Computer Terms Guide for Old Folks

If you are a senior citizen, you may have looked into getting a computer in the past or you may own one now. But sometimes it seems like you have to understand a whole new language in order to use your computer. There are so many computer terms out there that it can be a major chore just to research one to purchase. But computer terminology isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems. Here is a glossary of some of the most common computer terms and exactly what they mean – all in non-computer language.

The Types of Computers Available

Desktop: a desktop computer is one with a separate tower, monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Laptop: a laptop computer, on the other hand, incorporates the keyboard, mouse, tower and monitor all-in-one. They can usually fit on your lap which is why they are called laptops.

Notebook: a notebook computer is a full-sized laptop.

Netbook: a netbook computer is a laptop that is about half the size or smaller of a notebook.

Mobile Device: a mobile device is anything smaller than a laptop or netbook that has a mobile operating system and allows you to carry it easily. Tablets and smartphones are two common examples.

Tablet: a tablet is a flat, touchscreen computer that works on a mobile operating system such as Android or IOS. An iPad is a tablet computer as are newer Kindles.

Smartphone: a smartphone is a mobile phone that has a mobile operating system allowing you to install apps, access the Internet via a browser as well as make and receive calls and texts.

Macintosh: a Macintosh or Mac computer – sometimes called an Apple – is simply a computer made by the Apple Company with their operating system.

Personal Computer (PC): a computer running other operating systems like Windows.

The Components of a Computer

Tower: the main part of a desktop computer. It usually looks like a thin box.

Motherboard: the main circuit board inside of the computer tower or laptop casing.

Processor/CPU: the component responsible for all of the operations that a computer does. Examples are Intel and AMD central processing units.

Graphics Card: a computer component that allows you to see the visual display. Higher-end graphics cards allow for better video and higher resolution.

Sound Card: the component of your computer that controls and allows sound.

Trackpad: the mouse that is built into laptop and netbook computers.

RAM/Memory: a component of your computer that temporarily stores data. The more temporary data you can store at once, the better your computer performs.

Hard Drive: the component of your computer that allows for the permanent saving of data such as documents, pictures and video.

Operating System: the operating system or OS is what controls your computer. Windows is an example of an operating system.

Miscellaneous Related Terms

Flash Drive: a flash drive or thumb drive is a small rectangular storage device that plugs into a USB port and stores data.

SD Card: a thin data storage device that is used with computers and tablets and come in a smaller size for smart phones.

Browser: the application used to access the internet – for example: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

3G/4G Internet: A type of Internet that comes with mobile devices that is accessible from anywhere and doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection.

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