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Our technicians promise to explain these terms to you in simple, everyday language! Here are some definitions of common “computer‐speak” for your information:

CPU (Central Processing Unit): This is the "brain" of the computer and oversees everything that the computer does.

PSU (Power Supply Unit): If the CPU is the "brain" of the computer, then the PSU is the "heart". This unit takes electricity and distributes it to all the major components in your computer.

Motherboard: This is the main circuit board in your computer. Most of the major components in your computer are connected to your Motherboard.

Data: The information in your computer, like numbers, characters, images and computer programs.

Bit: This is the smallest piece of data that your computer will have. A bit is a 0 or a 1.

Byte: Bits are arranged into groups of eight, known as "bytes".
Megabyte ‐one Megabyte or MB is one million bytes. Gigabyte ‐one Gigabyte or GB is one billion bytes, or one thousand megabytes.


RAM (Random Access Memory): This is a temporary storage area that your computer uses to hold information that is actively used and actively changing. RAM is very fast, but it is "volatile", meaning that it loses the data when your computer is turned off.

Hard Disk Drive: This is another device that is used to store your computer's data. It is also commonly referred to as the "Hard Drive". The difference between the hard drive and RAM is that the hard drive is "non‐volatile", meaning it can hold data even after the computer is turned off. The hard drive is also not as fast as RAM, but it usually has a lot more space to hold data. The storage space of your RAM and Hard Disk Drive are measured in Megabytes or Gigabytes. So, if you have a computer with an 80 GB Hard Drive, then it can hold 80 billion bytes of data.

Software: The programs that run in your computer

Hardware: The physical parts of your computer

BIOS (Basic Input / Output System): This is the software code that your computer runs when it is first turned on, or booted up. This code undergoes a POST (Power On Self Test) that checks to see that everything is working properly and prepares your computer for the Operating System to assume control.

Operating System: This is the main software that controls and manages your computer.

Malware (Malicious Software): Not all software programs are good for your computer. Some programs are created by malicious users with the intent of impeding your computer's functions, damaging or stealing your data, or taking over control of your computer for their own means. The main types of malware are viruses, Trojan horses, worms and spyware.

Virus: A type of malicious software program whose main characteristic is that it is able to replicate itself and spread to other computers by inserting copies of itself into other programs or documents.

Worm: A self replicating malicious software program similar to a computer virus. The main difference between a virus and a worm is that a worm does not need the user to run an infected program in order to spread itself. Worms are self contained and spread across a network by exploiting security flaws in widely used systems. Your computer only needs to have an unsecure connection to the internet to get infected by a worm.

Trojan horse: A malicious program that is disguised as legitimate software. The difference between Trojan Horses and viruses is that Trojan horses are self contained programs that cannot replicate themselves.

Spyware: Software programs that may or may not install themselves in stealth and that are designed to collect information and transmit that information to a second or third party without the user's consent or knowledge. Typically, spyware programs are less harmful in that they do not damage your computer's data and some may perform a useful function, however, they may have other unwanted side effects on your computer, such as slowing down your internet connection, causing your computer to run slowly or crash more frequently, or causing unwanted advertising (such as pop‐ups) to appear on your computer screen.

 

 

 

 


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