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Dell OptiPlex GX620
Terms in this Glossary are provided for informational purposes only and may or may not describe features included with your particular computer.
AC alternating current The form of electricity that powers your computer when you plug the AC adapter power cable in to an electrical outlet.
ACPI advanced configuration and power interface A power management specification that enables Microsoft® Windows® operating systems to put a computer in standby or hibernate mode to conserve the amount of electrical power allocated to each device attached to the computer.
AGP accelerated graphics port A dedicated graphics port that allows system memory to be used for video-related tasks. AGP delivers a smooth, true-color video image because of the faster interface between the video circuitry and the computer memory.
antivirus software A program designed to identify, quarantine, and/or delete viruses from your computer.
APR advanced port replicator A docking device that allows you to conveniently use a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other devices with your portable computer.
ASF alert standards format A standard to define a mechanism for reporting hardware and software alerts to a management console. ASF is designed to be platform- and operating system-independent.
backup A copy of a program or data file on a floppy disk, CD, or hard drive. As a precaution, back up the data files from your hard drive regularly.
battery An internal power source used to operate portable computers when not connected to an AC adapter and an electrical outlet.
battery life span The length of time (years) during which a portable computer battery is able to be depleted and recharged.
battery operating time The length of time (minutes or hours) that a portable computer battery holds a charge while powering the computer.
BIOS basic input/output system A program (or utility) that serves as an interface between the computer hardware and the operating system. Unless you understand what effect the settings have on the computer, do not change the settings for this program. Also referred to as system setup.
bit The smallest unit of data interpreted by your computer.
Bluetooth A wireless technology standard for short-range (9 m [29 feet]) networking devices that allows for enabled devices to automatically recognize each other.
boot sequence Specifies the order of the devices from which the computer attempts to boot.
bootable CD A CD that you can use to start your computer. In case your hard drive is damaged or your computer has a virus, ensure that you always have a bootable CD or floppy disk available. Your Drivers and Utilities or Resource CD is a bootable CD.
bootable disk A disk that you can use to start your computer. In case your hard drive is damaged or your computer has a virus, ensure that you always have a bootable CD or floppy disk available.
bps bits per second The standard unit for measuring data transmission speed.
BTU British thermal unit A measurement of heat output.
bus A communication pathway between the components in your computer.
bus speed The speed, given in MHz, that indicates how fast a bus can transfer information.
byte The basic data unit used by your computer. A byte is usually equal to 8 bits.
C Celsius A temperature measurement system where 0° is the freezing point and 100° is the boiling point of water.
cache A special high-speed storage mechanism which can be either a reserved section of main memory or an independent high-speed storage device. The cache enhances the efficiency of many processor operations.
L1 cache Primary cache stored inside the processor.
L2 cache Secondary cache which can either be external to the processor or incorporated into the processor architecture.
carnet An international customs document that facilitates temporary imports into foreign countries. Also known as a merchandise passport.
CD compact disc An optical form of storage media, typically used for audio and software programs.
CD drive A drive that uses optical technology to read data from CDs.
CD player The software used to play music CDs. The CD player displays a window with buttons that you use to play a CD.
CD-R CD recordable A recordable version of a CD. Data can be recorded only once onto a CD-R. Once recorded, the data cannot be erased or written over.
CD-RW CD rewritable A rewritable version of a CD. Data can be written to a CD-RW disc, and then erased and written over (rewritten).
CD-RW drive A drive that can read CDs and write to CD-RW (rewritable CDs) and CD-R (recordable CDs) discs. You can write to CD-RW discs multiple times, but you can write to CD-R discs only once.
CD-RW/DVD drive A drive, sometimes referred to as a combo drive, that can read CDs and DVDs and write to CD-RW (rewritable CDs) and CD-R (recordable CDs) discs. You can write to CD-RW discs multiple times, but you can write to CD-R discs only once.
clock speed The speed, given in MHz, that indicates how fast computer components that are connected to the system bus operate.
COA Certificate of Authenticity The Windows alpha-numeric code located on a sticker on your computer. You may need the COA to complete the operating system setup or reinstallation. Also referred to as the Product Key or Product ID.
Control Panel A Windows utility that allows you to modify operating system and hardware settings, such as display settings.
controller A chip that controls the transfer of data between the processor and memory or between the processor and devices.
CRIMM continuity rambus in-line memory module A special module that has no memory chips and is used to fill unused RIMM slots.
cursor The marker on a display or screen that shows where the next keyboard, touch pad, or mouse action will occur. It often is a blinking solid line, an underline character, or a small arrow.
DDR SDRAM double-data-rate SDRAM A type of SDRAM that doubles the data burst cycle, improving system performance.
device Hardware such as a disk drive, printer, or keyboard that is installed in or connected to your computer.
device driver See driver.
DIN connector A round, six-pin connector that conforms to DIN (Deutsche Industrie-Norm) standards; it is typically used to connect PS/2 keyboard or mouse cable connectors.
disk striping A technique for spreading data over multiple disk drives. Disk striping can speed up operations that retrieve data from disk storage. Computers that use disk striping generally allow the user to select the data unit size or stripe width.
DMA direct memory access A channel that allows certain types of data transfer between RAM and a device to bypass the processor.
docking device See APR.
DMTF Distributed Management Task Force A consortium of hardware and software companies who develop management standards for distributed desktop, network, enterprise, and Internet environments.
domain A group of computers, programs, and devices on a network that are administered as a unit with common rules and procedures for use by a specific group of users. A user logs on to the domain to gain access to the resources.
DRAM dynamic random-access memory Memory that stores information in integrated circuits containing capacitors.
driver Software that allows the operating system to control a device such as a printer. Many devices do not work properly if the correct driver is not installed in the computer.
DSL Digital Subscriber Line A technology that provides a constant, high-speed Internet connection through an analog telephone line.
dual display mode A display setting that allows you to use a second monitor as an extension of your display. Also referred to as extended display mode.
DVD digital versatile disc A disc usually used to store movies. DVDs are double-sided, whereas CDs are single-sided. DVD drives read most CD media as well.
DVD drive A drive that uses optical technology to read data from DVDs and CDs.
DVD player The software used to watch DVD movies. The DVD player displays a window with buttons that you use to watch a movie.
DVD+RW DVD rewritable A rewritable version of a DVD. Data can be written to a DVD+RW disc, and then erased and written over (rewritten). (DVD+RW technology is different from DVD-RW technology.)
DVD+RW drive A drive that can read DVDs and most CD media and write to DVD+RW (rewritable DVDs) discs.
DVI digital video interface A standard for digital transmission between a computer and a digital video display; the DVI adapter works through the computer's integrated graphics.
ECC error checking and correction A type of memory that includes special circuitry for testing the accuracy of data as it passes in and out of memory.
ECP extended capabilities port A parallel connector design that provides improved bidirectional data transmission. Similar to EPP, ECP uses direct memory access to transfer data and often improves performance.
EIDE enhanced integrated device electronics An improved version of the IDE interface for hard drives and CD drives.
EMI electromagnetic interference Electrical interference caused by electromagnetic radiation.
ENERGY STAR® Environmental Protection Agency requirements that decrease the overall consumption of electricity.
EPP enhanced parallel port A parallel connector design that provides bidirectional data transmission.
ESD electrostatic discharge A rapid discharge of static electricity. ESD can damage integrated circuits found in computer and communications equipment.
expansion card A circuit board that installs in an expansion slot on the system board in some computers, expanding the capabilities of the computer. Examples include video, modem, and sound cards.
expansion slot A connector on the system board (in some computers) where you insert an expansion card, connecting it to the system bus.
Express Service Code A numeric code located on a sticker on your Dell computer. Use the Express Service Code when contacting Dell for assistance. Express Service Code service may not be available in some countries.
extended display mode A display setting that allows you to use a second monitor as an extension of your display. Also referred to as dual display mode.
extended PC Card A PC Card that extends beyond the edge of the PC Card slot when installed.
Fahrenheit A temperature measurement system where 32° is the freezing point and 212° is the boiling point of water.
FCC Federal Communications Commission A U.S. agency responsible for enforcing communications-related regulations that state how much radiation computers and other electronic equipment can emit.
floppy drive A disk drive that can read and write to floppy disks.
folder A term used to describe space on a disk or drive where files are organized and grouped. Files in a folder can be viewed and ordered in various ways, such as alphabetically, by date, and by size.
format The process that prepares a drive or disk for file storage. When a drive or disk is formatted, the existing information on it is lost.
FSB front side bus The data path and physical interface between the processor and RAM.
FTP file transfer protocol A standard Internet protocol used to exchange files between computers connected to the Internet.
G gravity A measurement of weight and force.
GB gigabyte A measurement of data storage that equals 1024 MB (1,073,741,824 bytes). When used to refer to hard drive storage, the term is often rounded to 1,000,000,000 bytes.
GHz gigahertz A measurement of frequency that equals one thousand million Hz, or one thousand MHz. The speeds for computer processors, buses, and interfaces are often measured in GHz.
graphics mode A video mode that can be defined as x horizontal pixels by y vertical pixels by z colors. Graphics modes can display an unlimited variety of shapes and fonts.
GUI graphical user interface Software that interacts with the user by means of menus, windows, and icons. Most programs that operate on the Windows operating systems are GUIs.
hard drive A drive that reads and writes data on a hard disk. The terms hard drive and hard disk are often used interchangeably.
heat sink A metal plate on some processors that helps dissipate heat.
help file A file that contains descriptive or instructional information about a product. Some help files are associated with a particular program, such as Help in Microsoft Word. Other help files function as stand-alone reference sources. Help files typically have a filename extension of .hlp or .chm.
hibernate mode A power management mode that saves everything in memory to a reserved space on the hard drive and then turns off the computer. When you restart the computer, the memory information that was saved to the hard drive is automatically restored.
HTML hypertext markup language A set of codes inserted into an Internet web page intended for display on an Internet browser.
HTTP hypertext transfer protocol A protocol for exchanging files between computers connected to the Internet.
Hz hertz A unit of frequency measurement that equals 1 cycle per second. Computers and electronic devices are often measured in kilohertz (kHz), megahertz (MHz), gigahertz (GHz), or terahertz (THz).
IC Industry Canada The Canadian regulatory body responsible for regulating emissions from electronic equipment, much as the FCC does in the United States.
IC integrated circuit A semiconductor wafer, or chip, on which thousands or millions of tiny electronic components are fabricated for use in computer, audio, and video equipment.
IDE integrated device electronics An interface for mass storage devices in which the controller is integrated into the hard drive or CD drive.
infrared sensor A port that allows you to transfer data between the computer and infrared-compatible devices without using a cable connection.
integrated Usually refers to components that are physically located on the computer's system board. Also referred to as built-in.
I/O input/output An operation or device that enters and extracts data from your computer. Keyboards and printers are I/O devices.
I/O address An address in RAM that is associated with a specific device (such as a serial connector, parallel connector, or expansion slot) and allows the processor to communicate with that device.
IrDA Infrared Data Association The organization that creates international standards for infrared communications.
IRQ interrupt request An electronic pathway assigned to a specific device so that the device can communicate with the processor. Each device connection must be assigned an IRQ. Although two devices can share the same IRQ assignment, you cannot operate both devices simultaneously.
ISP Internet service provider A company that allows you to access its host server to connect directly to the Internet, send and receive e-mail, and access websites. The ISP typically provides you with a software package, user name, and access phone numbers for a fee.
Kb kilobit (written as Kb) A unit of data that equals 1024 bits. A measurement of the capacity of memory integrated circuits.
KB kilobyte A unit of data that equals 1024 bytes but is often referred to as 1000 bytes.
A command requiring you to press multiple keys at the same time.
kHz kilohertz (written as kHz) A measurement of frequency that equals 1000 Hz.
LAN local area network A computer network covering a small area. A LAN usually is confined to a building or a few nearby buildings. A LAN can be connected to another LAN over any distance through telephone lines and radio waves to form a wide area network (WAN).
LCD liquid crystal display The technology used by portable computer and flat-panel displays.
LED light-emitting diode An electronic component that emits light to indicate the status of the computer.
local bus A data bus that provides a fast throughput for devices to the processor.
LPT line print terminal The designation for a parallel connection to a printer or other parallel device.
Mb megabit (written as Mb) A measurement of memory chip capacity that equals 1024 Kb.
Mbps megabits per second (written as Mbps) One million bits per second. This measurement is typically used for transmission speeds for networks and modems.
MB megabyte A measurement of data storage that equals 1,048,576 bytes. 1 MB equals 1024 KB. When used to refer to hard drive storage, the term is often rounded to 1,000,000 bytes.
MB/sec megabytes per second One million bytes per second. This measurement is typically used for data transfer ratings.
memory A temporary data storage area inside your computer. Because the data in memory is not permanent, it is recommended that you frequently save your files while you are working on them, and always save your files before you shut down the computer. Your computer can contain several different forms of memory, such as RAM, ROM, and video memory. Frequently, the word memory is used as a synonym for RAM.
memory address A specific location where data is temporarily stored in RAM.
memory mapping The process by which the computer assigns memory addresses to physical locations at start-up. Devices and software can then identify information that the processor can access.
memory module A small circuit board containing memory chips, which connects to the system board.
MHz megahertz A measure of frequency that equals 1 million cycles per second. The speeds for computer processors, buses, and interfaces are often measured in MHz.
modem A device that allows your computer to communicate with other computers over analog telephone lines. Three types of modems include: external, PC Card, and internal. You typically use your modem to connect to the Internet and exchange e-mail.
module bay A bay that supports devices such as optical drives, a second battery, or a Dell TravelLite module.
monitor The high-resolution TV-like device that displays computer output.
mouse A pointing device that controls the movement of the cursor on your screen. Typically you roll the mouse over a hard, flat surface to move the pointer or cursor on your screen.
ms millisecond A measure of time that equals one thousandth of a second. Access times of storage devices are often measured in ms.
network adapter A chip that provides network capabilities. A computer may include a network adapter on its system board, or it may contain a PC Card with an adapter on it. A network adapter is also referred to as a NIC (network interface controller).
NIC See network adapter.
notification area The section of the Windows taskbar that contains icons for providing quick access to programs and computer functions, such as the clock, volume control, and print status. Also referred to as system tray.
ns nanosecond A measure of time that equals one billionth of a second.
NVRAM nonvolatile random access memory A type of memory that stores data when the computer is turned off or loses its external power source. NVRAM is used for maintaining computer configuration information such as date, time, and other system setup options that you can set.
optical drive A drive that uses optical technology to read or write data from CDs, DVDs, or DVD+RWs. Example of optical drives include CD drives, DVD drives, CD-RW drives, and CD-RW/DVD combo drives.
parallel connector An I/O port often used to connect a parallel printer to your computer. Also referred to as an LPT port.
partition A physical storage area on a hard drive that is assigned to one or more logical storage areas known as logical drives. Each partition can contain multiple logical drives.
PC Card A removable I/O card adhering to the PCMCIA standard. Modems and network adapters are common types of PC Cards.
PCI peripheral component interconnect PCI is a local bus that supports 32-and 64-bit data paths, providing a high-speed data path between the processor and devices such as video, drives, and networks.
PCMCIA Personal Computer Memory Card International Association The organization that establishes standards for PC Cards.
PIN personal identification number A sequence of numerals and/or letters used to restrict unauthorized access to computer networks and other secure systems.
PIO programmed input/output A method of transferring data between two devices through the processor as part of the data path.
pixel A single point on a display screen. Pixels are arranged in rows and columns to create an image. A video resolution, such as 800 x 600, is expressed as the number of pixels across by the number of pixels up and down.
Plug-and-Play The ability of the computer to automatically configure devices. Plug and Play provides automatic installation, configuration, and compatibility with existing hardware if the BIOS, operating system, and all devices are Plug and Play compliant.
POST power-on self-test Diagnostics programs, loaded automatically by the BIOS, that perform basic tests on the major computer components, such as memory, hard drives, and video. If no problems are detected during POST, the computer continues the start-up.
A computer chip that interprets and executes program instructions. Sometimes the processor is referred to as the CPU (central processing unit).
program Any software that processes data for you, including spreadsheet, word processor, database, and game packages. Programs require an operating system to run.
PS/2 personal system/2 A type of connector for attaching a PS/2-compatible keyboard, mouse, or keypad.
PXE pre-boot execution environment A WfM (Wired for Management) standard that allows networked computers that do not have an operating system to be configured and started remotely.
RAID redundant array of independent disks A method of providing data redundancy. Some common implementations of RAID include RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, and RAID 50.
RAM random-access memory The primary temporary storage area for program instructions and data. Any information stored in RAM is lost when you shut down your computer.
readme file A text file included with a software package or hardware product. Typically, readme files provide installation information and describe new product enhancements or corrections that have not yet been documented.
read-Only Data and/or files you can view but cannot edit or delete. A file can have read-only status if:
refresh rate The frequency, measured in Hz, at which your screen's horizontal lines are recharged (sometimes also referred to as its vertical frequency). The higher the refresh rate, the less video flicker can be seen by the human eye.
resolution The sharpness and clarity of an image produced by a printer or displayed on a monitor. The higher the resolution, the sharper the image.
RFI radio frequency interference Interference that is generated at typical radio frequencies, in the range of 10 kHz to 100,000 MHz. Radio frequencies are at the lower end of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum and are more likely to have interference than the higher frequency radiations, such as infrared and light.
ROM read-only memory Memory that stores data and programs that cannot be deleted or written to by the computer. ROM, unlike RAM, retains its contents after you shut down your computer. Some programs essential to the operation of your computer reside in ROM.
RPM revolutions per minute The number of rotations that occur per minute. Hard drive speed is often measured in rpm.
RTC real time clock Battery-powered clock on the system board that keeps the date and time after you shut down the computer.
RTCRST real-time clock reset A jumper on the system board of some computers that can often be used for troubleshooting problems.
ScanDisk A Microsoft utility that checks files, folders, and the hard disk's surface for errors. ScanDisk often runs when you restart the computer after it has stopped responding.
SDRAM synchronous dynamic random-access memory A type of DRAM that is synchronized with the optimal clock speed of the processor.
serial connector An I/O port often used to connect devices such as a handheld digital device or digital camera to your computer.
Service Tag A bar code label on your computer that identifies your computer when you access Dell Support at support.dell.com or when you call Dell for customer service or technical support.
setup program A program that is used to install and configure hardware and software. The setup.exe or install.exe program comes with most Windows software packages. Setup program differs from system setup.
shortcut An icon that provides quick access to frequently used programs, files, folders, and drives. When you place a shortcut on your Windows desktop and double-click the icon, you can open its corresponding folder or file without having to find it first. Shortcut icons do not change the location of files. If you delete a shortcut, the original file is not affected. Also, you can rename a shortcut icon.
shutdown The process of closing windows and exiting programs, exiting the operating system, and turning off your computer. You can lose data if you turn off your computer before completing a shutdown.
smart card A card that is embedded with a processor and a memory chip. Smart cards can be used to authenticate a user on computers equipped for smart cards.
software Anything that can be stored electronically, such as computer files or programs.
S/PDIF Sony/Philips Digital Interface An audio transfer file format that allows the transfer of audio from one file to another without converting it to and from an analog format, which could degrade the quality of the file.
standby mode A power management mode that shuts down all unnecessary computer operations to save energy.
surge protectors Prevent voltage spikes, such as those that may occur during an electrical storm, from entering the computer through the electrical outlet. Surge protectors do not protect against lightning strikes or against brownouts, which occur when the voltage drops more than 20 percent below the normal AC-line voltage level.
Network connections cannot be protected by surge protectors. Always disconnect the network cable from the network connector during electrical storms.
SVGA super-video graphics array A video standard for video cards and controllers. Typical SVGA resolutions are 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768.The number of colors and resolution that a program displays depends on the capabilities of the monitor, the video controller and its drivers, and the amount of video memory installed in the computer.
S-video TV-out A connector used to attach a TV or digital audio device to the computer.
SXGA super-extended graphics array A video standard for video cards and controllers that supports resolutions up to 1280 x 1024.
SXGA+ super-extended graphics array plus A video standard for video cards and controllers that supports resolutions up to 1400 x 1050.
system board The main circuit board in your computer. Also known as the motherboard.
system setup A utility that serves as an interface between the computer hardware and the operating system. System setup allows you to configure user-selectable options in the BIOS, such as date and time or system password. Unless you understand what effect the settings have on the computer, do not change the settings for this program.
system tray See notification area.
TAPI telephony application programming interface Enables Windows programs to operate with a wide variety of telephony devices, including voice, data, fax, and video.
text editor A program used to create and edit files that contain only text; for example, Windows Notepad uses a text editor. Text editors do not usually provide word wrap or formatting functionality (the option to underline, change fonts, and so on).
travel module A plastic device designed to fit inside the module bay of a portable computer to reduce the weight of the computer.
UPS uninterruptible power supply A backup power source used when the electrical power fails or drops to an unacceptable voltage level. A UPS keeps a computer running for a limited amount of time when there is no electrical power. UPS systems typically provide surge suppression and may also provide voltage regulation. Small UPS systems provide battery power for a few minutes to enable you to shut down your computer.
USB universal serial bus A hardware interface for a low-speed device such as a USB-compatible keyboard, mouse, joystick, scanner, set of speakers, printer, broadband devices (DSL and cable modems), imaging devices, or storage devices. Devices are plugged directly in to a 4-pin socket on your computer or in to a multi-port hub that plugs in to your computer. USB devices can be connected and disconnected while the computer is turned on, and they can also be daisy-chained together.
UTP unshielded twisted pair Describes a type of cable used in most telephone networks and some computer networks. Pairs of unshielded wires are twisted to protect against electromagnetic interference, rather than relying on a metal sheath around each pair of wires to protect against interference.
UXGA ultra extended graphics array A video standard for video cards and controllers that supports resolutions up to 1600 x 1200.
video controller The circuitry on a video card or on the system board (in computers with an integrated video controller) that provides the video capabilitiesin combination with the monitorfor your computer.
video memory Memory that consists of memory chips dedicated to video functions. Video memory is usually faster than system memory. The amount of video memory installed primarily influences the number of colors that a program can display.
video mode A mode that describes how text and graphics are displayed on a monitor. Graphics-based software, such as Windows operating systems, displays in video modes that can be defined as x horizontal pixels by y vertical pixels by z colors. Character-based software, such as text editors, displays in video modes that can be defined as x columns by y rows of characters.
video resolution See resolution.
virus A program that is designed to inconvenience you or to destroy data stored on your computer. A virus program moves from one computer to another through an infected disk, software downloaded from the Internet, or e-mail attachments. When an infected program starts, its embedded virus also starts.
A common type of virus is a boot virus, which is stored in the boot sectors of a floppy disk. If the floppy disk is left in the drive when the computer is shut down and then turned on, the computer is infected when it reads the boot sectors of the floppy disk expecting to find the operating system. If the computer is infected, the boot virus may replicate itself onto all the floppy disks that are read or written in that computer until the virus is eradicated.
V volt The measurement of electric potential or electromotive force. One V appears across a resistance of 1 ohm when a current of 1 ampere flows through that resistance.
W watt The measurement of electrical power. One W is 1 ampere of current flowing at 1 volt.
WHr watt-hour A unit of measure commonly used to indicate the approximate capacity of a battery. For example, a 66-WHr battery can supply 66 W of power for 1 hour or 33 W for 2 hours.
wallpaper The background pattern or picture on the Windows desktop. Change your wallpaper through the Windows Control Panel. You can also scan in your favorite picture and make it wallpaper.
write-protected Files or media that cannot be changed. Use write-protection when you want to protect data from being changed or destroyed. To write-protect a 3.5-inch floppy disk, slide its write-protect tab to the open position.
XGA extended graphics array A video standard for video cards and controllers that supports resolutions up to 1024 x 768.
ZIF zero insertion force A type of socket or connector that allows a computer chip to be installed or removed with no stress applied to either the chip or its socket.
Zip A popular data compression format. Files that have been compressed with the Zip format are called Zip files and usually have a filename extension of.zip. A special kind of zipped file is a self-extracting file, which has a filename extension of.exe. You can unzip a self-extracting file by double-clicking it.
Zip drive A high-capacity floppy drive developed by Iomega Corporation that uses 3.5-inch removable disks called Zip disks. Zip disks are slightly larger than regular floppy disks, about twice as thick, and hold up to 100 MB of data.
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