Computing terms explained in plain English
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User Account Control. Part of Vista that attempts to protect your PC by verifying major decisions.
A popular and easy-to-use version of Linux.
Universal Disk Format. A file system for storing data on optical discs.
Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. A modern replacement for the Bios, designed get a PC into a state where it can launch an operating system.
A command in most programs that reverses your last action. The undo command can get you out of trouble if you have made an error.
The process of removing unwanted applications from your PC. You might want to do this to free up hard disk space, or simply because you no longer use the program. Most programs have their own uninstall routine, or you can use Windows' uninstall command from Control Panel. In XP it is called 'Add or remove programs', in Vista it's 'Programs' and in Windows 7 it is called 'Programs and features'.
A utility that removes Windows programs properly by deleting not just the main program and its folders, but also the smaller ancillary files that are scattered round the hard disk. It should also remove any entries that have been made in your PC's Registry and system files.
Process of removing programs from your computer.
A robust, very stable operating system often used by businesses on powerful workstations and large computers, especially when it is important that applications do not crash. The free Linux operating system is a derivative of Unix.
Access to the internet for a flat monthly fee, with no additional telephone call charges.
To improve the performance or specification of your computer by adding more memory, a larger hard disk or making another improvement. Software can also be upgraded, usually by updating it to the latest version.
A type of networking socket that allows for devices to be connected directly to each other.
The process of transferring information to another computer on the internet.
The process of transferring information to another computer on the internet, often when publishing a web page. The process normally involves using the File Transfer Protocol, or FTP.
Universal Plug and Play. A standard for sharing media between computers and network devices.
Uninterruptible Power Supply. A device that sits between a computer and its main power supply to provide a (usually brief) emergency power supply in the event of a cut.
Intelligently expanding the size of an image or video file.
Uniform Resource Locator. A technical term for the unique address of a web page.
Universal Serial Bus. A standard that allows quick and easy connection of external peripherals such as storage devices to your PC. Devices can be added or removed while your PC is switched on.
Faster successor to USB that's used by such things as external disk drives.
A faster version of the USB standard used to connect devices to a computer. USB3 is expected to be more widespread by 2012, although some external storage devices already support the new standard and adapters to add USB3 sockets to computers have been available since 2010.
A small external or built-in device with several USB ports. It connects to your PC and serves as a relay station, allowing you to add multiple devices. External USB hubs can usually be placed on a desk for easy access to USB ports.
A collection of public groups of messages – newsgroups – that is accessible to a wide variety of computer systems worldwide, both on and off the internet. The act of writing a message that appears on Usenet is called posting. Newsgroups belong to hierarchies, usually divided by geography and interest. For example, news://uk.rec.cycling is a UK-based newsgroup about recreational cycling.
Content that is produced by website users who are not generally media professionals.
This is the face of a computer program; what it looks like to the person sitting in front of the monitor, and how it is used. Windows and the Apple Macintosh have a graphical user interface (GUI) which is easier to use than a purely text-based interface such as MS-Dos.
An identification used by someone to access a computer network.
A program that performs specific tasks on your PC, such as optimising memory use or compressing disk space.
Updating your subscription status