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Computer/Network Glossary


Welcome to our plain-English glossary of computer and networking terms. Don't see a word you're looking for? Just email us.


application — see program.


computer — a tool used for data storage, sorting, and retrieval.


device — printers, drives (CD-ROM, Zip drives, hard disks and the like), modems, etc.


drive — a drive (floppy drive, hard drive, CD-ROM, Zip drive, tape drive, etc.) is simply a data storage device, very similar to that big gray filing cabinet you keep stubbing your toes on. When you install a program, it copies its files onto your computer's hard drive, many programs that you run from your CD-ROM stay mostly on the CD-ROM; when you save your data files they are generally on your hard drive and sometimes on your floppy disk(s).


driver — software that tells your computer how to use a piece of hardware that is connected to it, such as a printer.


hard disk — a small, hard disk, inside your computer used for data and program storage.


hardware — anything you can trip over, INCLUDING the CD-ROMs, floppies, etc. that programs are loaded onto.


Memory — accidentally (?) refers to both your hard disk and your RAM.


monitor — a video screen that lets you see what (basically) is going on inside your computer


network — any number of computers connected together so that they can share files, printers, fax systems, Internet connections, etc.


network application — network version of a program; any program that lets more than one user open the same data file (the file that that program creates) at the same time.


program (application) — this is simply a list of instructions for the computer to carry out when you click a button or type a letter. It will generally let you input data, and then spit it back out in the form that you want. There are programs for word processing, games, you name it.


RAM — electronic storage space that is your computer's "work space" for running programs and modifying your data files. It is emptied when you turn your computer system off.


resources — things the computer can use to do your work, such as RAM, hard drive space, video capabilities, etc.


server — a faster/bigger-than-normal computer used for storing files that users can access.


shared device — these are devices on the network that many users can access such as printers, drives (CD-ROM, Zip drives, hard disks and the like), modems, etc.


software — any program that you can install.


workstation — a workstation is generally a computer on a network. This means it is connected to other computers in your building and/or in your company where ever they may be. A single computer by itself is usually referred to as simply a "computer" - neat name, huh?



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