Computer Terms and their Meanings

Here is a quick list of computer terms, most being requests from Tips4pc members. To see more computer definitions please see the Computer Terms page. You can also get a free 59 page PDF Computer Terms Dictionary when you sign up for the Tips4pc newsletter at the bottom of every post.

If you are new to using computers you should also see my article about basic computer terminology which explains computer terms such as software, hardware, and so on, in details.

Basic Computer Terminology:

1. Bit: A binary unit of data storage with only 2 digits 0 and 1.

2. BIOS: Acronym for basic input/output system, the built-in software that determines what a computer can do without accessing programs from a disk.

3. Boot: Another Computer term for “Starting a Computer”. Similarly reboot means restart.

4. Byte: 8 bits of data which has a possible value from 0 to 255.

5. Program: A series of instructions to the computer from a user to process different types of tasks according to our need and necessity.

6. Operating System (OS): An operating system works an interface between User and the hardware. It is basically the platform on which users work. Various OS include Windows, MAC OSX, and Linux etc.

7. Application: Application is program that runs on an Operating System. For ex. music player, browser, messengers etc.

8. Internet: It is a worldwide system of computer networks – a network of networks in which users at any one computer can get information from any other computer.

9. Browser: It is a program that displays the files and data on internet through World Wide Web. Examples Include Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome etc.

10.  Driver: A specially written program which understands the operation of the device it interfaces to, such as a printer, video card, sound card or CD ROM drive. It provides an interface for the operating system to use the device.

11.  File: A collection of data into a permanent storage structure stored on the hard drive.

12.  Floppy disk: A very low capacity storage media which can be written to as easily as it is read. It is highly out of date.

13.  Floppy Drive: The hardware component that is used to read or write to a floppy disk.

14.  Hardware: Describes the physical parts of your computer which you can physically touch or see such as your monitor, case, disk drives etc.

15.  Memory: Used to provide the temporary storage of information function.

16.  Network: A general term describing to the cables and electronic components that carry data between computers. It is also generally used to refer to the server computers that provide services such as printing, file sharing, e-mail, and other services.

17.  Protocols: A standard method used for communications or other internet and network functions.

18.  Security flaw: A software bug allowing an attacker a method to gain unauthorized access to a system.

19.  Serial: A data transmission method where data is sent on a single line and one bit is sent at a time. This is similar to a line which one item must come one after another.

20.  Software: Describes the programs that run on your system.

21.  SPAM: A term used to describe junk and unsolicited e-mail.

22.  Storage Media: A term used to describe any magnetic device that computer data can be permanently stored on such as a hard drive or floppy drive.

23.  URL: Uniform Resource Locator is the term used to describe a link which points to a location of a file on the internet.

24. Virus: A program that runs on a system against the owner’s or user’s wishes and knowledge and can spread by infecting files or sending itself through e-mail.

25.  Vulnerability: Software errors that allow some kind of unauthorized access when they are used or exploited.

26.  Word: Two bytes or 16 bits of data with a possible unsigned value from 0 to 16535.

27.  Worm: A term used to describe an unwanted program that uses system or application vulnerabilities to infect a computer without the user doing anything but connecting to an infected network.


  1. says

    Cool, I’ve learned something :)
    I actually didn’t know the difference between bits and bytes, I assumed there was a difference but I didn’t know what it was :) But now I do.