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        A-Z of IT

        Take a look at our A-Z of computer terms.There is a lot of jargon out there and nobody ever explains it in a way that you can understand. To make a refreshing change we have. We will be adding to this section so check back to keep up to date with the latest mumbo jumbo.

        Antivirus for Networks

        Is a solution to provide antivirus protection throughout your network for a safer more efficient running of the network.


        Bandwidth refers to how much data you can send through a network or modem connection. It is usually measured in bits per second, or “bps”. You can think of bandwidth as a highway with cars travelling on it. The highway is the network connection and the cars are the data. The wider the highway, the more cars can travel on it at one time. Therefore more cars can get to their destinations faster. The same principle applies to computer data — the more bandwidth, the more information that can be transferred within a given amount of time.


        (short for “binary digit”). The smallest piece of computer information, either the number 0 or 1.

        Binary Code

        The most basic language a computer understands, it is composed of a series of 0s and 1s. The computer interprets the code to form numbers, letters, punctuation marks, and symbols.


        This technology allows communication between devices using short-range radio. It’s most commonly used in transferring data from a mobile phone.


        Blu-ray is an optical disc format such as CD and DVD. It was developed for recording and playing back high-definition (HD) video and for storing large amounts of data. While a CD can hold 700 MB of data and a basic DVD can hold 4.7 GB of data, a single Blu-ray disc can hold up to 25 GB of data.


        The software used to access the Internet. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Safari are today’s most popular browsers.


        This refers to high-speed data transmission in which a single cable can carry a large amount of data at once. The most common types of Internet broadband connections are cable modems (which use the same connection as cable TV) and DSL modems (which use your existing phone line). Because of its multiple channel capacity, broadband has started to replace baseband, the single-channel technology originally used in most computer networks.

        Broadband Router

        A broadband router connects to your broadband enabled phone line and allows your computer to receive broadband. To set it up you will need your access details from your ISP and the instructions that came with your computer. Once it is set up it does very little but sits between your computer and your phone line.


        Most computers use combinations of eight bits, called bytes, to represent one character of data or instructions. For example, the word “cat” has three characters, and it would be represented by three bytes.


        A small data-memory storage area that a computer can use to instantly re-access data instead of re-reading the data from the original source, such as a hard drive. Browsers use a cache to store web pages so that the user may view them again without reconnecting to the Web.


        an abbreviation of ‘compact disc’. These are layered, polycarbonate discs that can have information burnt onto them.

        • CDR

        this is a disc that you can burn your own information (data or audio) onto (usually only once)

        • CDRW

        A recordable disc that you can write data to, multiple times.


        Common Gateway Interface. A programming standard that allows visitors to fill out form fields on a Web page and have that information interact with a database, possibly coming back to the user as another Web page.

        CGI may also refer to Computer-Generated Imaging, the process in which sophisticated computer programs create still and animated graphics, such as special effects for movies.


        A text file sent by a website that is stored on your computer and relays back to the website things about you or your computer. These are generally required by online shopping sites.


        This stands for Central Processing Unit and in simple terms is the heart of your computer. Every piece of information runs through it and it pumps it out and makes the computer work. The faster your CPU, the faster your computer will run. The two most common manufacturers of CPU’s are Intel and AMD.


        A collection of similar information stored in a file, such as a database of addresses. This information may be created and stored in a database management system (DBMS).


        The main directory of the user interface. Desktops usually contain icons such as “My Computer” or “Trash Can” etc. It can also display icons of frequently used applications, as requested by the user.

        Dual Core Processor

        The Intel Core Duo, the AMD X2, and the dual-core PowerPC G5 are all examples of CPUs that use dual-core technologies. These CPUs each combine two processor cores on a single silicon chip (computer chip). This means they can perform operations up to twice as fast as a single processor can.

        This dual core technology is different to a “dual processor” configuration, in which two physically separate CPUs work together. However, some high-end machines, such as the PowerPC G5 Quad, use two separate dual-core processors together, providing up to four times the performance of a single processor.


        an abbreviation of ‘digital versatile disc. These are optical storage discs (very much like CDs). They hold a lot more information than CDs (4.7Gb up to 17Gb for layered discs)

        • DVD-R/DVD+R

        Short for Short for DVD-Recordable.


        An electronic (usually hand-held) reading device that allows a person to view digitally stored reading materials.


        Electronic mail sent between computers that may be across the office or around the world. Examples of email programs are Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail.

        E-mail Web Access

        Is a solution to making emails accessible from anywhere through a Standard internet connection.


        Encryption is the process of transmitting scrambled data so that only authorized recipients can unscramble it. E.G. passwords in complex computer systems.


        This is a network cabling standard for a local-area network (LAN).


        Facebook is a free-access social networking website. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves.


        A firewall will block unwanted intrusions on your computer. When accessing the internet it is recommended that you use a firewall for protection. Firewall’s can be built into your Router or can be software on your computer.


        Apple® Computer’s high-speed data transfer. Frequently used to import video to a computer.

        Graphics Card

        This is a dedicated device to processing the visuals that you see on the screen. The resolution or quality of the visuals on your screen will be determined by this. Many games will require you to have a powerful graphics card though most programs will run on a basic one.


        A person with technical expertise who “break into” computer systems.

        Hard Disk Drive

        The hard drive is where all of your files on your computer are stored. Think of this as a big filing cabinet where you put your documents, music, pictures etc.


        Hypertext Markup Language. A standard of text markup conventions used for documents on the World Wide Web. Browsers interpret the codes to give the text structure and formatting (such as bold, blue, or italic).


        Hypertext Transfer Protocol. A common system used to request and send HTML documents on the World Wide Web. It is the first portion of all URL addresses on the World Wide Web (e.g.,


        Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Often used in intracompany internet sites. Passwords are required to gain access.


        Text or an image that is connected by hypertext coding to a different location. By selecting the text or image with a mouse, the computer “jumps to” (or displays) the linked text.


        An international conglomeration of interconnected computer networks. Begun in the late 1960s, it was developed in the 1970s to allow government and university researchers to share information. The Internet is not controlled by any single group or organization. Its original focus was research and communications, but it continues to expand, offering a wide array of resources for business and home users.

        IP address

        Also known as an “IP number” or simply an “IP,” this is a code made up of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet. Every computer requires an IP address to connect to the Internet. IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by three dots. For example “” or “”.


        Apple Mac (short for Macintosh) is a Personal Computer that specifically runs MacOS. They can be desktops (MacPro Tower, PowerMac, iMac, MacMini) or laptops (MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air). Using virtulisation software they can also run Windows or Linux.


        This is where your computer stores files (or parts of files) temporarily for processing. Do not confuse this with the hard drive; a computer user cannot store anything in the memory, unlike a hard drive. The more memory you have the smoother your computer will run when you have many things open. This will not directly affect the speed of your machine.


        This is the pointing device that you use to point and click. Try to get a mouse with infrared as they do not need regular maintenance.

        Ongoing Network Management and support contract with remote administrative access

        Is a solution that takes the stress of IT problems away from you and puts it safely with us. A network management and support contract means that if you have a problem with your computers or network we will sort it out for you at no extra charge* to your additional contract and remote^ administrative support means that we can safely and securely do this on occasions without having an engineer onsite.

        * No extra charge for labour just parts if required.

        ^ Remote support only done with your permission to access your network each time.

        Operating System

        All computers have an operating system that, among other things, is used for starting the computer and running other programs. It is what makes the computer functional. The operating system performs important tasks like receiving input from the keyboard and mouse, sending information to the screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, as well as controlling the various units such as disks, printers, etc. Examples of operating systems are: Windows XP, Mac OS, Novell, UNIX and Linux.


        One hard disk can be divided into one or more partitions. Each partition is regarded as one logical storage unit, and normally contains one file system. In the Windows operating systems (95/98/NT/2000) each partition is assigned one station letter (C:, D: etc). For the user it looks like there are several hard disks in the computer.


        A generic term for a Personal Computer – they can run various Operating Systems (Windows, Mac OS, Linux), but a most commonly associated with Microsoft Windows.

        Peer to Peer Networking

        Is a simple network solution that connects two or more PC’s together, so that resources can be shared without using a dedicated machine (A Server). For best networking performance a peer – peer network should not run more than 10 – 15 computers.


        The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the users information.


        This allows you to print documents from your computer. There are many types of printers and there will be one that suits your needs. Below is a guide to the different types of printers

        • Laser

        A laser printer can print very fast and at very good quality for documents such as letters. If you wish to print photos this is not the printer for you as it cannot handle tones that will be in your photos.

        • Ink Jet

        An ink jet printer is designed to serve all needs. A good quality ink jet printer will be able to print documents such as letters but will also be able to print photos at a reasonable quality. Quite often the paper that is used with an Ink Jet printer will make a large difference to the quality of the print. When you are printing photos try to use Photo Quality Paper.

        • Photo Printer

        If you wish to print photos that you have taken on your digital camera then a photo printer is the best option. A good quality photo printer will print almost as well as though you had developed from your old camera.


        A network is when you have two or more computers connected to each other. The purpose of a network is to enable the sharing of files and information between multiple systems. The Internet could be described as a global network of networks.

        Computer networks can be connected through cables, such as Ethernet cables or phone lines, or wirelessly, using wireless networking cards that send and receive data through the air.

        Example of a computer network connected through cables

        • Network Fax Systems

        Is a simple solution that allows you to send a fax from your PC.

        • Network Broadband Access with Firewall Security

        Is a solution that allows your broadband internet connection to be accessed by all computers on the network weather it be wired or wireless. Firewall security is software that is run on the system to prevent unauthorised access to your network or data.

        • Mail Servers and Client Systems

        A mail server is a computer that specifically handles the sending, receiving and storage of email messages. The client system is a specific program that is used to access and create your email messages.

        Screen Resolution

        This refers to the amount of pixels (individual dots) that appear on the screen. Common resolution sizes are 1024×768 and 1280×800. The higher the resolution the more crisp the image will appear on your screen. Your graphics card and monitor combined will have an optimum resolution; try not to exceed this amount as it will affect the speed at which graphics can be rendered on your computer.

        Solid State Drive

        A storage device that keeps data on a flash drive, which has no moving parts

        Sound card

        A card inside the computer which allows the computer to produce sounds through internal or external speakers. Sound cards allow the computer to play digital audio and/or musical instrument sounds.


        Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.


        The URL is the address of a website that you type into the address bar of your browser to view that website. Use the “favourites”/”bookmarks” feature of your browser to save the URL’s of the websites you like so you won’t have to remember them. Click here to save the URL of PCIQ


        This stands for Universal Serial Bus. Devices that have a USB connection plug into the USB slot on your computer. Older computers may not have this but today it is standard. External devices such as printers, mice, cameras etc will have this connection type.


        A way for your computer to run multiple Operating Systems.


        A device for capturing video on a computer.


        This is the name of Microsoft’s PC Operating System, the most version is Windows 7.

        Wireless Access Point (WAP)

        This connects to the Router and allows your wireless enabled computer to connect to the internet without the use of wires. If this device is set up right it will also allow you to communicate from one computer to another. It is worth taking care when setting up this device as there are security considerations. To take the stress out of setting up this device and for peace of mind contact PCIQ for an agent to come and set it up for you.

        Wireless Integration

        Is a solution that enables your office network to run without wires.

        Outlook web access-OWA

        Access to your corporate email via an internet connection when working remotely


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