Basic Computer Terms

As a beginner, one needs to understand the basic computer terms and definitions, to be able to learn more about computers. The following article will help you learn the lingo.
The computer has turned from being just a technological gadget to personal PC to a super technological personal gadget. There is nothing in the world that does not depend on it. You need to understand the basic computer terms and meanings in order to stay up-to-date with the world. If you do not know them, you look like a lost soul in the most happening world of technology. You need to book a movie ticket, so you need Internet access. You have to submit a presentation for your company's project, you need a computer to bail you out. It's out of date to use a video cassette for your recordings. Cassettes are like an ancient relic, its CD's and DVDs that are in vogue today. And to top it all, USB flash drives have created a niche in the minds of tech-savvy people.

Basic Computer Terms and Definitions


A computer is a computing device that is similar to an automated abacus that can execute a program, that is, a sequence of automatic instructions.


A program is an executable software. It contains compiled codes that run directly from the operating system.

Operating System

The operating system (OS) is the software that communicates with the hardware on the primary level. No software can be run without the operating system. It serves as a user interface and helps allocating memory, processes tasks, accesses disks, and peripheral.


A command is a series of step by step instructions that helps the PC perform a specific action.


The central processing unit or CPU, also known as the microprocessor or processor is the brain of the computer. It helps execute instructions in a software program and helps retrieve instructions from memory, comprehending and executing instructions, and helping direct the input and output.


The monitor or the screen of the PC against which, the operating system and access application programs, files, and documents are displayed is called the desktop.


The file is a unit for information storage that includes word-processor, spreadsheet, pictures, music, etc. Each file is differentiated with the help of a unique file name.


The folder is a unique system that helps in organizing the files, topics, programs and projects on the computer. The similar applications in a folder will be grouped together when an application program is loaded. It is similar to organizing files on a shelf in your cabinet.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is the region where the information is stored and helps the computer to permanently retain and store the data.


The system that consists of the monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, processor, scanner, etc., is known as the hardware. When the CPU is opened, the components that make a CPU are also the hardware.


A hyperlink is a program that helps one move from one web page to another. The text is underlined and the cursor that moves over this text document, takes the shape of a hand. This means there is a hyperlink added to the text and you can click on it to move over to another page or document.


The Internet is a world-wide network that helps connect millions of users around the world to share and exchange data, information, opinions, etc. The Internet is not similar to World Wide Web (WWW). The WWW is a service that is provided on the Internet for the users.


It is defined as the screen or display unit. The monitor helps in displaying the user interface and programs. It is a way for the user to interact with the computer, using the keyboard and mouse.


Do not be baffled, a mouse is a hand-held device that helps the user move across the flat surface and help control the pointer on the screen. It is a very accessible device, as it helps one move faster across the screen and perform many tasks quickly.


It is the peripheral unit that helps in typing in the words and numbers along with the symbols and thus communicate with computer. In other words, it is the way, how you can feed in information that needs to be processed.


Random Access Memory or RAM is the temporary storage space that helps place information so that is can execute the program and instructions given. Once a program is closed, the data is removed from RAM. The amount of RAM helps in determining the number of programs that can be run.


The web browser is an application that helps render the source code of World Wide Web or web pages that can be used by the user. The information is rendered in understandable form for the user by the browser. The Microsoft Internet Explorer is an example of the browser.


The peripherals are the input devices that are connected to the machines. The keyboard, mouse, and printer are peripherals. Some peripherals are important for the working of the machine and some are added components, without which one can work.


The network is a physical or logical construction that connects different computers together and helps them communicate. The networking is carried out through cabling or through wireless networking. The best example is the Internet that helps sites to connect.


The instructions that are provided to the computer with step-by-step actions that help executing a specific task is a software. A computer cannot function without a software.

Computers have become a part and parcel of our daily lives, without which we cannot function. Man has become so dependent on them that a minor glitch can send life into a tizzy. One needs to learn using this device as much as he needs to learn how to read and write. Today, people breathe software and eat hardware (hypothetically speaking). You do not want to be left out in this rat race of technically sound world. So begin by learning and teaching your kids these basic computer terms for beginners.