Computing terms explained in plain English
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A second copy of valued files, kept in case the originals are damaged.
The process of making a copy of valued files in case the originals are damaged.
Unwanted stripes on a printed page or display.
A measure of how much information can be transferred through a connection at one time.
A simple programming language.
A measure of data transfer speed. One baud indicates one signal sent per second.
A technique used by junk email filters to identify junk based on past experience.
A write-once recordable Blu-ray disc format.
A rewriteable Blu-ray disc format.
Blu-ray disc read-only memory. A type of optical disc that cannot have files added to it. Commonly used for distributing videos content and games.
Online ads targeted at users based on their web usage or email history – people who frequent pet forums might see more ads for dog food, for instance.
A version of software that's almost, but not yet finished. Beta versions are often released so they can be tested.
The plastic or metal border that surrounds a computer or TV screen.
A system for counting and storing information as a series of ones and zeros.
Using measurable personal characteristics, such as fingerprints, for identification.
Basic Input-Output System. Essential software built into every PC that connects the vital components. It's visible for a few seconds when the PC starts.
A contraction of 'Binary Digit', this is the smallest item of information a PC can handle. A bit can hold the value 1 or 0.
A type of image file made up from a grid of pixels. Bitmaps have a fixed size and cannot be resized without losing quality.
A measure of data transfer speed, or of the quality of digital video or audio files.
A technology for downloading files. Allows even very large files to be downloaded quickly.
A list of files, email addresses or websites known to be bad.
A piece of plastic fitted to a PC, and designed so it can be removed when adding a new part in its place.
A printing term for the areas of an image or document that don't fit on the printed page.
Short for Web Log, blogs are websites that contain individual entries; new entries are added at the top. Often used for diaries and news.
A technology that allows devices to communicate wirelessly over short distances.
A type of optical disc used to store high-definition films, or up to 50GB of files.
Bitmap. A type of image file.
A favourite site stored in the Firefox web browser. Internet Explorer bookmarks are called Favorites.
Logical statements such as AND, IF and OR used in programming. Named after the mathematician George Boole.
The process of starting up a PC after it has been turned off.
When it starts the computer looks on one disk for instructions. This is normally the hard disk, but in case of problems other boot disks can be used.
The area on the hard disk where the computer looks for instructions on how to start Windows.
A group of infected computers connected together via the internet, and used to infect other PCs, send junk email and perform other criminal tasks.
A fast, permanently connected internet connection such as ADSL or cable internet.
Short for web browser. A program used to view and interact with websites.
Memory fitted to a device that acts as a temporary storage area before passing data to another location or application.
A mistake in an application’s computer code that leads to unintentional or unexpected results.
To write data onto a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc.
A measure of data. One byte is eight bits, or enough to hold one character. 1,024 bytes make a kilobyte (KB).
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