Glossary of Computer Terms

Computer Terms Glossary

This page is meant to serve as a guide to the vast quantity of computer terms and acronyms in common use for the casual computer user. It is divided into two main sections, the first is dedicated to the basics and is meant more for beginners, while the second is meant instead to be used as a reference. In reality many of the terms in the second section are still quite common; the first section was deliberately kept as short as possible.

Terms in the second section may be looked up by either using the "find in page" function of your browser, or by appending "#term" (without the quotes and where term is the term of interest) to the "URL" or "go to" section of your browser, keeping in mind that case matters. The best method of searching for a term though is to use the Search Interface that will return not only the specific term sought but also other entries that reference it. Be aware that the terms referenced in the second part of this page will freely assume familiarity with the first part.

If you are instead actually trying to figure out what a particular filename extension means, you might instead try the filename extensions page.

If you want something added or see a problem with something already here (but keep in mind this guide is not meant to be overly technical) please send .


The physical portion of the computer.
A hypertext document is like a text document with the ability to contain pointers to other regions of (possibly other) hypertext documents.


HP-UX is the version of UNIX designed by Hewlett-Packard to work with their PA-RISC and 68xx based machines.
The Hypertext Mark-up Language is the language currently most frequently used to express web pages (although it is rapidly being replaced by XHTML). Every browser has the built-in ability to understand HTML. Some browsers can additionally understand Java and browse FTP areas. HTML is a proper subset of SGML.
The hypertext transfer protocol is the native protocol of browsers and is most typically used to transfer HTML formatted files. The secure version is called "https".
The Hurd is the official GNU OS. It is still in development and is not yet supported on too many different processors, but promises to be the most powerful OS available. It (like all the GNU software) is free.
Hz & hertz
Hertz means cycles per second, and makes no assumptions about what is cycling. So, for example, if a fluorescent light flickers once per jiffy, it has a 60 Hz flicker. More typical for computers would be a program that runs once per jiffy and thus has a 60 Hz frequency, or larger units of hertz like kHz, MHz, GHz, or THz.