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Basic Computer Terms Defined
If you are new to computers, or have some computer experience but are still unsure of the definitions of some of the terms you see on a daily basis, here is a list of some of the more common terms and their definitions:

A bit is the smallest piece of information your computer can process.

A gigabyte is one billion bytes, a megabyte is one million bytes, and a kilobyte is one thousand bytes.

A byte is the amount of memory your computer requires to store a single piece of information. One byte equals eight bits. A byte consists of a single number, symbol, or letter.

A computer is an electronic device that is controlled by information stored in its own memory. A computer can accept new data, process the data logically and mathematically, and produce output from this data and store the information for use at a later time.

The CPU is the Central Processing Unit and it communicates with your storage, input, and output devices. It is the part of your computer that allows your computer to communicate with your output devices such as monitors, printers, headphones, and speakers.

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the amount of memory you have available while your computer is on. If your computer runs slow, it could be due to the fact that you have used up all your available memory. When you reboot your computer, the RAM should be reset to its original state, allowing your computer to run faster.

A storage device stores information that the computer uses to perform various tasks. CD writers, CD-ROMS, floppy disks, DVDs, and your hard drive are examples of storage devices.

Input devices enter information into your computer and allow you communicate with the computer. Examples of input devices are the mouse, digital cameras, joysticks, keyboards, and scanners.

Hardware is any part of your computer that you can touch and see. Printers, monitors, and keyboards are hardware devices.

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