Key Terms and Definitions Associated with Windows

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If you are looking to understand how a Windows operating system works, you might want to get familiar with the key terms and definitions associated with how it works first. This blog introduces you to those key terms. The table below lists some key terms and definitions that will help you understand some of the concepts discussed in this article.

Key Term

Definiton

Action Center An information console that appears in Windows 7 which replaces the Security Center in Windows Vista. This information console displays alerts applicable to the hardware and software installed in the computer. For example, the Action Center may display a message about upgrading the security product in your computer, or it will tell you that maintenance is being done (such as a backup procedure) on the computer.

Figure 1.1 - The Action Center View in Windows 7 Professional
Figure 1.1 – The Action Center View in Windows 7 Professional
Aero Windows Aero (a backronym for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open, or simply AERO or Aero), also known as Aero Glass, is a design language introduced by the Windows Vista operating system.
Aero Peek A new feature of the Aero user interface that, when you mouse over the right end of the taskbar, causes Windows 7 to render all of the windows on the desktop transparent, enabling you to see any gadgets on the desktop underneath.
Aero Shake A new feature of the Aero user interface that, when you shake a window back and fourth, causes Windows 7 to Automatically minimize all of the windows other than the one you are shaking
Aero Snap A new feature of the Aero user interface that, causes Windows 7 to automatically maximize a window when you drag it to the top of the screen
Click The term click means to point to an item and then tap the left mouse button. Don’t hold down the left mouse button. Just tap (press and release) it. It makes a slight clicking sound when you do. For example, the phrase ‘‘click the Start button’’ means ‘‘put the mouse pointer on the Start button and tap the left mouse button.’’ When you do, the Start menu appears. Click the Start button a second time, and the Start menu goes away.
Desktop The desktop itself is everything above the task bar. Most programs you open appear in a window on the desktop.

Figure 1.2 - The Windows Desktop in Windows 7 Professional
Figure 1.2 – The Windows Desktop in Windows 7 Professional
Desktop icons Icons on the desktop provide quick access to frequently used programs, folders, and documents. You can add and remove desktop icons as you see fit.

Figure 1.3 - Various Desktop / System Icons Found on the Windows 7 Desktop
Figure 1.3 – Various Desktop / System Icons Found on the Windows 7 Desktop
Double Click The term double-click means to point to an item and then tap the left mouse button twice, quickly. Don’t hold down the button and don’t pause between clicks. Just tap the left mouse button twice. You use double-clicking to open items that icons on your screen represent.
Drag The term drag means to point to an item and hold down the left mouse button while you’re moving the mouse. You typically use dragging to move or resize elements on the screen.
Drag and Drop This process refers to highlighting a piece of text or another object on the desktop, dragging it to another place on the desktop, and then dropping it to another area on the desktop.
Faxing Device A faxing device is a type of hardware device that can send or receive faxes through a standard PC connection. Faxing devices are typically included in most internal dialup modems as well as a feature found in some all-in-one printers.
File A file is a collection of data identifiable through the computer by its filename. Files can be of any type, size, and variety and are normally organized into a hierarchical system through a series of folders. Files can also contain a number of different attributes which specify who has access to a particular file as well as what they can do to that file.

Figure 1.4 - File and Folder Classification in Windows 7 Professional
Figure 1.4 – File and Folder Classification in Windows 7 Professional
Folder A folder is simply a storage place for files. Folders help set organizational structures of file systems as they permit for the grouping of files based on a set of standards specified by the end-user. For example, all music files can be stored in a folder called Music Files; all video files can be stored in a folder called Video Files; and all system files can be stored in an operating system folder such as Windows, ensure files are organized based on content.

Figure 1.4 - The Folder Tree View in Windows Explorer
Figure 1.4 – The Folder Tree View in Windows Explorer
Gadgets These are optional Windows components for showing data in a small window. Examples are a clock, weather information, or stock ticker. Gadgets were discontinued and the development and support ceased by Microsoft in the release of Windows 7 because of security issues.
Gui / Gooey / Graphical User Interface GUI or GOOEY are both short forms of the term Graphical User Interface, a term that explicity defines what Windows is. A GUI is a system that allows for the facilitation of movements on a PC’s desktop through pointing and clicking activities. GOOEY based operating systems are very user friendly, as they require no formal training to use. The end-user can simply use the GUI system to launch software programs, maintain a computer, and surf the Internet, all through a series of mouse movements and keyboard activities.
Hardware Devices A hardware devices is any type of internal or external component that a computer uses to get something done. Video cards, sound cards, hard disk drives, CD-ROM drives, and Central Processing Units, are all examples of hardware devices. Windows uses this term explicitly when  troubleshooting problems on the computer that are related to specific components in the computer.

Figure 1.5 - The Windows Device Manager Makes it Easy to Install and Configure Hardware Devices in Windows
Figure 1.5 – The Windows Device Manager Makes it Easy to Install and Configure Hardware Devices in Windows
Internet Internet is an interconnected series of networks that connects millions of computers across the entire globe, using its own language entitled Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
Local Area Networks (Lans) A local area network (LAN) is a type of computer network comprised of varying quantities of computer systems, usually depending on the size and structure of an organization or business. LAN’s are implemented to allow employees to share information and resources on the network. LAN’s also implement a variety of security solutions, including software and hardware based firewalls, to prevent the misuse of the network’s computer systems and data.
Maximize Maximize is a windows specific term referring to the process of making an active window larger or more visible on the desktop.
Minimize Minimize is a windows specific term referring to the of process of making an active window invisible on the desktop, although you can still access it through the Windows task bar.
Operating System An operating system is an application software type that permits for the communications and facilitation of data through the computer. An operating system is responsible for controlling different aspects of the computer including managing software, controlling the way files are created and organized, and how hardware components are accessed to complete tasks.
Point The term point, when used as a verb, means to touch the mouse pointer to an item. For example,‘‘point to the Start button’’ means to move the mouse pointer so that it’s positioned on the Start button
(the large, round button at the lower-left corner of your screen that shows the Windows logo). If the item you want to point to is smaller than the mouse pointer, make sure you get the tip of the mouse pointer arrow on the item. Whatever the tip of the mouse pointer is on is the item to which you’re pointing.
Printers A printer is a hardware device that allows output such as text or graphics to be seen in a hard copy format. Printers are indispensable. tools that promote a higher level of productivity and efficiency.
Resizing Resizing refers to the process of rearranging the geometry and size of a window on the desktop.
Right-click The term right-click means to point to an item and then tap the right mouse button. Again, don’t hold down the mouse button, and don’t use the left mouse button. Whereas clicking an item usually takes an immediate action, right-clicking presents a shortcut menu of things you can do with the item.
Start button The Start button provides access to programs installed on your computer, as well as commonly used folders such as Documents, Pictures, and Music. You can access the control panel through the Start button and also customize your computer.
System Requirements A list of specifications outlining the minimum hardware components needed to run a software application.
Text Based Operating System A text based operating system is an application software type that permits for the communication and facilitation of data through a computer using a text only format. Linux and Unix are the most popular text based operating systems. A text based operating system requires the end-user to type commands and switches to control how instructions are executed, and generally require a high level of knowledge in the areas of programming and computer science.
Windows Windows is a graphical user interface based operating system that gives an end user the ability to control all hardware devices within a computer, allows for the installation and removal of software, and permits the computer to communicate across the Internet and local area networks. Windows also provides a very easy method to manage files and folders on local and network hard drives, customize, and optimize hardware devices in the system.
Windows Explorer A file management application bundled in all versions of Windows that allow for the manipulation, addition, and deletion of files and folders on the computer.
Table 1.1  – Key Terms And Definitions Associated With Windows
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