Computer Basics (Continued)



File server or server-- a large capacity computer which is connected to other computers for the purpose of sharing information and processing ability. For example, a university department might use a file server for documents or projects that are worked on by multiple users on different computers in the same building. Another example would be a web server. This is a server that holds web documents that are accessible through the Internet to other computers. File servers are often part of a network.

Fire Wall--A piece of security software that protects your computer from outside attacks. Just as thieves pick easy targets-like homes with unlocked doors-hackers (intruders who want to steal or tamper with your computer data) pick easy online targets, like computers without firewall protection.

Floppy disk/ diskette-- is a flat, portable, disk made of plastic that can store files written magnetically on it's surface. Information stored on Floppy disk can be read, copied, or deleted. The disk is protected by a shell or cover of some kind. "Floppy" is now a misnomer, it was originally referred to an obsolete type of disk 5.25" disks were actually flexible or floppy, while new ones, 3.5" disks, are not. To open or read a Floppy a computer or laptop must have a Floppy Drive. Many new computers and laptops do not include Floppy drives since they are now considered obsolete now that most new systems include CD burners. Laptops may have swappable drives, where a user must remove and replace a modular CD drive with a floppy drive. *Note: some speakers and paperclip holders have magnets, don't store floppy disks next to them or they can be damaged or erased/demagnetized.

Gig-- refers to the amount of memory or space, when used to describe data storage. One Gig or gigabyte is equal to 1,024 megabytes. Gigabyte is often abbreviated as G or GB. (1 MB is equal to 1,048,576 bytes. Megabyte is frequently abbreviated as M or MB.)

Graphic user interface-- also called a GUI, this is a system where things are shown graphically. This means that instead of entering commands on a text only screen with a keyboard, the user manipulates icons and windows, often with a mouse.

Hard disk/ hard drive-- this is a permanent storage unit containing a disk or disks, that are made from metal. Most computers have built-in hard drives. Hard drives contain the long-term memory of your computer. Some users may also have external hard drives for storage of large numbers of files or as a method of back up. This is a hard drive that plugs into the computer, usually through a USB connection.

Hardware-- the physical components of a computer, including cables, the keyboard, the CPU, monitor, etc.

Icons-- pictures that are shortcuts to programs or files. By clicking on an icon, you start the program or open the file. Usually these are

Initialize/format-- these terms are synonymous, occasionally it may also be referred to as reformatting if you are doing it for a second time, such as reformatting a floppy to reuse it or reformatting a computer to delete all information from the hard drive. After formatting a disk, whether it is a floppy or hard disk, it is necessary to put some files back on before the disk can be used again. You never want to format a computer unless you know what you are doing. You may want to format floppy disks in order to reuse them.

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