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Real Computer Help Online: From the beginner to the seasoned user, this website is designed to answer all of your computer questions and take some of the frustration out of trying to use Windows.



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Windows Updates

Glossary of Computer Terms

Select the first letter of the word to jump to the appropriate section of the glossary.


- A -

Accessory - One of the many mini-applications that comes free with Windows 98. Examples include WordPad, Paint, and Backup. Accessories can be found in the Accessories menu.

Active Desktop - The new Windows 98 desktop, which lets you replace the static desktop of Windows 95 with one that can hold Web pages and mini-programs (such as a clock, a stock ticker, or a weather map).

ActiveX - Microsoft technology designed to enable easier multimedia on the Web. In simple terms, when you go to Web sites, buttons can light up and sound effects can play when you click or move your mouse pointer over things.

Active window - The window you're currently using. You can tell a window is active by looking at its title bar. If the bar shows white letters on a dark background, the window is active. Inactive windows show light gray letters on a dark gray background.

ADN - Advanced Digital Network - 1: Refers to a 56Kbps line. 2: Any Day Now (Chat Expression).

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Loop - Technology in which the transmission of data from server to client is much faster than the transmission from client to server. With ADSL, the rate from client to server is 640 kilobytes per second and from server to client can be up to 6 megabits per second. ADSL uses bandwidth that is not used by voice, this allows voice and data to be transmitted at the same time. This type of connection is used with Interactive TV and Video on Demand. See DSL, HDSL, SDSL.

Alt (Alternate) key - The Alt key on the keyboard is similar to a Control key. It's like a Shift key in that when used simultaneously with another key it creates a command or, in certain applications, a graphics character.

Anonymous FTP - A way of getting files from FTP sites on the Internet that have files available for public download. To transfer files using anonymous FTP, you must log in as "guest" or "anonymous" and enter your email address as the password. The publicly available files are usually in a directory called "pub", which is isolated from the files used by other users on the system and will not accept uploads from anonymous users. Many of these sites are provided by universities and government agencies.

Applet - A small Java utility or other simple program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Applets differ from full-fledged Java applications in that they are not allowed to access certain resources on the local computer, such as files and serial devices (modems, printers, etc.), and are prohibited from communicating with most other computers across a network.

Application - Software that accomplishes a specific practical task. It's the same thing as a program.

Application window - A window that contains a running application, such as Explorer or WordPad.

Archie - A tool (software) for finding files stored on anonymous FTP sites. You need to know the exact file name or a substring of it.

Archive - Generally, an archive refers to any type of backed-up data.

ARPANet - Advanced Research Projects Agency Network - Developed in the late 60ís by the US Department of Defense as an experiment in wide-area-networking that would survive a nuclear war.The precursor to the Internet.

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange - American Standard Code for Information Interchange - There are 128 standard ASCII codes, 0 to 127, represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111. This is the standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, backspace, carriage return, etc., but does not include accents and special letters not used in English. Because of this being the world wide standard, text-only files can be transferred easily between different kinds of computers. Extended ASCII has additional characters (128-255).

ASCII text file - A file that uses only the American Standard Code for Information Interchange character set (techno-lingo for the characters you see on your keyboard).

Audio Card - The device in computers that allows you to hear bells and whistles. It governs the sound on your computer and lets you play your music CD's, wav files and much more.

AVI (Audio Video Interleave) - This is a Microsoft specified format for saving video clips. You can play the files through the Media Player in Windows or through many browser plug-in players. Files of this type have a .avi extension.

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- B -

Backbone - A series of connections that forms a major pathway within a network. In a network, the backbone is the top level, employing high-speed data transmission and serving as a major access point; smaller networks connect to the backbone. The term is relative as a backbone in a small network will likely be much smaller than many non-backbone lines in a large network. (Confused yet?)

Backup job - A Microsoft Backup file that includes a list of files to back up, the type of backup to use (full, differential or incremental), and the back-up destination.

Bandwidth - The amount of data that can be sent through a network connection, usually measured in bits-per-second (bps). High bandwidth allows fast transmission or high-volume transmission. A full page of text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second.

Bat File - A batch file which contains a list of commands. Files of this type have a .bat extension.

Baud - A unit of measure of transmission speed. originally used for telegraph transmissions, and meant one Morse code dot per second. Baud is a measure of the number of signal-state changes per second of a modem, or how many bits it can send or receive per second. Example: A 1200 bit-per-second modem actually runs at 300 baud, but it moves 4 bits per baud (4 x 300 = 1200 bits per second). And if you really care: Named after J.M.E.Baudot (1845-1903), who was a French engineer.

BBS - Bulletin Board System - A computerized version of the bulletin boards found in stores where people can leave messages, carry on discussions, upload\download files, and advertise things they want to buy or sell without the people being connected to the computer at the same time. Many BBSs now have web pages. There are thousands of BBSís around the world. Many are often run by local computer user groups, usually very small running on a single IBM clone PC with 1 or 2 phone lines.

Beta software - A term given to a product that isn't ready for public consumption, but is good enough for a wider testing scope. Many companies publicly release their beta software to a fraction of their users to let them get experience with the new software, while they get feedback on bugs and features.

Binhex - BINary HEXadecimal - A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII) into ASCII. This is needed because Internet e-mail can only handle ASCII. While Binary files are 8 bits wide, the Internet was originally designed for transferring 7-bit files. BinHex encoding puts the 8-bit wide file into a 7-bit text format.

Bios (Basic Input/Output System) - These are software programs built into the PC's ROM. They make it possible for the CPU to interact with its input/output devices such as the monitor, printer, the disk drives, and the keyboard.

Bit - Binary Digit - The smallest unit of data a computer can hold. A single digit number in base-2, in other words the value of a bit is 1 or 0. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits-per-second.

Bitmap - Lots of teeny, tiny, little dots (pixels) put together to make a picture. These little bits are combined to create graphical representations. Basically, it's any picture you see on the Web. BMP, JPEG, GIF and JPG files are the most popular kinds of bitmap files on the Net.

BITNET - Because Itís Time NETwork or Because Itís There NETwork - A network of academic sites separate from the Internet originally connecting IBM mainframes and VAX systems. E-mail, file transfers, electronic mailing lists, and other services are freely exchanged between BITNET and the Internet. BITNET is now a part of CSNET (The Computer and Science Network) and CREN (The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking).

BMP - The native format for Windows graphics like wallpaper and screensavers. These images have a .bmp extension.

Blue Screen of Death - Slang to describe the blue Fatal Exception Error screen.

Bookmark - A way to store your favorite computer Internet sites by clicking Ctrl + D. That site will then be added to your Favorites list.

Boot - To start your computer. The term booting from the phrase "pulling oneself up by one's own bootstraps." which refers to the fact that your computer can load everything it needs to operate without any help from you.

Bps - Bits Per Second - The rate data is transfered from one place to another through a phone line or cable, measured in kilobits per second. A 28.8 modem can move 28,800 bits per second.

Browser - A Client program (software) that is used to read hypertext documents on the World Wide Web, and navigate between them. The browser that comes with Windows 98 is called Internet Explorer. Netscape Navigator and Lynx are two alternate Browsers.

BTW - By The Way - A shorthand appended to a comment written in an online forum.

Bug - This is an error in design or programming in hardware or software. The effects of a bug can range from loss of data or failure to perform a command to a system crash.

byte - The amount of memory space used to represent a single character, which is usually 8 bits depending on how the measurement is being made.

Byte - A computing magazine.

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- C -

Cascade menu - A menu that appears when you select certain pull-down menu commands.

Cache - A temporary storage for web pages you have visited in your computer. A copy of documents you retrieve is stored in cache. When you use go, back, or any other means to revisit a document, your browser first checks to see if it is in cache and will retrieve it from there, because it's much faster than retrieving it from the server.

Cache Hit - The retrieval of data stored in the cache. A cache hit is much faster than reading information from the memory. The more hits a cache receives, the faster the computer will operate. The larger the cache is improves the chances that a particular file will be in the cache also improving performance.

Case Sensitive - Case sensitive means that an application differentiates between capital letters and small letters. If an application is case sensitive, for example, REPORT, Report and report would be 3 entirely different files and would have to be typed exact to locate the correct one.

CD-ROM Disc - Compact Disc Read-Only Memory - A special optical disk that is physically the same as an audio CD, but contains computer data. Storage capacity is about 680 megabytes.

CD-ROM drive - A special computer disk drive that's designed to handle CD-ROM discs, which resemble audio CDs.

Certificate Authority - An issuer of Security Certificates used in SSL connections.

CGI - Common Gateway Interface - The way computer programs interface with HTTP or WWW servers, so that a server can offer interactive sites instead of just static text and images. Usually a CGI program is a small program that takes data from a web server and does something with it, like putting the content of a form into an e-mail message, or turning the data into a database query. Any software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.

cgi-bin - The most common name of a directory on a web server in which CGI programs are stored. Most programs found in cgi-bin directories are text files, scripts that are executed by binaries located elsewhere on the same machine. The bin part of cgi-bin is shorthand for binary, because most programs were refered to as binaries.

CGI script - The CGI script is the link between the server and a program running on the system. CGI scripts are used with interactive forms.

Channel - A special World Wide Web site that features changing content that is sent automatically to your computer at predefined intervals. See subscription.

Character formatting - Changing the look of text characters by altering their font, size, style, and more.

Character spacing - The amount of space a font reserves for each character. In a monospaced font, every character gets the same amount of space regardless of its true width. In a proportional font, the space allotted to each letter varies according to the width of the letter.

Check box - A square-shaped switch that toggles a dialog box option on or off. The option is toggled on when a check mark appears in the box.

Classic view - The folder view used with Windows 95. That is, you click an icon to select it, and you double-click an icon to launch it. See also Web view.

Click - To quickly press and release the left mouse button one time.

Click & Type - Click once where indicated and begin typing to enter your text or data

Client - Client A software program that is used to contact a Server software program on another computer. The Web Browser on your computer is a Client, the computer that provides services is called the Server. The client may request file transfer, remote logins, printing, or other available services.

Clip Art - Artwork that can be freely reproduced.

Clipboard - An area of memory that holds data temporarily during cut and paste operations.

Co-Location - Having a server physically located on an Internet-connected network that belongs to someone else. This is done because the server owner wants to be on a high-speed Internet connection and/or they do not want the security risks of having the server on thier own network.

com - When these letters appear in the last part of an address, for example,, it indicates that the host computer is run by a company rather than by a university or governmental agency. It also means that the host computer is probably in the United States.

Command button - A rectangular "button" (usually found in dialog boxes) that, when clicked, runs whatever command is spelled out on it.

Commands - The options you see in a pull-down menu. You use these commands to tell the application what you want it to do next.

Config - The config file contains information about the machine configuration, including the type of keyboard and the amount of memory to be set aside for disk buffers.

Cookie - A Cookie is information that a website server gives to a browser the first time the user visits the site. Cookies store information such as login or registration information, user preferences and what parts of the site were visited that is updated with each return visit. The remote server saves the information the cookie contains about the user and the user's browser does the same, servers can only read their own cookies. The Browser may accept or not accept the Cookie, depending on the type of Cookie, and the Browserís settings and may save the Cookie for either a short time or a long time. Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to Bill Gates, but they do gather more information than would be possible without them.

Cookie Killers - A program that "eats" cookies, removes them from the computer.

CPU - The Central Processing Unit is the brains of the computer and controls the operation of the entire computer system.

Crash - A computer is said to crash when a hardware failure or program error causes the computer to become inoperable.

Cursor - A symbol which indicates the point at which new data may be entered on the computer screen.

Cyberspace - The "world of computers and the society that gathers around them", as referred to by William Gibson in his fantasy novel "Neuromancer". Cyberspace is loosely used to describe the whole range of information resources available online and even more loosely to the Internet.

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- D -

DAT - DAT stands for Digital Audio Tape.

Dedicated Line - A communications line that is used solely for computer connections. If you buy an additional phone line for your modem, that's a dedicated line.

Default - An assumption that a computer makes unless it is given specific instructions to the contrary.

Defragmentation - This is used to arrange your clusters on your hardisk, to help speed up performance. This can be done by using your Disk defragmenter included with your Win95/98. The Disk defragmenter can be found in your system tools window.

Delay - The amount of time it takes for a second character to appear when you press and hold down a key.

Del (Delete) key - In most word-processing programs, this key will delete the characters to the right of the cursor.

Demo software - A working copy of a program that gives you a taste of it, but with limitations set, such as limited functions and an expiration date. It's a good way to try a program before you buy it.

Desktop - A metaphor for the Windows 98 screen. Starting a Windows 98 screen. Starting a Windows 98 application is similar to putting a folder full of papers (the application window) on your desk. To do some work, you pull some papers out of the folder (the document windows) and place them on the desktop.

Device driver - A small program that controls the way a device (such as a mouse) works with your system.

Dialog boxes - Windows that pop up on the screen to ask you for information or to seek confirmation of an action you requested.

Dialup connection - A widely-used method of accessing the Internet which uses regular phone lines to connect one computer to another via modem.

Differential backup - Backs up only files in the current backup job that have changed since the last full backup. See also incremental backup.

Digerati - The digital version of "literati". It refers to people who are experts in information technology and the digital revolution.

Digital camera - A special camera that saves pictures, using digital storage (such as a memory card) instead of film.

Directory - See folder.

Diskette - See floppy disk.

Document window - A window opened in an application. Document windows hold whatever you're working on in the application.

Domain name - This is the unique name that identifies an Internet location. The information following the @ sign in an Internet email address specifies the domain where the user's account resides, whether it is a group, or a network. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. The domain name of the Microsoft Network is

Double-click - To quickly press and release the left mouse button twice in succession.

Double-click speed - The maximum amount of time Windows 98 allows between the mouse clicks of a double-click.

Download - To bring software from a remote computer "down" to your computer.

Drag - To press and hold down the left mouse button and then move the mouse.

Drag-and-Drop - A technique you use to run commands or move things around. You use your mouse to drag files or icons to strategic screen areas and drop them there. Point to the starting place or object, hold down the mouse button (right or left per instructions), move the mouse to the new location, then release the button.

Drop-down list box - A list box that normally shows only a single item but, when selected, displays a list of options.

DSL - Digital Subscriber Line or Digital Subscriber Loop - A way of sending digital data over regular copper telephone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection and must be configured to connect two specific locations, similar to a leased line. A common configuration of DSL allows downloads at speeds of up to 1.544 megabits (not megabytes) per second, and uploads at speeds of 128 kilobits per second. This configuration is called Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Another common configuration is Synchronous. See: ADSL, HDSL, SDSL.

DUN - Dial Up Networking.

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- E -

E-mail - Electronic Mail - Electronic mail messages, usually text, sent by way of the Internet to a particular person. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses using a Mailing List.

E-mail address - The information that gives the source or destination of electronic mail messages to a user through the Internet. Example:

Enter Key - When it is pressed, this key on the computers keyboard lets the computer know that you have issued a command; in a word processing document, this key is used like a typewriters return key to add a line and a paragraph break. This key is sometimes referred to as the Return key.

Error message - A message that appears on your screen to inform you that the program can't handle a requested operation.

Esc (Escape) key - A key that will usually back you out of a program, a menu, a dialog box, or a Command.

Ethernet - The most popular method of networking computers in a local area network (LAN) using radio frequency signals carried by a coaxial cable. Each computer waits its turn to transmit, first checking to see if another computer is transmitting. Ethernet will handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second and can be used with almost any kind of computer. Novell Netware and TCP/IP are two of many software protocols used by Ethernet systems.

Ethernet address - The 48-bit number in hexadecimal notation physical address, of an Ethernet controller board.

Ethernet card - A network adapter (printed circuit board) that enables a computer to connect to an Ethernet. The Ethernet card is plugged into the computer or built into their motherboards. The Ethernet cards are connected to each other by cables.

Ethernet meltdown - A network overload on an Ethernet.

EXE - File Extension for a binary file used to execute a program in MS-DOS, Windows, OS/2, and VAX/VMS.

Execute - To do what the instruction says to do.

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- F -

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions - A compilation of often-requested information answering the most common questions on a particular subject. FAQs are usually written by people who have tired of answering the same question over and over.

FAX modem - Modems that enable you to send and receive faxes in addition to ordinary computer-type data. Fax is short for facsimile or exact copy, and fax technology uses ordinary phone lines to send copies of printed material from place to place.

FDDI - Fiber Distributed Data Interface - An ANSI standard for 100 Mbit/s data transmission through fiber optic cables at a rate of around 100,000,000 bits-per-second (10 times as fast as Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3). Many local area networks can be linked together with a backbone that uses FDDI.

File - An organized unit of information inside your computer.

Finger - A UNIX command for locating people on other Internet sites. Finger is sometimes used to give access to non-personal information, such as another user's login name and email address. It is necessary to know the name of the computer where the other person has an account. Many sites do not allow incoming Finger requests.

Fire Wall or Firewall - A combination of hardware and software that creates an electronic boundary separating a LAN into two or more parts, preventing unauthorized users from accessing certain files on the network.

Flame - Flame meant to carry forth in a passionate manner in the spirit of honorable debate, often involved the use of flowery language, was an art form. More recently flame has come to be any kind of derogatory comment no matter how witless or crude.

Flame war - When an online discussion turns into a heated exchange or personal attack against the debators, rather than a rational discussion of their point of view.

Floppy disk - A portable storage medium that consists of a flexible disk protected by a plastic case. The most commonly used floppy now is a 3 .5" floppy.

Folder - A storage location on your hard disk in which you keep related files together.

Font - A character set of a specific typeface, type style, and type size.

Format bar - A series of text boxes and buttons that enable you to format the characters in your document. The format bar typically appears under the toolbar.

Formatting - The process of setting up a disk so that a drive can read its information and write information to it . Not to be confused with character formatting.

Fragmented - When a single file is chopped up and stored in separate chunks scattered around a hard disk and which is fixed by running a disk defragmenter program.

Frames - A format for web documents that divides the screen into segments, each with a scroll bar as if it were as "window" within the window. Usually, selecting a category of documents in one frame shows the contents of the category in another frame.

Freeware - Software distributed at no charge on the Web.

Fritterware - Any software that causes you to fritter away time fiddling with its various bells and whistles.

FTP - File Transfer Protocol - A client/server protocol for exchanging files with a host computer. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name anonymous, thus these sites are called anonymous ftp servers. Examples are Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem and Kermit.

Full backup - Backs up all the files in the current backup job. See also differential backup and incremental backup.

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- G -

Gateway - Hardware or software that translates between two dissimilar protocols. Prodigy has a gateway that translates between its internal e-mail format and Internet e-mail format. A loosely used meaning of gateway is to describe any form of providing access to another system, e.g. your ISP might be called a gateway to the Internet.

GIF - Graphic Interchange Format - A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.

Gigabyte - 1,024 megabytes. Those "in-the-know" usually abbreviate this as GB when writing, and as gig when speaking.

Gigabit Ethernet - A high-speed Ethernet standard approved by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). It provides increased network bandwidth and interoperability among Ethernets operating at speeds of 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. Gigabit Ethernet can be used to interconnect multiple lower speed (10 and 100 Mbps) Ethernets. The tenfold increase in bandwidth will benefit high performance file servers. It uses the CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) Ethernet protocol.

Gigabit Ethernet Alliance - The Gigabit Ethernet Alliance supports the extension of Ethernet and Fast Ethernet standards to provide increased bandwidth and interoperability among Ethernets. Formed by industry leaders Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Bay Networks, Cisco, Intel, LSI Logic, 3Com, Packet Engines, UB Networks, Granite Systems, and VLSI Technology, to support a multi-vendor effort to provide customers with open, cost-effective and interoperable Gigabit Ethernet products.

Gopher - A document retrieval system from the University of Minnesota. Gopher is a Client and Server style program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client program. A document may be a text, sound, image, or other type file. Although Gopher spread rapidly around the world in only a couple of years, it has been largely replaced by Hypertext. There are still thousands of Gopher Servers on the Internet and can now be accessed through the World Wide Web.

Gov - When these letters appear in the last part of an address (, for example), it indicates that the host computer is run by some part of a government body, probably the U.S. federal government, rather than by a company or university. (Your tax dollars at play!) Most .gov sites are in the United States.

GUI - See User Interface.

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- H -

Hard copy - A printout on paper of computer output.

Hard disk - The main storage area inside your computer.

Hardware - The actual, physical computer and all its wires and friends, such as the printer, the disk drive, and the modem. Pretty useless without software.

HDSL - High-Speed Digital Subscriber Line, or High-Speed Digital Subscriber Loop - A transmission method that makes it possible to transmit data at high speeds over ordinary copper telephone wires. HDSL transmission is 784 kilobytes per second in both directions. See ADSL, DSL, SDSL

Hit - Hits - 1: A single request from a web browser to a web page by a user. Hit counters, as seen on websites, tell how many hits\visitors that page or site has received.
2: Hits are also used to measure the load on a server. Each request for a page may result in more than one hit for the server, one hit for the HTML document, and one hit for each graphic on the page. A hit can also represent a request for a tiny document, a missing document, or a complex search request that requires significant extra processing.

Home key - This key is supposed to move the cursor to the upper left corner of the screen. In reality, it does a number of different things, depending an how the software program has been written to use it. Sometimes it will work as it's supposed to; other times it will move the cursor to the top of the current page, but often it does nothing.

Home page - For an individual, it's the Web page your browser begins with each time you execute it. For an organization, its their main page which will link visitors to other pages related to that site.

Host - A computer connected to a network, that provides data and services to other computers. Routes requests to other hosts which may include data storage, file transfer, data processing, email, bulletin board services, World Wide Web, etc.

Host name - This can be both the information after the @ in an email address and the address you would need to telnet to a remote location.

Hover - To place the mouse pointer over an object for a few seconds . In most Windows applications, for example, if you hover the mouse over a tool-bar button, a small banner shows up that tells you the name or the function of the button.

HTML - Hypertext markup language, used in writing pages for the World Wide Web. It lets the text include codes that define fonts, layout, embedded graphics, and hypertext links. Don't worry, you don't have to know anything about it to use the World Wide Web.

HTTP - Hypertext transfer protocol, which is the way World Wide Web pages are transferred over the Net.

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- I -

Icons - The little pictures that Windows 98 uses to represent programs and files.

IE - Internet Explorer (Also referred to as MSIE).

Incremental backup - Backs up only files in the current backup job that have changed since the last full backup or the last differential backup.

Ins (Insert) key - The insert key is a toggle key and will therefore turn the insert mode on or off. If you turn off the insert mode, and then move your cursor to within a line of text, and begin to type, you will write over existing text instead of adding text. With the insert mode on, you would place new text between existing text.

Insertion point cursor - The blinking vertical bar you see inside a text box or in a word-processing application, such as Wordpad. It indicates where the next character you type will appear.

Internet - A network of networks that extends around the world. By setting up an account with an Internet service provider, you can access this network.

Internet Explorer - Microsoft's Web browser.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) - A kind of sophisticated string between two cans that enables bored housewives and, occasionally, other Internet users, to talk to each other in real time (rather than after a delay, as with e-mail messages).

Internet Service Provider - See ISP.

Intra net - The implementation of Internet technologies for use within a corporate organization rather than for connection to the Internet as a whole.

IP (Internet Protocol) - A scheme that enables information to be routed from one network to another as necessary (you had to ask). Don't worry, you don't have to know about it.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) - The 32-bit address defined by the Internet Protocol. Every resource on the Internet has a unique numerical IP address, made up of four sets of numbers separated by dots. IP addresses are the closest thing the Internet has to phone numbers. When you "call" that number (using any number of connection methods such as FTP, HTTP, Gopher, etc.), you get connected to the computer that "owns" that IP address.

IP number - Numeric representation of a host name. Example:

ISP (Internet Service Provider) - A company that provides Internet access for an individual or corporation.

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- J -

Java - The programming language that adds animation and other action to Web sites.

Jaz drive - A special disk drive that uses portable disks (about the size of floppy disks) that hold 1 gigabyte of data.

JPG, JPEG - File format for pictures that compresses graphics better than GIF, making the file smaller and easier to download.

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- K -

Kbps - One thousand bits per second (bps). Today's modern modems transmit data at either 28.8 Kbps or 56 Kbps.

Kilobyte - 1,024 bytes. This is often abbreviated to K or KB.

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- L -

LAN - See local area network.

Link - One or more words in a Web page that connects one page to another. Links are usually a different color that the other text on the page and when clicked with the mouse, they will take you to a different place in the document, or to another document, or even to another site. Links are commonly known as Hypertext.

List box - A small window that displays a list of items such as filenames or directories.

Local area network - A network in which all the computers occupy a relatively small geographical area, such as a department, office, home, or building. All the connections between computers are made via network cables.

Login\Logon - To gain access a computer system using a unique ID and password.

Login information - The user ID and password used to gain access to a computer system.

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- M -

Macro - A kind of computer shorthand that reduces many commands to one, making it easy to activate frequently-used functions.

MAILER-DAEMON - The program used to detect E-Mail problems providing error messages in the form of email to the sender with information.

Maximize - To increase the size of a window to its largest extent. A maximized application window fills the entire screen (except for the taskbar). A maximized document window fills the entire application window.

Mbps - One million bits per second

Megabyte - 1,024 kilobytes or ~,048,576 bytes. This is often abbreviated in writing to M or MB and pronounced meg.

Memory-resident program - A program that stays in memory after it is loaded and works "behind the scenes." The program normally responds only to a specific event (such as the deletion of a file) or key combination. Also called a terminate-and-stay resident (TSR) program.

Menu bar - The horizontal bar on the second line of an application window that contains the application's pull-down menus.

Message header - The part of a newsgroup message or email message that contains the routing information, recipient, sender, subject, date, and time. You can view the message header in Outlook Express by clicking on File and Properties. MIME - Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension, one method of encoding binary files such as formatted text, graphics, and sound files so that they can be sent by email over the Internet.

Mirror - An FTP server that provides copies of the same files as another server. Some FTP servers are so popular that other servers have been set up to mirror them and spread the FTP load on to more than one site.

Minimize - To remove a program from the desktop without closing it. A button for the program remains on the taskbar.

Modem - An electronic device that enables two computers to exchange data over phone lines.

MPEG - A digitally compressed format used in videos. It stands for Moving Picture Experts Group. Videos in this format have the extension .mpeg.

MSIE - Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Multitasking - The capability to run several programs at the same time.

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- N -

Netscape - The first company to scare Microsoft. Netscape's world-class World Wide Web browser has taken the planet by storm.

Network - A collection of computers connected via special cables or other network media (such as infrared ports) to share files, folders, disks, peripherals, and applications. See also local area network.

Newsgroup - An Internet discussion group devoted to a single topic. These discussions progress by "posting" messages to the group.

NNTP - Network News Transfer Protocol, the protocol for distributing, retrieving, and posting messages to a news server.

Notepad - This is an electronic work and storage space with word processing capabilities incorporated into Windows and some other programs. It enables you to type in ideas or comments in combination with information extracted from the database to produce letters, reports, or memos for printing or storage.

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- O -

Off-line - A computer that is operable but not connected to an Internet Service Provider.

OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) - A Microsoft defined mechanism for program-to-program communication.

On-line - A computer that is connected to an Internet Service Provider.

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- P -

PgUp and PgDn keys - Moves the cursor up or down 25 lines -- usually a full page.

Ping (Packet Internet Groper) - A program that checks to see whether you can communicate with another computer on the Internet. It sends a short message to which the other computer automatically responds. If you can't "ping" another computer, you probably can't talk to it any other way either.

Pixel - A picture element within the monitor which is made up of single dots of light. They are grouped together to create images or graphics. The higher the resolution of the monitor, the greater the number of pixels it will contain.

Plug and Play - A feature in Windows 98 that enables you to avoid taking difficult steps to install devices.

Point - To place the mouse pointer so that it rests on a specific screen location.

Pointer Arrow - Highlights an item on the screen you need to point to or focus on in the step or task

POP (Post Office Protocol) - A system by which a mail server on the Internet lets you pick up your mail and download it to your PC. Basically it does the email sorting and delivering.

Port - The connection into which you plug the cable from a device such as a mouse or printer.

Print queue - A print queue is established when more than one job is sent to a printer at the same time. Windows 98 allows you to manipulate the print queue to rearrange the order in which documents are printed.

Program files - The files that run your programs.

Protocol - Simply, the "language" spoken between computers to help them exchange information.

Pull-down menus - Hidden menus that you open from an application's menu bar to access the commands and features of the application.

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Queue - See print queue.

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- R -

RAM - Stands for random access memory. The memory in your computer that Windows 98 uses to run your programs.

Real time chat - A chat where the participants are getting messsages and responding to each other immediately, as opposed to messages sent back and forth by email.

Reboot - To restart a computer, that is, turn it off and then on again or by pressing a special key sequence such as Ctrl+AIt+Del.

Registry - A huge file of software settings that your hardware and software constantly refer to in order to know where to go and what to do. When the Registry corrupts, you're in for all-out anarchy.

Remote host - A host computer you are trying to connect to or send mail to.

Repeat rate - After the initial delay, the rate at which characters appear when you press and hold down a key.

Right-click - To click the right mouse button instead of the usual left button. In Windows 98, right-clicking something usually pops up a shortcut menu.

ROM (Read Only Memory) - The portion of a computer's memory which can not be written into by the user, and is not destroyed when its power is removed. ROM usually contains system control software place there by the manufacturer and contains computer instructions that do not need to be changed, such as the instructions for calculating arithmetic functions. No data can be stored in ROM. The software in the ROM is fixed during manufacture.

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- S -

Scalable font - A font in which each character exists as an outline that can be scaled to different sizes. Windows 98 includes such scalable fonts as Arial, Courier New, and Times New Roman. To use scalable fonts, you must have a software program called a type manager to do the scaling. Windows 98 comes with its own type manager: TrueType.

Scandisk - This is used to scan your hard drive for any errors, damaged or lost clusters and damaged hard disk surface. This can be done using your windows95/98 system tools. Scandisk programs are also available from different software makers.

Scanner - A device similar to a copier that reads images and type into a computer.

Scroll - Moving up, down or sideways within a document on your screen using the scrollbar and the up, down, left and right arrows.

Scrollbar - A bar that appears at the bottom or on the right side of a window when the window is too small to display all its contents.

SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) - A faster type of memory that synchronizes with the CPU.

SDSL - Synchronous Digital Subscriber Line, or Synchronous Digital Subscriber Loop - A digital subscriber line that sends data at the same speed in both directions: 384 Kilobits per second in both directions. SDSL is intended for business use. See ADSL, DSL, HDSL.

Search engine - Software used to find stuff, particularly on the World Wide Web.

Select - Highlight the area discussed in the step or task

Server - A computer that provides a service to other computers on a network. Microsoft Chat Servers, for example, let people chat on the Internet.

Shareware - Computer programs that are easily available for you to try with the understanding that if you decide to keep the program you will pay for it and send the requested amount to the shareware provider specified in the program. In this honor system, a great deal of good stuff is available, and voluntary compliance makes it viable.

Shortcut - A special file that points to a program or a document. Double-clicking the shortcut starts the program or loads the document.

Shortcut menu - A menu that contains a few commands related to an item (such as the desktop or the taskbar). You display the shortcut menu by right-clicking the object.

Site - Refers to a web page or pages, a location of information such as a telnet or ftp.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) - The optimistically named part of the system that sets up the procedures and formats for constructing and transferring email messages across the Internet.

Software - Computer programs that make computers usable as something other than a paperweight.

SOS - 1: Silicon On Sapphire. A kind of computer chip that has a sapphire substrate covered with a thin layer of silicon. 2: Help! (chat expression).

Spam - Originally a meat-related, sandwich-filling product. The word now refers to the act of posting pyramid schemes, get-rich-quick schemes, chain letters, advertisements, and similar material to a large number of unrelated, uninterested people usually via E-Mail.

Subscribe to a newsgroup - This just means that your newsreader, Internet News or Outlook Express, keeps track of which messages you have read and which messages you have not read.

Subscription - A method of checking for new or changed data on a World Wide Web site or channel. The subscription sets up a schedule for checking a particular site to see whether it has changed since the last time it was checked.

Surf - To travel from site to site on the World Wide Web.

System Administrator - The person who maintains the systems used for Internet connectivity. The one you yell and scream at when you can't connect or when you get disconnected.

System resources - Two memory areas that Windows 98 uses to keep track of things like the position and size of open windows, dialog boxes, and your desktop configuration (wallpaper and so on).

Systray - The area of your taskbar which contains your clock, as well as programs either running or running in the background.

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- T -

Taskbar - The horizontal strip across the bottom of the Windows 98 screen. Each running application is given its own taskbar button, and you switch to an application by clicking on its button.

TCP/IP - The system that networks use to communicate with each other on the Internet. It stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, if you care.

Text box - A screen area in which you type text information, such as a description or a filename.

Text editor - A program that lets you edit files that contain only text. The Windows 98 text editor is called Notepad.

Text file - A file that contains only textual characters, with no special formatting characters, graphical information, sound clips, video, or what-have-you.

Title bar - The area on the top line of a window that displays the window's title.

Toolbar - A series of application-specific buttons that typically appears beneath the menu bar.

Tracking speed - The speed at which the mouse pointer moves across the screen when you move the mouse on its pad.

TrueType - A font management program that comes with Windows 98.

Type size - A measure of the height of a font. Type size is measured in points; there are 72 points in an inch.

Type style - Character attributes, such as regular, bold, and italic. Other type styles (often called type effects) are underline and strikethrough.

Typeface - A distinctive graphic design of letters, numbers, and other symbols.

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- U -

UNIX - An operating system everyone hates. No, an operating system everyone ought to love. No, it's both! It's an operating system that can be confusing to use, but it sure is powerful. Internet users are likely to run into UNIX if they use a shell provider as their Internet provider or when they telnet to UNIX computers.

Upload - To put your stuff on somebody else's computer.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator, the "friendly name" for network resources and originally for linking pages together in the World Wide Web. You know it as a Web address. Luckily, you don't have to know much about them - only the people who write pages really have to fool with them. Example:

User Interface - The features of a program that govern how people interact with the computer. For example, Windows 98 has a GUI (graphical user interface), which means that the screen consists largely of visual elements that help the user navigate the system.

User - The individual who uses a computer, program, network, or related service for work or entertainment.

User name - A name that identifies a user on a network or online service, often the first part of your email address before the @. The name with which you login to your email or Internet system.The user name is commonly chosen by the user.

Utilities - Programs that assist in the operations of a computer, but do not do the main work., such as a program that performs common-place tasks like transferring date from one storage device to another or sorting data, etc.

UUENCODE - Method of encoding binary files such as formatted text, graphics, and sound files so that they can be sent by email over the Internet.

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- V -

Version - A specific release of a hardware or software product.

Video Card - A plug-in circuit board that enables you to see the information displayed on your monitor.

Virus - Software that infects other software and causes damage to the system on which the infected software is run. You should download software only from reputable servers.

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Web - The World Wide Web. "The Web" is a term of endearment used by those intimate with the World Wide Web.

Web integration - The integration of World Wide Web techniques into the Windows 98 interface. See Web view.

Web page - The basic building block of the World Wide Web. Information displayed on a Web page can include highly sophisticated graphics, audio and video.

Web site - A location on the World Wide Web. It means the same as a Web page or Web server, depending on whom you ask.

Web view - With this view, you hover the mouse over an icon to select it, and you click an icon to launch it. See also classic view.

Window - The rectangular screen area in which Windows 98 displays applications and documents.

WinSock (short for Windows Sockets) - A standard way for Windows programs to work with TCP/IP. You use it if you connect your Windows PC directly to the Internet, either with a permanent connection or with a modem.

WinZip - A Windows-based sharewhare program for zipping and unzipping ZIP files in addition to other standard types of archive files.

Word wrap - A word processor feature that automatically starts a new line when your typing reaches the end of the current line.

World Wide Web. - See WWW.

Worm - A program that infiltrates a computer system replicating itself many times, filling up memory and disk space, ultimately crashing the computer. It replicates itself and is self-propagating. While viruses are designed to cause problems on a local system and are passed through boot sectors of disks and through files, worms are designed to thrive in network environments.

Write-protection - Floppy disk safeguard that prevents you from changing any information on the disk. On a 3 1/2-inch floppy, write-protection is controlled by a small movable tab on the back of the disk. If the tab is, toward the edge of the disk, the disk is write-protected. To disable the write-protection, slide the tab away from the edge of the disk.

WWW (World Wide Web) - A hypermedia system that lets you browse through lots of interesting information, otherwise known as the Internet or the Web.

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- X~Z -

Zip drive - A special disk drive that uses portable disks a little smaller than a Jaz drive disk, which hold 100 megabytes of data.

Zip file - A file that has been created by using Winzip, PKZIP, or a compatible program. It contains one or more files that have been compressed together to save space. Some zip files need to be unzipped, while others are self-extracting, which means it contains the unzipping programs right in it.


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