CGS2100 Ch.5 Terms

  1. application programming interface (API)
    A block of code in the operating system that software applications need to interact with.
  2. application software
    The set of programs on a computer that helps a user carry out tasks such as word processing, sending e-mail, balancing a budget, creating presentations, editing photos, taking an online course, and playing games.
  3. authentication
    The process of identifying a computer user, based on a login or username and password. The computer system determines whether the computer user is authorized and what level of access is to be granted on the network.
  4. Backup and Restore utility
    A Windows utility (found in the Control Panel) that allows the user to create a duplicate copy of all the data on a hard drive (or just the folders and files the user specifies) and copy it to another storage device, such as a DVD or external hard drive.
  5. basic input/output system (BIOS)
    A program that manages the data between a computer’s operating system and all the input and output devices attached to the computer; also responsible for loading the operating system (OS) from its permanent location on the hard drive to random access memory (RAM).
  6. boot process
    The process for loading the operating system (OS) into random access memory (RAM) when the computer is turned on.
  7. command-driven interface
    Interface between user and computer in which the user enters commands to communicate with the computer system.
  8. desktop
    As its name implies, the computer’s desktop puts at your fingertips all of the elements necessary for a productive work session and that are typically found on or near the top of a traditional desk, such as files and folders.
  9. device driver
    Software that facilitates the communication between a device and the operating system.
  10. Device Manager
    A feature in the Windows operating system that lets individuals view and change the properties of all hardware devices attached to the computer.
  11. directory
    A hierarchical structure that include files, folders, and drives used to create a more organized and efficient computer.
  12. Disk Cleanup
    A Windows utility that removes unnecessary files from the hard drive.
  13. disk defragmenter
    A utility that regroups related pieces of files on the hard drive, enabling faster retrieval of the data.
  14. Error-Checking
    A Windows utility that checks for lost files and fragments as well as physical errors on a hard drive.
  15. event
    The result of an action, such as a keystroke, mouse click, or signal to the printer, in the respective device (keyboard, mouse, or printer) to which the operating system responds.
  16. extension (file type)
    In a file name, the three letters that follow the user-supplied file name after the dot (.); the extension identifies what kind of family of files the file belongs to, or which application should be used to read the file.
  17. file
    A collection of related pieces of information stored together for easy reference; in database terminology, a file or table is a group of related records.
  18. file allocation table (FAT)
    An index of all sector numbers that the hard drive stores in a table to keep track of which sectors hold which files.
  19. file compression utility
    A program that takes out redundancies in a file to reduce the file size.
  20. file management
    The process by which humans or computer software provide organizational structure to a computer’s contents.
  21. file name
    The first part of the label applied to a file; it is generally the name a user assigns to the file when saving it.
  22. file path
    The exact location of a file, starting with the drive in which the file is located, and including all folders, subfolders (if any), the file name, and the extension. (Example: C:\Users\username\ Documents\Illustrations\EBronte.jpg)
  23. firmware
    System software that controls hardware devices.
  24. folder
    A collection of files stored on a computer.
  25. gadget
    A mini-application that runs on the desktop, offering easy access to a frequently used tool such as weather or a calendar item.
  26. graphical user interface (GUI)
    Unlike the command- and menu-driven interfaces used in earlier software, GUIs display graphics and use the point-and-click technology of the mouse and cursor, making them much more user-friendly.
  27. icon
    A picture on a computer display that represents an object such as a software application or a file or folder.
  28. interrupt
    A signal that tells the operating system that it is in need of immediate attention.
  29. interrupt handler
    A special numerical code that prioritizes requests from various devices. These requests then are placed in the interrupt table in the computer’s primary memory.
  30. kernel (supervisor program)
    The essential component of the operating system that is responsible for managing the processor and all other components of the computer system. Because it stays in random access memory (RAM) the entire time the computer is powered on, the kernel is called memory resident.
  31. Last Known Good Configuration
    A Windows feature that starts the computer by using the registry information that was saved during the last shutdown.
  32. library
    In Windows 7, a folder that is used to display files from different locations as if they were all saved in a single folder, regardless of where they are actually stored in the file hierarchy.
  33. Linux
    An open source operating system based on UNIX. Because of the stable nature of this operating system, it is often used on Web servers.
  34. Mac OS
    The first commercially available operating system to incorporate a graphical user interface (GUI) with user-friendly point-and-click technology.
  35. mainframe
    A large, expensive computer that supports hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously and executes many different programs at the same time.
  36. menu
    A list of commands that displays on the screen.
  37. menu-driven interface
    A user interface in which the user chooses a command from menus displayed on the screen.
  38. Microsoft Disk Operating System (MSDOS)
    A single-user, single-task operating system created by Microsoft. MS-DOS was the first widely installed operating system in personal computers.
  39. multitask
    The ability of an operating system to perform more than one process at a time.
  40. multiuser operating system (network operating system)
    An operating system (OS) that enables more than one user to access the computer system at one time by efficiently juggling all the requests from multiple users.
  41. operating system (OS)
    The system software that controls the way in which a computer system functions, including the management of hardware, peripherals, and software.
  42. paging
    The process of swapping data or instructions that have been placed in the swap file for later use back into active random access memory (RAM). The contents of the hard drive’s swap file then become less active data or instructions.
  43. path separator
    The backslash mark (\) used by Microsoft Windows and DOS in file names. Mac files use a colon (:), and UNIX and Linux use the forward slash (/) as the path separator.
  44. platform
    The combination of a computer’s operating system and processor. The two most common platform types are the PC and the Apple Macintosh.
  45. Plug and Play (PnP)
    The technology that enables the operating system, once it is booted up, to recognize automatically any new peripherals and configure them to work with the system.
  46. power-on self-test (POST)
    The first job the basic input/output system (BIOS) performs, ensuring that essential peripheral devices are attached and operational. This process consists of a test on the video card and video memory, a BIOS identification process (during which the BIOS version, manufacturer, and data are displayed on the monitor), and a memory test to ensure memory chips are working properly.
  47. preemptive multitasking
    When the operating system processes the task assigned a higher priority before processing a task that has been assigned a lower priority.
  48. real-time operating system (RTOS)
    A program with a specific purpose that must guarantee certain response times for particular computing tasks, or else the machine’s application is useless. Real-time operating systems are found in many types of robotic equipment.
  49. Recycle Bin
    A folder on a Windows desktop in which deleted files from the hard drive are held until permanently purged from the system.
  50. registry
    A portion of the hard drive containing all the different configurations (settings) used by the Windows operating system (OS) as well as by other applications.
  51. ribbon
    A group of icons collected for easy access.
  52. root directory
    The top level of the filing structure in a computer system. In Windows computers, the root directory of the hard drive is represented as C:\.
  53. Safe mode
    A special diagnostic mode designed for troubleshooting errors that occur during the boot process.
  54. scrollbar
    On the desktop, the bar that appears at the side or bottom of the window and controls which part of the information is displayed on the screen.
  55. sector
    A section of a hard drive platter, wedge-shaped from the center of the platter to the edge.
  56. server
    A computer that provides resources to other computers on a network.
  57. smartphone
    A device that combines the functionality of a cell phone, a PMP, and a PDA into one unit.
  58. source code
    The instructions programmers write in a higher-level language.
  59. spooler
    A program that helps coordinate all print jobs being sent to the printer at the same time.
  60. swap file (page file)
    A temporary storage area on the hard drive where the operating system “swaps out” or moves the data or instructions from random access memory (RAM) that have not recently been used. This process takes place when more RAM space is needed.
  61. system file
    Any of the main files of an operating system.
  62. System Restore
    A utility in Windows that restores system settings to a specific previous date when everything was working properly.
  63. system restore point
    In Windows, a snapshot of your entire system’s settings used for restoring your system to a prior point in time.
  64. system software
    The set of programs that enables a computer’s hardware devices and application software to work together; it includes the operating system and utility programs.
  65. taskbar
    In later versions of Windows operating systems, a feature that displays open and favorite applications for easy access.
  66. Task Manager utility
    A Windows utility that shows programs currently running and permits you to exit nonresponsive programs when you click End Task.
  67. Task Scheduler utility
    A Windows utility that enables you to schedule tasks to run automatically at predetermined times with no interaction necessary on your part.
  68. thrashing
    A condition of excessive paging in which the operating system becomes sluggish.
  69. toolbar
    A group of icons collected for easy access.
  70. track
    A concentric circle that serves as a storage area on a hard drive platter.
  71. UNIX
    An operating system originally conceived in 1969 by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie of AT&T’s Bell Labs. In 1974, the UNIX code was rewritten in the standard programming language C. Today there are various commercial versions of UNIX.
  72. user interface
    Part of the operating system that enables individuals to interact with the computer.
  73. utility program
    A small program that performs many of the general housekeeping tasks for the computer, such as system maintenance and file compression.
  74. virtual memory
    The space on the hard drive where the operating system stores data if there isn’t enough random access memory (RAM) to hold all of the programs you’re currently trying to run.
  75. widget
    A mini-application developed for the Macintosh platform.
  76. window
    In a graphical user interface, a rectangular box that contains programs displayed on the screen.
  77. Windows
    An operating system by Microsoft that incorporates a user-friendly, graphical interface.
  78. Windows 7
    Microsoft operating system that builds upon the security and user interface upgrades that the Windows Vista release provided, and gives users with touch-screen monitors the ability to use touch commands to scroll, resize windows, pan, and zoom.
  79. Windows Explorer
    The main tool for finding, viewing, and managing the contents of your computer by showing the location and contents of every drive, folder, and file.
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CGS2100 Ch.5 Terms
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