Tech Acronym Dictionary – inQuo’s Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter

Everyone has probably heard some computer acronyms getting used in regular conversations.  But do you know what those stand for, and where they came from?

Computer Acronyms
  • BIOS – Basic Input Output System.  The BIOS is a software program that is hard coded onto a chip.  This software typically runs basic commands that determine the operation of your computer.  When you boot up a computer and see text loading, that is the BIOS running its commands.
  • CAT – Continuous Asynchronous Transmission.  Most people have heard of a CAT5 cable.  This is the cable that connects your computer to a network router or switch, and allows internet and network traffic to be received and sent.
  • CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW – Compact Disk Recordable, Writable, and Digital Video Disk Recordable and Writable.  These are the disks that you can burn data, music and movies using a CD or DVD burner on your computer.
  • CPU – Central Processing Unit.  Also referred to as the processor, this is the brain of your computer.  Usually made by Intel or AMD.
  • DOS – Disk Operating System.  The basis for the original Windows operating systems.  DOS commands can still be used on today’s computers, but DOS is no longer used as the base.
  • DSL – Digital Subscriber Line.  A direct connection to the internet using phone lines and fiber.
  • FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions.  Usually found on websites.
  • FTP – File Transfer Protocol.  The original standard method for transferring files on the internet.
  • GUI – Graphical User Interface.  Usually pronounced “gooey”, and includes any kind of graphical interface including Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • HDD – Hard Disk Drive.  The hard drive is the storage component for your computer.  All files, including the operating system, are stored on the hard drive.
  • HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language. A text formatting script for internet pages.
  • IP – Internet Protocol.  You may of heard “IP Address”.  All internet and network traffic travel over an IP network, and your IP address is the number that specifies your computer on the network.
  • IT – Information Technology.
  • LAN – Local Area Network.  If you have multiple computers, printers, and other devices connected via a switch or router, you have a LAN.
  • LED – Light Emitting Diode.  Most computers have LED lights installed on them, and now you can get LED’s in flashlights, automobile taillights and even televisions.  They use minimal amounts of power and generate low heat.
  • KB, MB and GB – MegaByte, KiloByte and GigaByte.  The unit of measure for computer speed.  It takes 10,000 KB to make one MB.
  • NIC – Network Interface Card.  The CAT5 cable from your switch or router plugs into the NIC on your computer.
  • P2P – Peer to Peer.  Computers that connect over the internet for sharing files.
  • RAM – Random Access Memory.  This is the term used when talking about how much memory a computer has.  The more RAM you have in a computer can help it run faster.
  • RAID – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.  Most servers and many computers have a RAID array.  These arrays will automatically back up the data on a hard drive to one or more redundant hard drives.
  • SATA or ATA – Serial Advanced Technology Attachment.  This is the interface that connects hard drives and DVD/CD drives to your motherboard.  SATA is the new standard for computers, and is much faster and offers better performance than ATA (also known as EIDE).

For a complete list, click here.


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