Answered By: Suzanne Schriefer, Education & General Education Librarian
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2017     Views: 165

Knowing these few terms will give you a good comfort level in working with your PC or desktop:

Network: A network is a system of computers interconnected by telephone wires or other means in order to share information.

The Internet is a network and you may also be running a home network if you have two or more computers at home sharing resources.

Operating System: A computer needs an operating system in order to print, save files, write to disk, read from disk, and, generally, operate!

Common operating systems are MAC OS, Unix, and the one most home users have – Windows. But each one of these operating systems has a type. For example, Windows has Windows Media, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Home.

Modem: A modem is a piece of hardware that connects your own computer to a network. If you use high speed from your cable company, you will have a cable modem. Likewise, if you use dial-up, you will have a dial-up modem. 

Printer: Your printer, of course, prints pages of information from your computer or from the Internet so you can retain hard copy records of vital information.

USB Port: Ports connect devices to your computer. Today's most popular port type is called a USB ("Universal Serial Bus") port. This allows computer manufacturers to just worry about having one type of port instead of having separate printer ports, separate digital camera ports, separate scanner ports, etc.

Firewall: Just as a firewall is built to contain a damaging fire, a computer software firewall disallows certain types of malicious internet activity from reaching your computer.

A virus scanner tries to identify damaging items once they are on your computer while a firewall tries to keep these items from ever reaching your computer.

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