Welcome to our plain-English Glossary Of Computer, Networking, & Telephony Terms.  Don’t see a word you’re looking for?  Just use CTS Contact/Request.
  • 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.
  • 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 “workspace” 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.
  • software — any program that you can install.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 whereever they may be. A single computer by itself is usually referred to as simply a “computer” – neat name, huh?