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The PC Glossary

Definitions of Computer and Internet Terms

Computer Terms Beginning with "S"

Safe Mode Safe Mode is a way for the Windows operating system to run with the minimum system files necessary. It uses a generic...
Samba Most people know of samba as a type of rhythmic dance music from Brazil that uses a 2/4 time signature. In the...
Sample A sample is a digital representation of an analog signal. Both digital video and digital audio files are created using...
Sampling Before digital recording took over the audio and video industries, everything was recorded in analog. Audio was...
SAN Stands for "Storage Area Network." A SAN is a network of storage devices that can be accessed by multiple computers...
SATA Stands for "Serial Advanced Technology Attachment," or "Serial ATA." It is an interface used to connect ATA hard...
Scanner A scanner is an input device that scans documents and images, which can be imported into a computer. They are...
Schema In computing, a schema is an outline or diagram that describes the structure of a specific type of data. Schemas are...
Screenshot A screenshot, or screen capture, is a picture taken of your computer's desktop. This may include the desktop...
Script A computer script is a list of commands that are executed by a certain program or scripting engine. Scripts may be...
Scroll Bar When the contents of a window are too large to be displayed entirely within the window, a scroll bar will appear. For...
Scroll Wheel Computer windows are often not large enough to display the entire contents of the window at one time. Therefore, you...
Scrolling Most computer programs display their content within a window. However, windows are often not large enough to display...
SCSI Stands for "Small Computer System Interface," and is pronounced "scuzzy." SCSI is a computer interface used primarily...
SD Stands for "Secure Digital." It is a type of memory card used for storing data in devices such as digital cameras...
SDK SDK is short for "Software Development Kit." An SDK is a collection of software used for developing applications for a...
SDRAM Stands for "Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory." Yeah, it's a mouthful, but if you memorize it, you can really...
SDSL Stands for "Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line." SDSL is a type of of DSL, which is used for transferring data over...
Search Engine Google, Excite, Lycos, AltaVista, Infoseek, and Yahoo are all search engines. They index millions of sites on the Web...
Secondary Memory While (primary memory|primary_memory) refers to RAM and processor caches, secondary memory refers to memory that is not...
Secondary Storage Secondary storage refers to storage devices and media that are not constantly accessible by a computer system...
Sector A sector is the smallest unit that can be accessed on a hard disk. Each platter, or circular disk of a hard disk is...
SEO Stands for "Search Engine Optimization." Just about every Webmaster wants his or her site to appear in the top...
Serial Port The serial port is a type of connection on PCs that is used for peripherals such as mice, gaming controllers, modems...
SERP SERP is an acronym for "Search Engine Results Page." This is the Web page that displays the results of search...
Server As the name implies, a server serves information to computers that connect to it. When users connect to a server, they...
Service Pack A service pack is a software package that contains several updates for an application or (operating system|...
Shareware There is commercial software and then there is shareware. With commercial software, you have to pay for the product...
Shell Most people know of shells as small protective coverings for certain animals, such as clams, crabs, and mollusks. You...
Shift Key Shift is a modifier key that allows you to capitalize lowercase letters and enter various symbols and punctuation...
SIMM Stands for "Single In-Line Memory Module." This is an older type of computer memory. A SIMM is a small circuit board...
Site Map A site map, sometimes written "sitemap," is an overview of the pages within a website. Site maps of smaller sites may...
Skin This strange term refers to the appearance of a program's interface. By changing the skin of a program, you can make...
SKU Stands for "Stock Keeping Unit," and is conveniently pronounced "skew." A SKU is a number or string of alpha and...
Skyscraper While not as common as the banner ad, the skyscraper is another prevalent form of Web advertising. Skyscraper ads...
Slashdot Press releases can often trigger increased interest in a certain topic, and if a Web site link is provided in the...
SLI Stands for "Scalable Link Interface." SLI is a technology developed by NVIDIA that allows multiple graphics cards to...
SMART Stands for "Self-Monitoring Analysis And Reporting Technology." It is used to protect and prevent errors in hard...
Smartphone A smartphone combines standard mobile phone features with advanced features found on personal device assistants (PDAs...
SMB Stands for "Server Message Block." SMB is a network protocol used by Windows-based computers that allows systems...
SMM SMM is short for "Social Media Marketing." It refers to marketing through social networking websites and is a popular...
SMS Stands for "Short Message Service." SMS is used to send text messages to mobile phones. The messages can typically be...
SMTP Stands for "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol." This is the protocol used for sending e-mail over the Internet. Your...
Snapshot While the term "snapshot" is often used in photography, it is also a computing term that refers to a copy made of a...
Snippet A snippet is a small block of source code or text that can be inserted into a program or Web page. Program snippets...
SNMP Stands for "Simple Network Management Protocol." SNMP is used for exchanging management information between network...
SO-DIMM Stands for "Small Outline Dual In-Line Memory Module." Most desktop computers have plenty of space for RAM chips, so...
SOA Stands for "Service Oriented Architecture." When businesses grow, they often add new products and services. While...
SOAP Stands for "Simple Object Access Protocol," and can do more than just get your hands clean. SOAP is a method of...
Social Networking When the Web became popular in the mid-1990s, it enabled people to share information in ways that were never possible...
Socket When a computer program needs to connect to a local or wide area network such as the Internet, it uses a software...
Soft Copy A soft copy is a document saved on a computer. It is the electronic version of a document, which can be opened and...
Soft Token A soft token is a software version of a hard token, which is a security device used to give authorized users access to...
Software Computer software is a general term that describes computer programs. Related terms such as software programs...
Solid State Solid state, at its most basic level, means "no moving parts." Therefore, solid state electronic devices are made up...
Sound Card The sound card is a component inside the computer that provides audio input and output capabilities. Most sound cards...
Source Code Every computer program is written in a programming language, such as Java, (C/C++|cplusplus), or Perl. These programs...
Southbridge The southbridge is a chip that connects the northbridge to other components inside the computer, including hard drives...
Spam Originating from the name of Hormel's canned meat, "spam" now also refers to junk e-mail or irrelevant postings to a...
Speakers Speakers are popular output devices used with computer systems. They receive audio input from the computer's sound...
Spider A spider is a software program that travels the Web (hence the name "spider"), locating and indexing websites for...
Spoofing The word "spoof" means to hoax, trick, or deceive. Therefore, in the IT world, spoofing refers tricking or deceiving...
Spool A spool is a temporary storage area within the computer's RAM that contains input or output data. When a job or...
Spooling Spooling is the process of a sending data to a spool, or temporary storage area in the computer's memory. This data...
Spreadsheet A spreadsheet is a document that stores data in a grid of horizontal rows and vertical columns. Rows are typically...
Spyware As the name implies, this is software that "spies" on your computer. Nobody likes to be spied on, and your computer...
SQL Stands for "Structured Query Language," and can be pronounced as either "sequel" or "S-Q-L." It is a query language...
SRAM Stands for "Static Random Access Memory." I know it is tempting to pronounce this term as "Sram," but it is correctly...
sRGB Stands for "Standard RGB" (and RGB stands for Red-Green-Blue"). All the colors you see on your computer display are...
SSD SSD is short for "Solid State Drive." An SSD serves the same purpose as a (hard drive|hard drive), but uses flash...
SSH Stands for "Secure Shell." SSH is a method of securely communicating with another computer. The "secure" part of the...
SSID Stands for "Service Set Identifier." An SSID is a unique ID that consists of 32 characters and is used for naming...
SSL Stands for "Secure Sockets Layer." SSL is a secure protocol developed for sending information securely over the...
Stack A stack is a type of data structure -- a means of storing information in a computer. When a new object is entered in a...
Standalone A standalone device is able to function independently of other hardware. This means it is not integrated into another...
Standby When electronic devices are receiving power but are not running, they are in standby mode. For example, a television...
Static Website A static website contains Web pages coded in HTML. The content of each page is fixed and does not change unless it is...
Status Bar A status bar is a small area at the bottom of a window. It is used by some applications to display helpful information...
Storage Capacity Storage capacity is another term for "disk space." It measures how much data a computer system may contain. For...
Storage Device A computer storage device is any type of hardware that stores data. The most common type of storage device, which...
Streaming Data streaming, commonly seen in the forms of audio and video streaming, is when a multimedia file can be played back...
String A string is a data type used in programming, such as an integer and floating point unit, but is used to represent text...
Subdirectory A subdirectory, or subfolder, is a folder that is nested within another folder. Subdirectories are used to organize...
Subnet Mask A subnet mask is a number that defines a range of IP addresses that can be used in a network. (It is not something you...
Supercomputer A supercomputer is a high-powered computer system that has processing capabilities far greater than a typical...
Superscalar A superscalar CPU can execute more than one instruction per clock cycle. Because processing speeds are measured in...
Surge Protector The surge protector is an important, yet often overlooked part of a computer setup. It allows multiple devices to...
Switch A switch is used to network multiple computers together. Switches made for the consumer market are typically small...
Sync When you "sync" a device, you synchronize it with your computer. Syncing is commonly done with iPods, PDAs, cell...
Syntax Each spoken language has a general set of rules for how words and sentences should be structured. These rules are...
System Analyst A system analyst is the person who selects and configures computer systems for an organization or business. His or her...
System Hardening Most computers offer network security features to limit outside access to the system. Software such as antivirus...
System Requirements Whenever you purchase software or hardware for your computer, you should first make sure your computer supports the...
System Resources Your computer has many types of resources. They include the CPU, video card, hard drive, and memory. In most cases...
System Software System software refers to the files and programs that make up your computer's operating system. System files include...
System Unit This is the technical term that refers to the box that houses your computer. The system unit refers to the computer...
Systray The systray, short for "system tray," is located on the right side of the Windows toolbar. It is the collection of...

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