Computer Jargon Explained

Technology advancements are happening far quicker than most of us can keep up with. Ultimately, as technology changes so does the endless amount of terminology and jargon that we have to get to grips with. This guide to computer jargon will help you to understand the difference between a Hard Drive and the cloud, and everything in between.


Hard disk drive – This is essentially the place where your computer stores information on a permanent basis. If you create a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation you’ll save it to your hard disk drive and it will stay there until you delete it.

Random Access Memory (RAM) – Whenever you have a program open on your computer it is running from your RAM. RAM is your computer’s memory that is used for running programmes. Ultimately the greater amount of RAM your computer has, the more programmes it will be able to handle at once.

USB stick – USB sticks work in a similar way to your hard disk drive in that you can save information to them. However, as these can be plugged into any computer with a USB port you’ll be able to access the files from any system that you plug it into. The files will stay on your device until you delete them.

Motherboard – The motherboard is a circuit board that links everything together on your computer or mobile device; consider it the main hub that allows everything to work with each other.


Operating System (OS) – An operating system is a piece of software on your device that is responsible for how things look and behave. There is a wealth of operating systems available on both mobiles and computers and their main difference is appearance. From a functional perspective all these operating systems translate your command into a response from your device, essentially being the thing that allows you to interact with your mobile or computer.

The Internet & Connectivity:

Web browser – A piece of software that displays websites and allows you to search the web. 

Local Area Network – A Local Area Network is any network of devices that are connected to each other to share information. Generally these are used within businesses to share documents, images, videos and more.

Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi is used to connect a wireless device to the Internet through a wireless hotspot.

Bluetooth – Bluetooth is a wireless connection that deals with short-range signals. The latest version of Bluetooth is version 4 and each version indicates a difference in usage, connection speed and compatibility. Devices such as wireless headsets and car kits primarily operate via Bluetooth.

IP-Address – This is a unique number that is assigned to every device that connects to the Internet or a network.

Server – A powerful computer that sends information to other devices ether through the Internet or a network. The most common use of a server is the hosting of websites. As a user connects to a server they will be displayed a webpage.

Proxy – A server that acts as an intermediary from users that are looking to gain access to information held from other servers.

The cloud – The use of networks and remote servers to store information on the Internet rather than on a hard disk drive.

Internet Security:

Malware – Refers to a host of hostile software that are designed to harm your system. These include viruses, worms, spyware, adware and much more.

Anti-virus – A piece of software that is designed specifically to detect and destroy computer viruses before they infect your system.

Firewall – Firewalls are programmes that act to try and protect computers from malware. This is achieved by controlling the inbound and outbound communications of a device to reduce the risk of viewing information that could potentially harm your device.

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