes

classifications associated with files that determine how the files can be viewed
or edited

File Directory

a part of the file system used to organize and contain files and/or other

File Extension

letters following a filename and the period and indicating a type of information
stored in the file

File Permissions

the rights of specific users or groups of users to view or make changes to files
on a computer


Graphical User Interface; the environment for Windows operating systems that has a
cursor to move around on the screen and has icons for computer items


a list of hardware requirements for an operating system

Last Known Good Configuration

a Safe Mode setting that starts the computer using the
information in the Windows Registry that was saved on the last shutdown

Logical Drive

a portion of the extended partition of a hard drive that is given a drive letter and
appears as a separate hard drive

My Computer

part of the Windows operating system that allows the user to access the disk

My Network Places

part of the Windows ME, 2000, and XP operating system that allows the
user to access remote resources

Primary Partition

the first logical division on a hard drive and the one to hold the operating
system if there is more than one division on the drive


storage place in the Windows operating system of configuration information about
the computer holding information about hardware, software, and user settings; made up of 2

Red Screen of Death

an error screen that appears in fatal errors with the Windows XP
operating system

Safe Mode

troubleshooting environment in Windows that allows the user to boot with no
configuration files and minimal drivers; Windows may automatically come up in this mode if it
was not shut down properly

Safe Mode with Command Prompt

troubleshooting environment of Windows where the user
is brought in at the command line interface

Safe Mode with Networking

troubleshooting environment in Windows that allows the user to
boot with minimal drivers but gives essential services and drivers to start networking

Start Menu

the location in Windows to start programs as well as the features to shutdown the

System Tray

the area on the right side of the taskbar that contains functions such as volume
control and time

Task Bar

the area located at the bottom of the Windows desktop, by default, that contains the
Start button, quick launch buttons, applications currently open, and the system tray

Task Manager

Windows program used to provide information about programs and processes
running, the status of the computer, and the place to terminate programs or processes if

Temporary Internet Files

a directory used by Internet Explorer that is used to hold websites
that have been viewed by the user

VGA Mode

a Windows mode available by pressing F8 at bootup that starts the video display
with a screen area of 640 x 480 pixels, 8-bit color, and a minimal video driver

Virtual Memory

part of the hard drive that acts like RAM that can allow programs to operate
like they have more memory than they actually do

Windows Explorer

Windows feature that allows the user to access the file system

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