The computer industry is full of people talking in abbreviations and technical terms.  On this page are some of the more common terms that are regularly bounded around with a brief explanation of there meaning.  If you can think of any that should be added please drop us an email at and I will add it to the list.  At Computer Rehab we try very hard to talk in plain english that we all understand.


The box that plugs into your telephone line and allows you to share the broadband connection with a number of machines or devices.

Broadband modem

Similar to a router as it is the box that connects your computer to the Internet but this allows one machine only to use the connection


This stands for Universal Serial Bus which means nothing really.  It is a means of plugging various different devices into your computer. Examples being printer, memory sticks, cameras, MP3 players and many many more.  The main types are flat but do come in a number of different shapes.

Hard disk or drive

This is inside your computer and is where all your information is stored when the machine is turned off.  Hard disks vary in storage capacity and physical size.  They consist of a disk a bit like a cd that spins at around 7500 rpm and a head that writes and reads from the disk skimming fractions of a millimeter above the surface.

Memory or RAM

This is temporary storage. When the machine is switched off all contents are lost.  When Windows is starting up it is read from the hard disk and then held in RAM.  RAM is much faster than a hard disk so the more you can load into RAM the quicker the machine will tend to run.  A shortage of RAM is one of the main reasons a machine runs slow.  If you think you need an up grade give us a call.


This is software that gets on to your computer that then monitors the use of the machine.

Defrag or Defragment

This is a common term used.  It means to rearrange the information stored on your hard disk so that it can be accessed quicker and therefore improving the speed of the machine.


There are various types of firewall but the most common is one that runs on your computer.  It is a program that attempts to isolate your computer from  the internet.  You computer is on one side and the internet on the other.  The firewall then controls the information passing from one side to the other and is there to prevent unauthorised access.

Gb or Mb

Gb stands for Giga Byte and Mb for Mega Byte.  This is a measurement of storage.  A Hard disk might be 250 Gb.  The higher the number the great the storage capacity.


There are many different types of file on a computer.  A JPG file is a common type of image file.  An example would be a photo from a digital camera this would normal be a JPG.


As above this is another type of file. PDF stands for Portable Document Format which means very little.  Many files on the Internet are PDF files.  These require a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.  This is available for free at


This is a means of storing and reading your email.  It is called webmail because your email is stored on a computer or server at your email provider and you use a web browser to view the email.  A web browser is Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and others.

Mobile Broadband

You often see the term mobile broadband and advertisements saying "connect to the Internet at anytime" with a mobile dongle banded around.  This should not be confused with WiFi.  Mobile broadband uses the mobile telephone network to connect you to the Internet.  The same as a lot of modern mobile phones.  If you get a good signal it can be very fast.  If you get a poor signal then it will be very slow.  These are usually charged on a monthly basis and you will often have a download limit set.  Beware of this as going over your limit can be very expensive.