Computer Basics

Glossary of Terms

P - R

path The means of navigating to a specific location on a computer or network by typing it's location and then hitting enter. A path can include a computer name, disk drive label, folder names, and a file name.  

For example, the path of your Internet Explorer is most probably "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE"

peripheral An external device, things like printers, scanners, mice, keyboards, etc.  All peripheral devices have drivers that must be loaded prior to the device being able to work.  Some also have programs that are installed to enhance the capability of the device.
pointer See mouse pointer.
profile A collection of Windows 98 settings for a specific user. Profile information includes user settings such as color schemes, screen savers, and desktop backgrounds, so that multiple users can retain their own preferences.
program A group of instructions your computer uses to perform specific tasks. For example, Microsoft Word is a word-processing program. Programs are also called applications.
protocol A set of rules computers use to communicate with each other over a network.
Random Access Memory  
Temporary memory used by computers to display files, pictures, sound, etc. When programs or files are closed most of the memory used by them is again available.  

The more programs or devices you run, the more RAM you use.  When a computer's RAM memory runs out, the computer crashes.

In the early 80s computers came with 640 Kb of RAM.  At this writing, computers are commonly built with 256 Mb.  Big difference, 640,000 compared to 256,000,000.  As with all this technology, the amount of RAM a computer has will grow exponentially and be determined by current standards.
refresh To redisplay the contents of a Web page or window.
remote user A person who connects to a network by using a modem and Dial-Up Networking.
resolution The density of pixels (dots per inch or dpi) a computer screen uses.  The greater the pixel count, the more workable space you have.  

Older computer screens are usually set to 640x480 dots per inch and do not have many sizes to choose from.  Check Display properties to see what your screen is set to. 

Common settings are: 
640x480    800x600    1024x768   1280x1024    1600x1200

right click To click an item by using the secondary mouse button, which is typically the right button. You can display a shortcut menu by right clicking an item.
Read Only Memory   
The area of computers used to store information such as programs and files.
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