What Are Some Computer Terms and Definitions?


Quick Answer

The two most common terms when talking about computers are hardware and software. Hardware is any physical component related to a computer system. It can be a circuit board, a camera or a keyboard. Software is a collection of instructions that allow the user to interact with the computer and its hardware to perform various tasks. Examples of software are the operating system, such as Windows or Linux, or an Internet browser.

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Full Answer

There are many terms related to computers, most of which deepen further into the subject of either hardware or software. For instance, an important piece of computer hardware is the motherboard, which is the main circuit board of the machine where all the other components are installed and are allowed to communicate with each other. Random access memory is one of the components on the motherboard, and it allows information to be stored and retrieved on a computer. Another example of vital hardware is the central processing unit, which is the brain of the computer. It handles all the instructions received from hardware and software in order to run the computer.

Hardware is important, but without software, a computer isn't operational. Various terms are associated with software. Open source software is a term used for software that is distributed under a certain type of license that makes its source code freely available to end users. Users have access to the application's code and are encouraged to modify it. An example of open source software is the Firefox browser. Freeware is software that is 100 percent free as long as it remains unmodified.

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