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The part of the ALU that stores the intermediate results when doing a calculation.
The part of the CPU that carries out mathematical and Boolean operations.
Arithmetic and Logic Unit
A piece of software written to help users do various tasks, often through a graphical user interface with menus and toolbars.
Describes how the CPU works and interacts with the other parts of the computer system.
Software which can automatically create a copy of the files and settings on your computer at a given time. This will allows the users to restore work in the event of an error or issue.
Software stored in ROM responsible for booting up a computer system
Basic Input Output System
Quick access memory inside the CPU.
The number of instructions a processor can carry out each second. Measured in Hertz (Hz).
A text-based user interface where the user types in commands.
The process of making the size of a file smaller.
control unit (CU)
The part of the CPU that controls the flow of data.
A processing unit found inside the CPU.
Central Processing Unit
CPU (or processor)
The part of the computer system that processes the data.
Ways in which the speed at which the CPU process instructions can be affected (e.g. improving the clock speed, increasing the number of cores or adding more cache memory)
A computer system designed to carry out a specific task.
Reorganising data on a hard drive to put broken up files back together and collect up the free space.
A piece of software that allows applications to communicate with a piece of hardware.
Organisation and maintenance of the hard disk.
A computer built into another device, e.g. a SmartTV.
Coding ('encrypting') data so that it can only be decoded ('decrypted') with the correct key.
The process that the CPU uses to retrieve and execute instructions.
The organisation, movement and deletion of files.
Permanent software stored on ROM, used to control hardware or embedded systems.
Solid state non-volatile data storage.
A circuit for handling the processing of graphics and images.
Graphics Processing Unit
A piece of hardware containing a GPU.
Allows the user to interact with the computer in a visual and intuitive way.
Graphical User Interface
hard disk drive
Traditional internal storage for PCs and laptops that stores data magnetically.
The physical parts of a computer system.
A type of CPU architecture which uses physically separate memory locations and busses to store and transport both instructions and data
Hard disk drive
Pulls heat away from the CPU to help maintain its temperature.
A record of all the changes since the last incremental backup.
An open source operating system.
Hard disk drives and magnetic tapes that hold data as magnetised patterns.
main CPU components
The control unit, ALU and cache.
mainframe (or supercomputer)
An extremely powerful (and expensive and reliable) computer for specialist applications.
A CPU register that holds memory addresses (locations) for data and instructions that the CPU needs.
memory address register
A CPU register that holds data and instructions.
memory data register
Hardware used to store data that a CPU needs access to.
The main circuit board in a computer that other hardware connects to.
When an operating system runs multiple programs and applications at the same time.
When an operating system allows multiple users at the same time.
Memory that retains its contents when it has no power.
open source (software)
Software that can be modified and shared by anyone.
CD, DVD or Blu-Ray disc that is read from/written to with lasers.
Device used to read and write to optical discs.
A piece of software responsible for running the computer, managing hardware, applications, users and resources.
Running a CPU at a higher clock speed than was intended.
A string of characters that allows access to certain parts of a computer or program.
Holds the memory address of the next CPU instruction.
PC (CPU) (acronym)
External hardware connected to a computer. e.g. Mouse, Keyboard, Projector.
A computer system that other applications can run on.
A piece of hardware that gives the other pieces of hardware the energy they need to run.
Memory that can be accessed directly by the CPU.
The execution of program instructions by the CPU.
Software where modifying and sharing is not permitted.
The main memory of a computer.
Random Access Memory
A temporary data store inside a CPU.
Memory that can be read but not written to.
Read Only Memory
A simple program, often run on command-line interfaces to automate tasks.
External data storage used to store data so that the computer can be switched off.
When an operating system only allows one user to use it at any one time.
Programs or applications that can be run on a computer system.
A legal agreement that states how software can be used and distributed.
The actual written code of a program.
Alternative to a traditional magnetic hard disk drive that uses flash memory and has no moving parts
solid state drive
A device used to read and write data to a storage medium.
A thing that holds data. It can be part of the storage device (e.g. magnetic disks inside a hard drive) or separate (like a CD).
Software designed to run or maintain a computer system.
High-capacity external storage used mainly for back ups.
An account which is used to control the access rights to files or networks for an individual
Provides a way for the user to interact with the computer.
Software designed to help maintain a computer system.
Area of secondary storage used by the OS as extra RAM.
Memory that loses its contents when it has no power.
A type of CPU architecture which uses common memory locations and busses to store and transport both instructions and data
Von Neumann bottleneck
A limitation of the computer architecture where the CPU is idle whilst waiting for data to be fetched from memory
A GUI based on windows, icons, menus and pointers.