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Appendix B. Glossary

10BaseT wiring

A common, flexible network cable used in Ethernet networks.

accelerator key

A key found on a menu (usually a function key used in conjunction with the Alt key, such as Alt+F4) that enables you initiate a menu command from the keyboard without first having to display the menu.


Each Windows XP user has an account that keeps track of that user's desktop settings and Windows XP preferences.

active desktop

The Web-based desktop you can create for Windows XP that contains active content from the Internet.

Address Book

A Windows repository of data, often created from Microsoft Outlook's contacts database, that contains information such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers of your contacts.

alias file

The name of a link to an existing file.

analog photography

The traditional approach to photography that uses film.

anchor position

The starting coordinate pair of lines and other geometric shapes. You'll use the pair of coordinate values to determine how far down and across the screen that a drawing is about to begin.

animated cursors

Cursors that display movement during the cursor's display, such as a cursor showing a picture of a running horse or a playing piano.


Small programs that give life to Web pages by making the pages interactive. Usually, applets are written in the Java programming language.


The Windows XP feature that starts the loading and execution of CDs as soon as you place the CD into your computer's CD-ROM drive.

background program

An active but not currently viewable program. You can run one or more programs in the background and they can continue to process while you interact with another program in the foreground.


The speed and transfer flow consistency of an Internet connection. The better your bandwidth, the faster your Internet connection will be.

binary data

Compressed, non-textual data, such as programs and graphics, as opposed to text files.


Basic Input Output System. The system unit's ROM-based code that handles I/O devices.


The Windows application that synchronizes the document files from two computers so that you can always have the most up-to-date files.


Software that searches for, loads, and displays Web pages. Browsers display the text, graphics, sound, and even video that appear on modern Web pages. Internet Explorer is the name of the Web browser that comes with Windows XP.


An area of memory that temporarily holds data.


The damage resulting from a monitor that has been turned on for too long, characterized by outlines being "burned in" to the monitor even when the monitor is turned off.

category view

The Windows XP Control Panel's default look that organizes the Control Panel entries into related categories.

central processing unit

The chip inside your computer that processes data. Also known as a CPU.

check box

A Windows XP control, which appears next to each item in a list, that you use to select one or more items from the list.

Classic view

A view of the Control Panel that changes the Windows XP Control Panel's category view to look and behave like the one in previous versions of Windows.


A file that holds audio or video data.

Close button

A button in the upper-right corner of a window that, when clicked, closes that window.


A set of clips in Windows Movie Maker.

command button

A Windows XP control that appears and acts like a push button on the screen.

Compatibility mode

A special Windows XP feature that makes legacy applications run that might not otherwise run in a multi-tasking, windowed, operating system such as Windows XP.


Friends, family, and associates you keep track of inside a contact management program such as Outlook Express.


Describes the process Windows XP uses to respond to what you're doing. When you right-click over an item on your screen, Windows XP displays a context-sensitive menu that relates to whatever item you clicked.

context-sensitive menu

See [pop-up menu]
Control Panel

A folder within the My Computer window that enables you to change your computer's system settings such as your screen resolution, default printer, and mouse movement speed.


Elements within dialog boxes and program windows, such as check boxes and command buttons, with which you indicate preferences and select features.


A point position on the screen defined by a coordinate pair.

coordinate pair

A pair of numbers in which the first represents the number of drawing points from the left edge of the drawing area of an image, and the second represents the number of drawing points from the top edge of the drawing area. In Paint, the coordinates appear on the status bar.


See [central processing unit]

Users who break into other computers, through a networked or online connection, and cause harm to those computers or access unauthorized information.

See also [hackers]


A pointing device, such as the arrow that represents the mouse pointer location and the insert bar that represents the Windows XP text location. The cursor moves across the screen as you type or move the mouse. Another cursor, a vertical line also known as a text cursor, shows where the next character typed will appear on the screen.


Raw facts and figures that computer programs process.

deferred printing

Printing to a file that you will send to a printer at a delayed time.


The Windows XP screen and background that you see when you first start Windows XP and sign into your account.

desktop themes

See [themes]
dialog box

A window containing text and one or more screen controls that you use to issue instructions to Windows XP.

differential backup

See [incremental backup]

A representation of data that uses discrete computer signals to represent data.

direct cable connection

The connection between two computers with a cable attached to both parallel or serial ports.


See [folder]
DirectParallel cable

A cable that plugs into the parallel port of two computers so the computers can share a direct cable connection.

Disk Cleanup

A program that removes unneeded files from your disk.

disk operating system

The program inside memory that controls all the hardware and software interactions.

docking station

A device into which you can insert some laptop computers, which instantly connects the laptop to a full-size screen, keyboard, mouse, and printer.


A common name for data files.

Dr. Watson

A system program that records system information when your PC freezes up. You can use the information saved by Dr. Watson to locate the cause of the problem.


Software files that often accompany hardware to tell the computer how to control the hardware when you install it.


The Windows utility program that condenses the disk space so that more data fits on a disk drive.

drop-down list box

A list of choices that opens when you click the down arrow to the right of a list box.


Electronic mail service that enables you to transfer files and messages to others who have an online account.


A popular combination of punctuation that represents emotions onscreen. Two of the most popular emoticons are happy faces and sad faces,:) and :( respectively.

Energy Star

A name applied to monitors that comply with environmental guidelines that limit the use of continuous power applied to your monitor.


A high-speed network connection and the most common network connection in use today.


A powerful file-listing application that gives you both high-level and detailed descriptions of your computer system and the files on the system.


The process of saving a file in a format that differs from the application's native, default format.

Fast User Switching

A Windows XP feature that enables one user to switch quickly from another user's account. If more than one person shares a home computer, each person in the family can have their own account on the computer. When a person signs into his or her account, Windows XP changes its settings such as colors and wallpaper to that user's preferences.


A data entry text box located in dialog boxes and program windows.


A software program or hardware that shields online users'computers from unauthorized access from the Internet.


A high-speed port into which you can plug external devices, such as digital cameras, into your computer. Also known as IEEE 1394.

flash memory

A storage device for some kinds of digital cameras where the pictures are stored.


The highlighted command button or control in a dialog box that Windows XP automatically selects when you press Enter.


Shown as a special Windows XP icon, a folder is a separate, named location on a disk drive that holds files (also known as a directory).


A specific typestyle. Fonts have names that distinguish them from one another, such as Times New Roman and Courier. Some fonts are fancy, and others are plain.

font family

A set of fonts from the same typeface. For example Arial and Arial Black are from the same font family.

foreground program

The active and currently viewable program. On the Windows XP taskbar, the foreground program's taskbar button will be the one highlighted. You can click any button on the taskbar to bring that program into the foreground.


Small pieces of files that get scattered over a disk drive and result in your processor being slower. You can fix those fragments and improve your file access speed by running Disk Defragmenter.


An individual image that comprises a movie.

frame rate

The speed at which frames in a movie appear.

graphical user interface

See [GUI]

Colors printed on a black-and-white printer with the various colors appearing as shades of gray.


The computer that uses files and printer resources, accessed by cable, in the Direct Cable Connection Wizard.


Graphical user interface. It represents the icons and other graphics elements that comprise the Windows XP interface.


Users who know advanced ways to interact and connect to networked computer systems.

See also [crackers]


Another name for printed output.


The Inbox's one-line display that shows an incoming message's sender, subject, and date received.

Help and Support Center

An area within Windows XP that provides answers to common user questions and shows users how to perform routine Windows tasks. Also known as the HSC.

hibernate mode

A mode that utilizes the least amount of laptop power possible while still maintaining your current memory contents.

Home Networking Wizard

A Windows XP wizard that walks the user through a network's setup.

home page

A Web site's foundational page from which all other pages connect. Often, your browser's starting page will be the home page of a Web site such as Microsoft.


The computer that supplies the file and printer resources shared by guest computers in using the Direct Cable Connection.

hot links

See [links]
hot spot

See [links]

The combination of an Alt keypress combined with another key that selects command buttons. The key you press with Alt is displayed with an underlined letter.


See [Help and Support Center]

See [Hypertext Markup Language]

See [links]
Hypertext Markup Language

Also called HTML, the language behind all Web pages that formats the page to look and respond the way it does.


See [Internet Connection Firewall]

Small pictures that represent commands and programs in Windows XP.

IEEE 1394

See [FireWire]
illustrated video

See [slideshow]
image toolbar

A pop-up toolbar that appears when you point to a graphics image inside Internet Explorer.


The process of loading a file into an application when the file was not originally stored in the application's native, default format.


The Outlook Express folder that holds your incoming e-mail messages.

incremental backup

A backup you make that only backs up the files that have changed since your previous backup. Also called differential backup.


Invisible light that works well for transmitting between digital devices, such as television remote controls and infrared peripherals.

installation routine

The steps needed to add programs to your PC so that they interact properly with the Windows XP environment.

instant messaging

See [MSN Messenger]

A collection of networked computer systems that you can dial in to by using a modem; the Internet contains a limitless assortment of information.

Internet Connection Firewall

A simple Windows XP firewall system that helps protect users from unauthorized, outside access. Also known as ICF.

Internet Explorer

The Web-browsing software that Microsoft provides with Windows.


Stands for Internet service provider; the company that you use to connect to the Internet. Examples of ISPs include America Online, Earthlink, and MSN.


A language that programmers use to create Web page applets.

legacy applications

Programs written for previous editions of Windows.

legacy hardware

Older hardware that was designed before engineers invented the plug-and-play specification.


Web page items with descriptions that you can click to display other Web pages. Often, a Web page will contain several links to other sites that contain related information. Also called links, hot spots, hyperlinks, and hypertext links.

logging on

The process that enables you to gain access to a networked computer. Also known as signing on.


The process of enlarging a window to the full size of the screen.


The types of storage on which you store and back up data. Examples of media are disk, tape, and paper.

memory recall

The Windows XP calculator's ability to recall a value from memory that you've stored there.

memory stick

A storage device for some kinds of digital cameras.


See [MSN Messenger]
Microsoft Network

The name of Microsoft's online Internet service.

Microsoft Outlook

A program that comes with Microsoft Office that keeps track of contacts, to-do lists, phone calls, messages, faxes, and your appointment calendar.

Microsoft Passport

An online repository of information that an Internet user can securely store on the Internet to enable quicker access to certain Web features.


The process of shrinking a window to its taskbar button without closing the window completely.


A device that enables your computer to communicate with other computers over the telephone.

mouse cursor

See [mouse pointer]
mouse pointer

The arrow cursor that moves on the screen when you move your mouse (also called the mouse cursor).


See [MPEG-3]

A common file format that compresses video and audio files to relatively small sizes. Most of today's online music is stored in the MPEG-3 format. Also known as MP3.


See [Microsoft Network]
MSN Messenger

A program that enables users to send instant messages to each other from across Internet and network connections. Also known as Messenger.


The process of a computer that is running more than one program at the same time.

My Computer

A window that enables you to see and manage your computer's devices.


The voice that plays during a video clip.


An Internet service that enables you to place calls to telephones.


One or more computers that share files or hardware resources by means of a cable or wireless connection.

Network Administrator

A person in charge of monitoring network usage and controlling access to the network.

network hub

A device that connects multiple computers together to form a network.

network interface card

An adapter card that you place inside a computer to connect that computer to a network. Also known as a NIC, pronounced "nick."

network server

The networked computer that supplies programs and data to other computers on the network.


Areas of the Internet, organized by topic, that contain files and messages you can read and send.


See [network interface card]
notification area

The bottom-right side of the Windows taskbar where icons appear.

null modem cable

A cable that plugs into the serial port of two computers so the computers can share a direct cable connection.

offline format

A Web page stored on your disk that is viewable without an Internet connection.

offline printing

The process of printing to a disk file when no printer is attached to your PC.


The mode in which a printer is ready to print. Also refers to communicating with another computer or the Internet remotely.

opening a window

The process of starting a program in a window or double- clicking an icon to display a window.

option buttons

A Windows XP control that appears next to each item in a list that you use to select one item from the list.


The direction, horizontal or vertical, that a printer uses to print output on a page.


The Outlook Express folder that holds your outgoing e-mail that has yet to be sent. After Outlook Express sends the message, the Sent Items folder holds a copy of the message.

Outlook Express

A Windows-integrated address book and e-mail system that handles e-mail messages and gives you access to Internet newsgroups.


The graphics drawing program that comes with Windows XP.


The disk and folder location of a file.

PC cards

See [PCMCIA Cards]

Also called PC cards. Small credit card-sized I/O cards that add functionality, such as modems and memory, to laptops and to some desktops.

peer-to-peer network

A network system in which each computer can share files, programs, and resources—such as printers—with other computers on the network.


The determination of how much access to Windows XP's system that a user can access. A user might have file-reading permission, file-writing permission, or both.

Personal bar

An area at the left of some Internet Explorer screens that contains common Web pages and other online information the user prefers to see.


Stands for picture element. A pixel is the smallest addressable dot on your screen.


A grouping of songs, categorized by favorite artist or by type of music.

Plug and Play

The feature that detects and automatically configures the operating system to match new hardware that you install on your computer system.


A measurement of 1/72 of an inch (72 points equals one inch). Most computer onscreen and printed text measures from 9 to 12 points in size.

pop-up help

A help window that appears when you click the What's This button on a dialog box (a button that contains a question mark) and then click over a control inside the dialog box. Also known as roving help.

pop-up menu

A menu that appears when you right-click your mouse button. Also known as a context-sensitive menu because the menu's choices relate to whatever item on the screen you right-clicked over.

print queue

A combination of memory and disk space that temporarily holds printed output until the printing completes.


An active program or routine currently loaded into memory.

property sheet

A name given to an individual tabbed page inside a multi-page dia - log box.


See [print queue]
Readme file

A file with last-minute changes, notes, tips, and warnings about the software you're about to install. Often a software vendor puts notes in the Readme file that didn't make it into the printed owner's manual.


The process of restarting your computer through the keyboard (by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete).

Recycle Bin

A location that holds files you delete from within Windows XP; as long as you do not delete the files from the Recycle Bin, you can restore the files to their original location.


A file is registered when you've associated an application with that file's extension.


A central repository of all possible information for your hardware.

remote assistance

The ability of one user from a networked location or from across the Internet to temporarily take control of another's computer for help and support.


The number of dots per inch used to form a digital picture.

Rich Text Format

A common file format that retains special character formatting. Also known as RTF after the filename extension, .rtf, used for the format.

root directory

The top-level folder on a disk drive.

roving help

See [pop-up help]

See [Rich Text Format]
running total

The calculator maintains a constant display. For example, if the display contains the value 87 and you press the plus sign and then press 5, the calculator adds the 5 to the 87 and produces the sum of 92.


A font that can be printed in multiple sizes.

scientific calculator

A Windows calculator that supports trigonometric, scientific, and number-conversion operations.


A part of a data document you place on the Windows desktop.


A program that waits in the background and executes only if you stop using your computer for a while. The screensaver either blanks your screen or displays moving text and graphics. Screen savers can help eliminate burn-in problems. Many computer users use screen savers to put fancy designs and pictures on their monitors when they are not using their computers.


See [ToolTips]

Windows XP controlling tools that enable you to view a window's contents more fully.

Search Companion

A comic character that helps you search for data.

search engine

A Web-based program that looks for Internet information for you.

Sent Items folder

The Outlook Express folder that holds all messages that you have sent over the Internet.

separator page

A page that contains text or graphics that prints between print jobs.


A link (the shortcut) to a file item that takes the place of a copy and saves disk storage.


An optional text message that follows the e-mail and newsgroup postings you send. Some users place their address and phone number in their e-mail signature so that they do not have to type the information each time they send e-mail.

signing on

See [logging on]

The location of a Web page or set of related Web pages.


A specific look, or theme, or Media Player.


The showing of images, one at a time, with optional background music and narration, in Windows Movie Maker. Also known as illustrated video.


A saved image of your computer's memory at one point in time.


A slang term used to describe the transferring of files from one computer to another using a disk.


The process of Windows controlling a printer's output.

standard calculator

A Windows calculator that performs common mathematical operations.

Start button

The button at the left of the taskbar that displays the Windows XP cascading menu of choices. When you click the Start button, the Windows XP Start menu appears.

Start menu

A Windows XP system and program menu that appears when you click the taskbar's Start button.

status bar

A message area at the bottom of a window that updates to show you what is happening at any given moment.

still image

A single frame of a movie or a picture.


The laying out of scenes that help in the planning of a movie.


The process of sending audio or video data to a media player as the player plays the clip, as opposed to the entire audio or video clip being sent before beginning to play.


The updating of a Web page with its contents currently appearing on the Internet.

T1 connection

A high-speed constant Internet connection available to people who work in companies that install T1 lines.

Task Manager

A program that enables you to stop programs that are currently running or that have stopped running but still consume memory. Also, you can use the Task Manager to view memory consumed by each currently running program.


The bar at the bottom of a Windows XP screen where running program icons appear along with the system clock.

taskbar properties menu

The menu that appears when you click the right mouse button over an empty spot on the taskbar. You can control the performance and appearance of the taskbar and Windows XP through the taskbar properties menu.

text cursor

See [cursor]

A collection of colors and window elements found in the Control Panel that you can apply to your computer to make its appearance more to your liking.


A set of postings that go together, such as a question and the answer replies.

thumbnail sketch

A small representation that shows the overall layout without showing much detail.


The effect of placing all open windows on the screen so that the body of each window appears next to, above, or below the other windows.


A row showing the length of video elements in a movie.


A strip of buttons across a window that offers one-button access to common commands and tasks.


Paint's collection of drawing, coloring, and painting tools.


Pop-up messages that describe buttons under the mouse cursor. Also known as ScreenTips.


The way one clip or image changes to the next in a slideshow or video.


The process of shortening a video clip.


A Windows type of font that renders well in the Windows environment.


The process of connecting to a networked or stand-alone computer from a remote location.


A format for digital cameras and scanners that makes the devices compatible with computers.


The look of a font; fonts with similar typefaces look similar to each other, such as Courier and Courier Modern.


The process of removing installed programs from the Windows XP environment.


The address of an Internet Web site. URL is an acronym for uniform resource locator.


A port you use to plug external devices into your computer. Also known as Universal Serial Bus.

utility program

A program that helps you interact with Windows XP more efficiently or effectively, as opposed to application programs that you run to do your work.

virus program

A program that destroys other files, often coming as an attachment to e-mail or embedded in software that you download from the Internet.


The background graphics that appear on the Windows XP desktop.


A system for formatting Internet information into readable and manageable pages of text, graphics, video, and sound, short for World Wide Web.

wildcard character

A character that represents one or more characters in file and folder names.

Windows Clipboard

An area of memory that temporarily holds data you send to it until you replace the contents with other data or until you restart Windows XP.

Windows Movie Maker

The Windows application that enables you to edit and create movies.

Windows Media Player

The Windows application that plays audio and video clips.

Windows Update

A program that automatically checks your Windows system files against an online database to ensure that they match the latest release.


A step-by-step process that leads you through the execution of a Windows XP task. Many Windows XP programs, such as Microsoft Word for Windows, include specific wizards.


The simple word processing program that comes with Windows XP.


World Wide Web.

See also [Web]



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