Basic Computer Terminology and Definitions for All Users

Basic Computer Terminology and Definitions for All Users

Primary computer lingo for users ranging from beginners to experts.


3 min read

First, a story...

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I'm the go-to person for anything related to computers. With that in mind, a friend approached me a couple of weeks ago, saying he was seriously considering purchasing an iPad Pro. However, he was uncertain whether a MacBook or an iMac would be a better investment for him.

During our chat, I brought up the topic of "RAM" quite a few times. Eventually, my friend stopped me and asked, "What is RAM?". I was genuinely surprised! I thought everyone was familiar with RAM!

I had a realization...

Many people don't know what RAM, CPU, or HDD are.

However, these fundamental computer terms, such as RAM, CPU, and HDD, are concepts that everyone should be familiar with.

This brings me to the purpose of this article:

I had a surprising moment...

Turns out, many folks aren't familiar with terms like RAM, CPU, or HDD.

But hey, these are some basic computer terms that can be handy to know!

So, let's dive into this article:

Here are a few friendly computer terms that all computer users might find helpful to know (and yes, RAM is definitely on the list).

๐Ÿ–ฅ RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM is a temporary memory bank where your computer stores data it needs to retrieve quickly. RAM is used for any task that requires quick access to computing resources. When the computer is turned off, the RAM is erased.

๐Ÿ–ฅ CPU (Central Processing Unit)

The most important processor in a computer. The main function of a CPU is to execute a sequence of stored instructions. This is what we call a program.

๐Ÿ–ฅ GUI (Graphical User Interface)

Uses pictures and words to represent ideas, choices, functions, etc. This esse refers to what you see on a screen while you are interacting with an app.

๐Ÿ–ฅ ROM (Read-only Memory)

Unlike RAM, this type of storage is not changed, even when the computer is turned off. Can only be read, not written to.

๐Ÿ–ฅ Driver

A graphical user interface (GUI) utilizes images and text to represent ideas, choices, functions, and more. It refers to what you see on a screen while interacting with an app.

๐Ÿ–ฅ Read-only memory (ROM)

type of storage that remains unchanged even when the computer is turned off. It can only be read, not written to.

๐Ÿ–ฅ Driver

A driver is a software program that controls a piece of hardware or a peripheral device. For example, if a computer has an outdated Bluetooth driver installed (or none at all), then the Bluetooth function will not work.

๐Ÿ–ฅ Network Interface Card (NIC)

A computer component, also known as a board, that is installed in a computer to establish a physical connection to a network.

๐Ÿ–ฅ Boot

Alternatively referred to as boot-up or start-up, booting is the process of turning on a computer and initializing the operating system.

๐Ÿ–ฅ OS(Operating System)

The software installed on a computer's hard drive is known as the operating system. It enables the computer hardware (physical components) to communicate and function with the computer software (virtual elements on the computer).

๐Ÿ–ฅ Disk Drive

A peripheral device that reads and/or writes information on a disk. There are 2 main types of disk drives for computers: HDD & SSD.

๐Ÿ–ฅ HDD (Hard Drive or Hard Disk Drive)

HDDs are traditional storage devices that use mechanical spinning disks and a moving read/write head to access data. Because HDDs are mechanical, the hard disk is the slowest and most fragile component of any computer. HDDs can be extremely cost-efficient for long-term offline storage, while SSDs, due to their flash storage, can make file recovery more difficult.

๐Ÿ–ฅ SSD (Solid State Drive)

A more recent type of storage device, the SSD (Solid State Drive), is non-mechanical, utilizing a chip instead of a spinning disk to store information on flash memory. SSDs perform considerably faster than HDDs and are recognized for being quicker, quieter, smaller, more durable, and consuming less energy than their HDD counterparts.