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Vocabulary from Discovering Computers Fundamentals 2011 Edition

administrator account

Computer account held by computer and network administrators that enables them to access all files and programs on the computer or network, install programs, and specify settings that affect all users on a computer or network

adware remover

Program that detects and deletes adware from a user's computer

anti-spam program

Program that attempts to remove spam before it reaches a user's inbox

antivirus program

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

automatic update

Operating system feature that automatically provides updates to a program

backup utility

Utility program that allows users to copy, or back up, selected files or an entire hard disk to another storage medium, such as another hard disk, optical disc, USB flash drive, or tape


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

boot disk

Special disk that contains a few system files capable of starting a computer, which is used when the computer cannot boot from its hard disk

boot drive

Drive from which a personal computer boots (starts)


Process of starting or restarting a computer


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

cold boot

Process of turning on a computer that has been powered off completely

command-line interface

Type of user interface in which a user types commands or presses special keys on the keyboard (such as function keys or key combinations) to enter data and instructions


Reorganizing a disk so that the files are stored in contiguous sectors, thus speeding up disk access and the performance of the entire computer

disc burning software

Utility program that writes text, graphics, audio, and video files to a recordable or rewriteable CD, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc

disk defragmenter

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


Small program that tells an operating system how to communicate with a specific device

embedded operating system

The operating system that resides on a ROM chip inside most PDAs and small devices

file compression utility

Utility program that shrinks the size of a file(s), so that the file takes up less storage space than the original file

file manager

Utility that performs functions related to file management


Specific named location on a storage medium that contains related documents

graphical user interface (GUI)

Type of user interface that allows a user to interact with software using text, graphics, and visual images, such as icons


Operating system function that saves any open documents and programs to a hard disk before removing power from the computer

image viewer

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


Popular, multitasking UNIX-type operating system

log on

To access a computer or network as a user

Mac OS X

Multitasking operating system that is the latest version of the Macintosh operating system

Macintosh operating system

Operating system for Apple's Macintosh computer

media player

Utility program that allows you to view images and animation, listen to audio, and watch video files

memory management

Operating system activity that optimizes the use of random access memory (RAM)

operating system (OS)

Set of programs that coordinates all the activities among computer hardware devices


Private combination of characters associated with a user name that allows access to certain computer resources

performance monitor

Operating system program that assesses and reports information about various computer resources and devices

personal computer

Computer that can perform all of its input, processing, output, and storage activities by itself and contains a processor, memory, and one or more input and output devices, and storage devices

personal firewall

Utility program that detects and protects a personal computer from unauthorized intrusions


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 or suspicious Web sites

Plug and Play

Technology that gives a computer the capability to configure adapter cards and other peripherals automatically as a user installs them

pop-up blocker

Filtering program that stops pop-up ads from displaying on Web pages


Lineup of multiple print jobs within a buffer

recovery disk

Special disk that contains a few system files capable of restarting a computer, which is used when the computer cannot boot from its hard disk

restore utility

Program that reverses the backup process and returns backed up files to their original form

screen saver

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

search utility

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

server operating system

Operating system that organizes and coordinates how multiple users access and share resources on a network

service pack

Free downloadable software updates provided by the software manufacturer to users who have registered and/or activated their software


Icon on the desktop that provides a user with immediate access to a program or file

sleep mode

Operating system function that saves any open documents and programs to RAM, turns off all unneeded functions, and then places the computer in a low-power state


Unsolicited e-mail message or newsgroups posting sent to many recipients or newsgroups at once


Operating system process that sends documents to be printed to a buffer instead of sending them immediately to the printer

spyware remover

Program that detects and deletes spyware and other similar programs on a user's computer

stand-alone operating system

Complete operating system that works on a desktop computer, notebook computer, or mobile computing device

system software

Programs that control or maintain the operations of a computer and its devices

Trojan horse

Malicious-logic program named after the Greek myth that hides within or looks like a legitimate program


To restore a compressed, or zipped, file to its original form


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


Multitasking operating system that now is available for most computers of all sizes

user ID

Unique combination of characters, such as letters of the alphabet and/or numbers, that identifies a specific user

user interface

The portion of software that defines how a user interacts with a computer, including how the user enters data and instructions and how information is displayed on the screen

user name

Unique combination of characters, such as letters of the alphabet and/or numbers, that identifies a specific user


Type of system software that allows a user to perform maintenance-type tasks, usually related to managing a computer, its devices, or its programs

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

virtual memory

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


Potentially damaging computer program that affects, or infects, a computer negatively by altering the way the computer works without a user's knowledge or permission

warm boot

Process of using the operating system to restart a computer

Web filtering software

Program that restricts access to certain material on the Web

Windows 7

Microsoft's fastest, most efficient operating system to date, offering quicker program start up, built-in diagnostics, automatic recovery, improved security, enhanced searching and organizing capabilities, and an easy-to-use interface

Windows Aero

Interface for computers with more than 1 GB of RAM that provides an enhanced visual look, additional navigation options, and animation

Windows ReadyBoost

Windows feature that can allocate available storage space on removable flash memory devices as additional cache


Malicious-logic program that copies itself repeatedly, using up system resources and possibly shutting down the system

zipped files

Type of compressed files that usually have a .zip extension

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