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.
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.
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?