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Discovering Computers 2012 - Chapter 8 vocabulary

Define system software

consists of the programs that control or maintain the operations of the computer and its devices. System software serves as the interface between the user, the application software, and the computer's hardware.

Two types of system software -

Operating systems and utility programs

Define Operating system -

(OS) is a set of programs containing instructions that work together to coordinate all the activities among computer hardware resources.

What do operating systems do-

Most perform similar functions that include starting and shutting down computer, providing user interface, managing programs, managing memory, coordinating tasks, configuring devices, establishing internet connection, monitoring performance, providing file management, and updating. Some operating systems also allow users to control a network and administer security.

Where does the operating system usually reside-

It resides on the computer's hard disk. On handheld computers and many mobile devices, the operating system may reside on a ROM chip.

The operating system that a computer uses is sometimes called the -


A cross-platform is -

A cross-platform program is one that runs the same on multiple operating systems.

Define booting

Booting is the process of starting or restarting a computer.

Cold boot is -

When turning on a computer that has been powered off completely.

Warm boot -

The process of using the operating system to restart a computer. It properly closes any running processes and programs, however, it does not save any unsaved work.

What is the kernel -

The core of an operating system that manages memory and devices, maintains the computer's clock, starts programs, and assigns the computer's resources, such as devices, programs, data, and information.

What does memory resident mean -

it means it remains in memory while the computer is running. The Kernel does this.

Nonresident -

Instructions that remain on a storage medium until they are needed.


Basic input/output system, firmware that contains the computer's startup instructions.


Power on self test - checks the various system components to make sure they are connected properly and operating correctly.


a technology that uses batter power to retain information when the computer is off. It stores configuration information about the computer, such as amount of memory, type of drives, keyboard, monitor, date/stime, etc. It also detects any new devices connected to the computer.


consists of several files that contain the system configuration information.

boot drive

the drive from which your personal computer boots. Usually drive C.

boot disk/recovery disk

contains a few system files that will start the computer if drive C is damaged or you want to preview an operating system without installing it.

Sleep mode

saves any open documents and programs to RAM, turns of unneeded functions, places computer in low-power state.


saves any open documents and programs to a hard disk before removing power from the computer.

User interface

controls how you enter data and instructions and how information is displayed on the screen.

Graphical user interface

GUI - interact with menus and visual images such as buttons and other graphical objects to issue commands, usually incorporates features similar to those of a Web browser.

Windows offers 2 different types of GUIS

Computers with less than 1 GB of Ram use Windows 7. Computers with more that 1 GB may use Windows 7 Aero interface.

Command line interface

A user types commands or presses special keys on the keyboard to enter data and instructions. Requires exact spelling, grammar, and puncheon.

command language

the set of commands entered into the computer.

single user/single tasking operating system

allows only one user to run one program at a time.

single user/multitasking operating system

allows a single user to work on two or more programs that reside in memory at the same time. (using foreground and background)

multiuser operating system

enables two or more users to run program simultaneously.

multiprocessing operating system -

supports two or more processors running programs at the same time

Fault-tolerant computer -

a computer with separate processors - continues to operate when one of its components fails, ensuring that no data is lost. They have duplicate components such as processors, memory, and disk drives.

The purpose of memory management is

to optimize the use of random access memory. RAM.

Ram consists of

one or more chips on the motherboard that hold items such as data and instructions with while the processor interprets and executes them.

virtual memory

when the operating system allocates a portion of a storage medium, usually the hard disk, to function as additional RAM. slower that RAM.

swap file

area of the hard disk used for virtual memory.


the amount of data and program instructions that can swap at a given time.


the technique of swapping items between memory and storage.

thrashing -

when an operating system spends much of its time paging, instead of executing application software.

Windows ReadyBoost -

used to increase the size of memory by allocating available storage space on removable flash memory devices.

Buffer -

a segment of memory or storage in which items are placed while waiting to be transferred from an input device or to an output device.

Spooling -

when the operating system commonly uses buffers with printed documents. Sends documents to be printed to a buffer instead of sending them immediately to the printer.


when multiple documents line up in the buffer.

print spooler

intercepts documents to be printed from the operating system and places them in the queue.


small program that tells the operating system how to communicate with a specific device.

plug and play

means the operating system automatically configures new devices as you install them. Specifically, it assists you in the device's installation by loading the necessary drivers automatically and checking for conflicts with other devices.

performance monitor

a program that assesses and reports information about various computer resources and devices. For example, users can monitor the processor, disks, network, and memory usage. It helps users identify a problem with resources so that they can try to resolve any problems.

Automatic update

feature that automatically provides updates to the program. Can included fixes to program bugs, or errors, enhancements to security, modifications to device drivers, access to new components, and even updates to application software.

Service pack

free downloadable updates to users who have registered and or activated their software.

Server operating system

-designed specifically to support a network - typically resides on the server.
an operating system that organizes and coordinates how multiple users access and share resources on a network. Resources included hardware, software, data, and information. For example, it allows multiple users to share a printer, internet access, files, and programs.

administrator account

enables administrators to access all files and programs on the computer or network, install programs, and specify settings that affect all users on the network.


define who can access certain resources and when they can access those resources.

log on

to access a computer or network with user name or user ID - a unique combination of characters, letters or numbers that identifies one specific user.


private combination of characters associated with the user name that allows access to certain computer resources.ENCRYPTION


the process of encoding data and information into an unreadable form.

device-dependent program

program that runs only an a specific type or make of computer.

proprietary software

software that is privately owned and limited to a specific vendor or computer model.

device-independent operating systems

operating systems that run on computers provided by a variety of manufacturers. The advantage is you can retain existing application software and data files even if you change computer models or vendors.

stand-alone operating system

a complete operating system that works on a desktop, notebook, or mobile computing device. Some are called client operating systems because they also work in conjunction with a server operating system. Examples are Windows 7, Mac OSX, UNIX, Linux.

Three basic categories of operating systems that exist today

stand-alone, server, embedded

List some stand-alone operating systems

DOS, Early windows versions, Windows &, Mac OS X, UNIX, Linux

List some server operating systems

Early windows, Windows 2008, UNIX, Linux, Solaris, NetWare

List some embedded operating systems

Windows embedded CE, Windows Phone 7, Palm OS, IPhone OS, Blackberry, Google Android, Embedded Linux, Symbian OS

Windows 7

Microsoft's fastest, most efficient operating system to date.


also known as a widget is a mini-program with minimal functionality that connects to another program or provides information. Examples included with Windows 7 include calendar, clock, CPU meter, currency converter, news headlines, slide show, weather, etc.

Windows 7 starter

designed for netbooks and other small notebook computers using the Windows 7 Basic interface.


Apple's Macintosh operating system - has set the standard for operating system ease of use.


multi-tasking/multipurpose operating system developed in the 1970s by Bell Labs that was prevented from actively promoting it due to federal regulations. Was licensed to colleges and universities instead. Currently used by Sun and IBM. In addition to being a stand-alone operating system it is also a server operating system.


introduced in 1991, popular, multitasking multipurpose operating system. Also includes many free programming languages and utility programs. open source software with no restrictions from its copyright. Two most popular are GNOME AND KDE.

Windows Server 2008

an upgrade to Windows Server 2003 and also offers improved web server management so users can share data, enhanced server security, network access protection, shares many technologies with Windows, and client support using Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, and Linux.


A server operating system - version of UNIX developed by Sun specifically for e-commerce applications.

Windows embedded CE

scaled down Windows operating system designed for ruse on communications, entertainment, and computing devices with limited functionality. VoIp phones, industrial devices, digital cameras, Point of Sale terminals, ATMs, digital photo frames, fuel pumps, robots navigation devices, media players, ticket machines, and computerized sewing machines.
A GUI that supports color, sound, multitasking, multimedia, email, Internet and browsing.

Windows Phone 7

successor to Windows Mobile, includes functionality, programs, and a user interface designed for specific types of smart phones. supports multi-touch screens

Palm OS

competing operating system to Windows Phone 7 which runs on smart phones and PDAs.

Iphone OS

developed by Apple, an operating system for the Iphone and Ipod touch.

Blackberry operating system

runs on handheld devices supplied by RIM (research in motion)

Google Android

an operating system designed by Google for mobile devices

Embedded Linux

scaled-down Linux operating system designed for smart phones, PDAs portable media players, phones and computers.

Symbian OS

an open source multitasking operating system designed for smart phones.

utility program

type of system software that allows a user to perform maintenance-type tasks, usually related to managing a computer, its devices, or its programs. Functions it provides are managing files, searching for files, viewing images, uninstalling program, cleaning disks, defragmenting, backing up, setting up screen savers, securing a computer from unauthorized access, protecting against viruses, removing spyware, filtering, compressing, playing media, burning optical discs, and maintaining a personal computer.

file manager

utility that performs functions related to file management. (displaying a list of files on storage, organizing files in folders, copying, renaming, deleting, moving, sorting, shortcuts)


specific named location on a storage medium that contains related documents.


an icon on the desktop or in a folder that provides a user with immediate access to a program or file.

search utility

a program that attempts to locate a file on your computer based on criteria you specify.


stores a variety of information about a file, including its name, date created, dote modified, author name, etc.

image viewer

utility that allows users to display, copy and print the contents of a graphics file, such as a photo.


a utility that removes a program, as well as any associated entries in the system files.

disk cleanup

a utility that searches for and removes unnecessary files

disk fragmenter

utility that reorganizes the files and unused space on a computer's hard disk so that the operating system accesses data more quickly and programs run faster.


when the contents of a file are scattered across two or more noncontiguous sectors.


reorganizing the disk so that the files are stored in contiguous sectors

backup utility

allows users to copy, or back up selected files or an entire disk to another storage medium such as another hard disk, USB, or tape.

restore utility

reverses the process of a backup file and returns backed up files to their original form.

screen saver

a utility that causes a display device's screen to show a moving image or blank screen if no keyboard or mouse activity occurs for a specified time.


a problem in which images could be etched permanently on a monitor's screen.

personal firewall

a utility that detects and protects a personal computer from unauthorized intrusions. They constantly monitor all transmissions to and from a computer.


someone who tries to access a computer or network illegally.


describes a potential damaging computer program that affects or infects, a computer negatively by altering the way the computer works without the users knowledge or permission.


short for malicious software - acts without a user's knowledge and deliberately alters the computer's operations.


copies itself repeatedly using up system resources and possibly shutting down a system

Trojan horse

Malware that hides within or looks like a legitimate program such as a screen saver and a certain action triggers it.

Name 3 types of malware -

virus, worms, and Trojan horses

antivirus program

protects a computer against viruses by identifying and removing any computer viruses found in memory, on storage media, or incoming files.

Popular antivirus programs -

McAfee, VirusScan, Norton AntiVirus, Windows Live OneCare


program placed on a computer without the user's knowledge that secretly collects information about the user, often related to Web browsing habits.


program that displays an online advertisement in a banner or pop-up window.

spyware remover

program that detects and deletes spyware and other similar programs.

adware remover

program that detects and deletes adware.

web filtering software

program that restricts access to certain material on the Web.

anti-spam program

filtering program that attempts to remove spam before it reaches your inbox.


scam in which a perpetrator attempts to obtain your personal and or financial information.

phishing filter

program that warns or blocks you from potentially fraudulent web sites.

pop-up ad

internet advertisement that suddenly appears in a new window in the foreground of a web page displayed in your browser

pop-up blocker

filtering program that stops pop-up ads from displaying on web pages.

file compression utility

shrinks the size of a file. A compressed file takes up less storage space than the original and frees up room on the storage media.

two types of compression

lossy and lossless

lossy compression

causes small degradations each time compressed -
is used on audio and video files because the small degradations will not usually be noticeable.

lossless compression

can return a compressed file to its exact original condition - used in text files.


compressed files .zip extension


unzip - restore a file to its original form.

media player

program that allows you to view images and animations, listen to audio, and watch video files on computer.

disc burning software

writes text, graphics, audio, and video files on a recordable or rewritable CD, DVD, or Blu-ray. enables the home user to back up contents of their hard disk on optical disc and make duplicates.

personal computer maintenance utility

identifies and fixes operating system problems, detects and repairs disk problems, and includes the capability of improving a computer's performance. Norton SystemWorks is a popular one.

two types of user interfaces

graphical user interface GUI and command-line interface


server operating system designed for client/server networks.

What are various server operating systems?

UNIX, Linux, Solaris, Windows Server 2008, NetWare

embedded operating systems reside on

a ROM chip

Name several utility programs

file manager, search utility, image viewer, uninstaller, disk defragmenter, backup utility, restore utility, screen saver, personal firewall, antivirus program, spyware remover, web filtering, anti-spam program, phishing filter, pop-up blocker, file compression utility, media player, disc burning software, personal computer maintenance utility

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