Support / Glossary of Terms
Here you will find some of the terms we use in our IT langage. We hope you find them useful. If you would like us to consider changing or adding some terms please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can either click on an item in the list or just scroll up and down to see each term. Use your browsers back button to return to a previous term.
A program (software) designed to advertise products and/or services via software. These ad’s range from new cars to gambling sites. Advertising via adware, embedded into ‘free’ software, funds the development of this ‘free’ software. Most commercial based adware is a subtle small ad within the software. Others, generally illegal, have none desirable adware that can include pornographic content popping up every time you turn on your computer.
Also See related terms Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rogue Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan Horse and Virus.
Software to prevent the infection of Viruses and other related malicious software. There are many different manufacturers, and versions, of Anti Virus software. Anti Virus software needs to be kept up to date, so that it is aware of the latest infections. These updates are generally done automatically over the internet, but may require a subscription normally by an annual licence.
It is important to check if your Anti Virus software is up to date and not to let your subscription expire. Pro Logic Computers (UK) Ltd recommends - AVG Internet Security for full comprehensive protection.
Also See related terms Adware, Firewall, Malware, Rogue Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan Horse and Virus.
You can never have too many copies of your data!
We recommend you save your documents onto your computer and also make a copy on-to a memory stick (or other type of external device). This way if either device fails you have a backup!
Do not save ONLY to a memory stick (or other type of external device). Some people save important data ONLY to a memory stick thinking it will be safe, when in fact it is worse then not having a backup at all. Think about it, if you lose or damage the memory stick you have lost your data.
You need to keep the backup separate from the original. In case of fire or theft. Unforunately we have had customers who have lost both backups in these situations.
If you backup to an external device, such as a memory stick, and you consider the information to be sensitive then encrypt (password protect) the data. There are lots of other program out there what can do the same.
Pro Logic Computers (UK) Ltd as developed a backup solution for servers that meets all of the above. Please enquire for more details.
Is a damaged area on your hard drive. Your computer will have difficulty reading or writing information to this area. A bit like a scratch on a vinyl record. If the data is not put to another area of the hard drive there is a possibility you will loose it. We may recommend a new hard drive if Bad Sectors are detected as a precaution, else if the hard drive failed completely you will loose all data.
Basic Input Output System a small basic piece of software built into your motherboard that contains settings to allow your computer to function. These settings include the time & date and are powered by a small battery.
Boot / Reboot
The process were the device is powered on, initialised and ready for use. Reboot is the shutdown, power off and on for it to become ready for use again.
BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)
Officially known as a STOP Error. It’s were your windows has encountered a serious problem and stopped to prevent damage to your computer. Windows STOP error can occur due to failing hardware or corruption in your software.
Central Processing Unit (CPU / Processor)
This is the part of your computer that does the thinking, a quicker processer will mean your computer can process information quicker and speed up your computer.
Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
Genuine versions of Microsoft ® software come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Microsoft ® Windows COA comes as a label (since Windows XP) that should be attached to your computer. This label contains a unique Product Key, this Product Key is a special code that is used if an install or reinstall of Windows is needed. It is important you keep this code safe as replacements are very expensive. It as been known on laptops to fade due to wear, so for this reason we would recommend you make a note of your product key.
An electric version based on ‘chain letter’ were the recipient is encouraged to forward on copies of the email to several other email recipients. These include Virus Hoaxes, Get Rich Schemes, Emotional Stories and even Jokes. Making you think the information will be valuable to other people by “the more people know the better”. Most are completely harmless, however the major concern is the replication of personal details within the email.
Chain Mail often contain lots of other recipient names, email addresses, email signatures, disclaimers, postal addresses and even telephone numbers.
By forwarding on a chain mail you are giving these personal details to other people and so on. Spambots can use these details to send Spam.
We recommend you do not forward on Chain Mail else you could eventually start setting spam and/or your email address be blacklisted as a spammer.
If you really need to forward on an email to multiple email addresses use Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) in your email program and remove any sender(s) personal details from the body of the email.
A process where we run a repair on the file structure of your hard drive. If for some reason the files in your hard drive are not what or where they should be (Corruption) then your computer may not function as expected.
Check Disk tries to repair these broken files. If these files are corrupted due to faults on your hard drive, known as bad sectors, Check Disk will move these files to a good area of the hard drive. However if this is the case we would normally recommend a hard drive replacement.
Main microchips (small intelligent components) on a mainboard are known as its Chipset. There are lots of different manufactures of chipsets and lots of different versions of these chipsets. If your mainboard gets replaced for repair or upgrade and has a different chipset from the original then your Operating System may get a little upset and become unstable. For this reason we would recommend a clean install of windows.
A command used to run Check Disk. See Check Disk for more details.
Is a complete wipe of your hard drive and just your Windows and Drivers installed on your computer. The basis on clean means no additional software, personal data, just the basics needed to make your computer work in Windows. If your computer has a recovery disk or partition we may use this see Factory Default.
Control Alt and Delete
This procedure can be used to recover from a program that as crashed or locked up, by closing the effected program in task manager.
It is done by pressing and hold the simultaneously CTRL and ALT keys down (found at the bottom of your keyboard) while tapping the DEL (found normally above the arrow keys in the middle of the keyboard). Once you have pressed the DEL key you can let go the CTRL and ALT.
Corruption / Corrupt Files
Corruption simply means that the data on your hard drive is not what it should be. Corruption can be fixed by either repairing the data or replacing the corrupted data with good versions.
Main reasons of corruption can be caused from and not limited to; viruses, failing hard drive, bad sectors, faulty RAM, not shutting down windows safely, power cuts, system crashes.
The point of a laptop or netbook where you plug in the charger. Due to wear and tear these DC Jacks can become loose and your laptop may start having problems charging. If this is the case we would recommend you have the DC Jack replaced as soon as possible before further expensive damage is cause.
The Desktop is the main screen of your windows (in simple terms). This is the area where you can see your personal desktop wallpaper, the icons on your desktop and the Task Bar (containing the Start Button, any running programs and the time). If you close or minimize all running programs then you will see you desktop. If you have multiple user profiles then you can have different customised desktops for each user.
Programs that control the hardware and allows you to use them. For example you will need printer driver to make your printer work. Drivers are very important and sometimes need to be updated to help stability and performance.
Stands for Digital Visual Interface. Some versions of DVI can carry both analogue and digital video signals. You can use adaptors to convert DVI to HDMI, and if the DVI is analogue compatible you can use an adaptor to convert it to VGA. This port can be used to connect your computer to a monitor or a TV, but you will need another cable or speakers for the sound. Also see HDMI Port and VGA Port.
See Network Cable
Factory Default / Factory Reinstall
Almost like a Clean Install of Windows but using the computer manufactures recovery process. This will put your computer back to how it was when it was first made, with any preloaded software. Without any personal data, programs or hardware you have installed afterwards.
Your link to the outside world via the internet is like a massive motorway. Each lane of this motorway carries traffic in different directions and for different reasons. For example one of lane is used to send emails another to receive, these lanes are technically known as Ports.
Ports are used for all kinds of things that include; remote control of your computer, sharing files on a network, browsing the internet, playing online games.
A Firewall is designed to block traffic on the lanes (ports) that pose a risk such as remote control and sharing files on your computer, but allow traffic considered safe like emails and browsing.
However Firewalls can also block wanted traffic, like online gaming, other devices within your network and even the access to the Internet.
Firewalls come two versions, software (i.e. Security Software) and hardware (i.e. routers). Most routers have firewalls that block all incoming traffic. We would recommend you have a software firewall even if you are using a router.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan horse and Virus.
A process to prepare a medium (such as your hard drive) for a clean start. For example formatting your camera’s memory card will remove all your photos and effectively make it empty for use again.
Format & Reinstall
See Clean Install
Our definition of Freezing is when the computer is not responding to either keyboard or mouse requests and the mouse pointer is not moving when the mouse is moved. Also see Locking Up.
The graphics card is a piece of hardware that displays all images on your monitor, they can vary in price. The better your graphics card the better your pc will be at playing games, large desktop work, 3D rendering, photoshop, Modern day graphics card can also come with blu-ray support enabling you to watch HD movies (other hardware maybe needed).
Hard Drive (HDD)
Hard Disk Drive stores your Windows and the programs you use as well as your personal data. In simple terms it like an office filling cabinet consisting of draws (drives), folders (directories) and files (files). Deleting, moving or copying a folder will affect all the files within that folder.
Is the physical parts, the bits you can see and touch like a printer, monitor or even internal parts or your computer such as your hard drive.
Stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. This carries digital video and sound can be used to connect your computer to a monitor or TV via an HMDI cable. Also see DVI Port and VGA Port.
See Network Cable
If the computer is not responding to either keyboard or mouse requests, but the mouse pointer moves, we call this ‘locking up’. Also see Freezing.
Mainboard / Motherboard
This is the main component in your computer that connects all other components together, hence the very important name of Main Board aka Mother Board. If a replacement main board is not the same type (namely chipset) then a clean install of Windows is usually recommended to ensure stability. Due to the nature of netbooks / laptops, mainboards can be the single most expensive item in a netbook / laptop, meaning they can be expensive to repair / replace.
Short for Malicious Software. The umbrella term for unfriendly versions of Adware, Spyware and other undesirable software.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan horse and Virus.
The more RAM you have the more your computer can think about things. Therefore more RAM will speed up your computer (to a certain extent).
Network cables are used to link your network device to your network hub or router via a cable. A lot of the network cables supplied with routers are yellow in colour but network cables and come in all different colours and lengths.
This method is apposed to using wireless and allows faster communication between the device and router. Devices include PCs, Laptops, Network Printers, Xbox360s and PlayStation3. Using a network cable other wireless can provide a better ping when playing games.
Network Interface Card (NIC)
Computers Network Interface Card is where you plug in a network cable. This allows the computer to communicate with other network devices and/or the internet via a router.
This is a term that we use that means we have backed up some/all of your data and put it in to a folder called oldhd.
The Oldhd folder may contain lots of files you need but also lots of files you don’t. We would advise you move any important data out of this folder in to your My Documents (for example).
This folder is located on your C: Drive and can be accessed via My Computer then Local Disk (C:).
Operating System is software which is the core of your computer. It allows you to control and use programs and (with the aid of drivers) hardware in or attached to your computer. There are many different type of operating systems that include and not limited to; Microsoft® Windows, Linux, MacOS®
Stands for Power On Self Test. This is the very first thing your computer does when you turn it on. Your computers BIOS will do a quick basic check to see if all your hardware is connected correctly and functional. If your BOIS finds a fault during POST your computer may just beep, display an error or sometimes just sit there with a blank screen.
See DC Jack
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
For a netbook / laptop computer we regard the Power Supply Unit to be the charger you use the power/charge your netbook / laptop. These power supplies are commonly replaced due to wear and tear. Also see DC Jacks.
However Power Supply Units in PC’s are internal. Basically it’s the part you plug your mains lead in to. Power Supplies are sensitive to Spikes, Surges, Power Cuts and Electric Storms. We recommend you use an Anti Surge mains supply to try and protect your power supply and ALWAYS unplug ANY electrical sensitive equipment from the mains and telephone line if you suspect lightening to happen.
Preloaded / Preinstalled
Software that was installed on your computer when it was manufactured. You may not get the installation disks to reinstall these preinstalled products so it is important to make sure you keep your recovery disks safe. Some computers have the recovery built in to your computer and have the option of backing up this recovery to disks (recommended). If a clean install of Windows is done you loose the preinstalled software, unless the recovery can be used.
See Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
This is like a technician’s back door in to your computer when your computer will not boot. The Recovery Console allows us to run various procedures to try and repair your computer.
To install software again. Reinstall may be required to repair the effected software or driver to replace missing or corrupted files that the effected software is dependent on.
Rouge Anti Virus
Rouge Anti Virus software is becoming a very common problem. Basically it’s a con. Software pretending to protect you and falsely reporting your computer is infected, and then claiming it can remove the infections once you activate the software by paying for it.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan horse and Virus.
A device that connects to your phone line to allow multiple computers to share the internet via broadband. It can also be used for other devices such as game consoles. If your router is a ‘wireless router’ you can connect to it wirelessly (provided your computer has a wireless adaptor). You can also use a network cable to connect your computer to the router.
Most routers have firewalls built in to them to provide some extra protection from the internet.
It is recommended that your router is in the master telephone point in the property and is always powered on. If you are having problems connecting to the internet rebooting your router could help.
No matter how good or up to date your Anti Virus software is you still can get malicious infections. Why? If you use illegal or unofficial sites to download things ‘like’ unlicensed music, movies, software and/or cheats to games you maybe asked to install software to compliment this, this software can open up backdoors in to your computer and allow hackers or malicious software in to your computer. Because this activity is actioned and authorised by you, your Anti Virus software may assume it’s genuine and allow it through. We recommend any user of your computer does not use any software or visit any sites that promotes downloads of unlicensed music, movies, software, gambling, adult content and/or game cheats. If you sure the computer with family member we would recommend you make the other users limited accounts.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Spam, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan horse and Virus.
Screensavers started off in life to protect the screen (hence its name) initiated by inactive use of the computer in a specified time. By having moving images or just a black blank screen would prevent a long term still image being ‘burnt’ in to the screen leaving a ghost type image that couldn’t be removed. However this is not the case with modern LCD (flat screen) monitors. These days screen savers are used for cosmetic values or to stop someone seeing what’s on your monitor while you are away from your computer.
Refers to programs, drivers and even your operating system. Software can easily be damaged by; improper use, other software, failing hardware or viruses. Software generally can be repaired by reinstalling the effected software or removing the cause of the problem (i.e. viruses or conflicting software).
Unwanted, Junk and unsolicited email received is known as Spam. Once you start getting spam there is various things you can do to try and stop it. First unsubscribe to the mail list. Most commercial spam have instructions on how to stop receiving within the email. Other none commercial spam you may have to block the sender. If you start to get a lot of spam you may have to install some Anti Spam software to filter out the good from the bad. Also someone you know might be infected with a spambot.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spambots, Spyware, Trojan horse and Virus.
Software that sends unsolicited emails (spam) to masses of emails address from your computer. They often use email addresses found on your computer and also spoof the senders email address, making it look like it come from someone else. If someone you know receives spam addressed from you it may not be your computer that is infected, but someone you both know.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spyware, Trojan horse and Virus.
A program (software) design to ‘spy’ on activity or stored information on your computer. These range from market research to getting your bank details. Some friendly version of spyware come with ‘free’ software that report back to their sponsors what sites you visit so that they can target you with advertising. Other none friendly versions can ‘steal’ your personal details for fraud.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Trojan horse and Virus.
Up until Windows Vista the Start Button actually had the word ‘start’ on it. Now it’s just the Windows Flag Logo in a circle. It normally can be found at the end of your task bar in the bottom left of you screen.
The Start Button will allow you to access all of the programs, resources and settings of the computer.
Ever wish you can turn back time? System Restore returns your computer to an earlier time undoing any changes made to your programs and Windows. Your personal data is generally left intact.
Also see Task Bar
Normally at the bottom of the screen when in Windows, but can be moved and customized. This ‘bar’ normally consists of your Start Button, Quick Launch Icons, Any Running Programs, Notification Area and the Time.
This will show every program (application) and process running on your computer and what resources each of these are taking. From Task Manager you can force an application or process to end. It is not recommended to prematurely end a application or process unless you are having problems, else you can loose any unsaved work.
Trial version of software allows you to try before you buy. Most trials versions are fully functional for a period of time. After this time you can either uninstall the software or purchase a licence to activate the full version. Example AVG Internet Security Trial will protect your computer for 30 days after which you must purchase a licence.
Malicious software hiding inside genuine safe looking software. This is to trick the user to run the software thus allowing the Trojan to run.
An example; An email from a well known courier company advising on your recent consignment, with an attachment looking like a genuine Word document. However the document has a Trojan and when you open the attachment you infect your computer.
Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Malware, Rouge Anti Virus, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware and Virus.
Are enhancements to software already installed on your computer. These enhancements could be to improve performance, stability, security and/or compatibility with other software. Microsoft release updates to Windows very frequently and it is recommended to download and install these updates.
User Profiles / Account Profiles
Each user of the computer can have a User Profile (also known as Account Profile). This allows you to separate your personal files with other users of the same computer. It is not compulsory to create a profile for everyone in the house hold or work place, most people are happy with sharing the one profile.
Profile’s can also be password protected to stop someone else using it.
Some can also be set to ‘limited accounts’ to limit the user of these profiles causing damaged (example installing or changing something they shouldn’t be).
If you see other names on the welcome screen you have multiple account profiles. If your computers boots straight to the desktop the chances are you have only one profile.
See Graphics Card
Stands for Video Graphics Array, this is generally blue and has 3 rows of 15 holes. This port can be used to connect your computer to a monitor or a TV with a VGA Port, via a VGA cable. VGA cables don’t carry sound so you will need an additional cable if your monitor or TV as speakers. Also see DVI Port and HDMI Port.
See Graphics Card
A malicious program designed to replicate itself and spread from computer to computer via what ever means it can. Viruses can cause damage to your software and/or your personal files. Viruses can also carry other malicious software such as Spambots, Spyware and Trojan Horses. Anti virus programs are designed to prevent these ‘infections’ from getting on to your computer. Also See related terms Adware, Anti Virus, Firewall, Rouge Anti Virus, Malware, Safe Surfing, Spam, Spambots, Spyware and Trojan horse.
Some people (wrongly) call this the screensaver. A Wall Paper is basically a picture on your desktop background. It is recommend not to have a wall paper picture that is too big in size, such as one that as been scanned or taken to a very high resolution camera. Big pictures on your wall paper take up valuable resources of the computer while running.
You would normally get a Welcome Screen if you have multiple user profiles or a password on your Windows account. Once you have selected a user to log in as and/or typed a password then your desktop will be loaded and shown. Business networks normally have to press CTRL+ALT+DEL before entering a username and/or password.
We refer ‘Windows’ to being Microsoft® Windows and all of it’s versions from Windows 95 to the newer Windows 8. Windows forms part of your Operating System and without it your computer is just a piece of hardware.
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