If you don't have an in-depth knowledge of technology, computer terminology can seem like a foreign language. While you certainly don’t need to be fluent in geek speak, a basic understanding of it can help in many ways. For example, it can help you purchase the right equipment when searching for new hardware or more clearly explain the issue you’re having. Here are a few computer terms that can help you along.
App - These days, when someone hears the word “app," they usually think of a program for their tablet or smartphone; however, the word “app” actually has a much broader meaning. Apps, or applications, have been around since the birth of computers, and the word really refers to any computer program. Some examples of common apps used today include Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, and Antivirus software.
Browser - Your window to the Internet, a browser enables you to access all the information there is online. In fact, you’re likely reading this article on a browser right now. Google Chrome, FireFox, and Internet Explorer are a few examples of common browsers.
Search Engine - Not to be confused with a browser, a Search Engine is a page you visit within your browser that allows you to find what you’re looking for on the web. You type keywords into a Search Engine, press enter, and then the web pages that contain those keywords are presented to you. Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are a few of the Search Engines available.
Hard drive - A hard drive is essentially a storage unit for everything on your computer. Virtually everything is stored on your hard drive, and it allows your computer to access files and programs. The more hard drive space you have, the more applications, videos, documents, and files can be stored on your computer.
Motherboard - If your computer had a heart, the motherboard would be it. The motherboard is a circuit board that powers your RAM, CPU, and hardware, enabling it all to communicate with each other. If the motherboard is taken out of the equation, your computer will be unable to operate.
CPU/Processor - If the motherboard is the heart of the computer, then the CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is the brains. A CPU carries out the instructions it receives from the different hardware and software operating on the computer. At one point or another, everything on your computer goes through the CPU. The more powerful it is, the faster your computer, and the more advanced applications you’ll be able to run.
RAM - Random Access Memory stores all the temporary programs and data that your computer is using so your computer's CPU can quickly access them. For example, if you're running multiple programs all at the same time, RAM enables you to access them fast - without having to reopen them. The more RAM you have, the quicker these programs will run. Once your computer shuts down, it will no longer store these programs in the RAM, but instead in the hard drive.
These are just a handful of terms you may come across when asking for technology service or talking about computers.