What do Common Computer Terms Mean?

Dec 10 2014

Ever get confused when trying to describe your computer/ computer issues to IT support technicians? In this blog, I will attempt to clarify what terms should be used when reporting an issue.


One of the terms used a fair bit when people are having trouble with their computer is CPU. The CPU is a chip on the motherboard which is the brains behind the computer. The actual item being referenced is a desktop, tower, small form factor (SFF) or a laptop. 

This lets the support technician know that you are talking about your computer as a whole rather than a component inside the computer. I have also heard of people referring to their computer as a hard drive, which is another component inside the computer, and which may or may not be the source of your problem. The clearer you can make your issue to the technician, the sooner they can get down to where the real problem lies.

One of the other terms that may confuse users is what is referred to as RAM (random access memory), which is also known as the memory of a computer. You may be asked “How much RAM or memory is installed in your computer?” and many people may not know, or even know where to find out this information. When you click on the start button in the bottom left corner, type “ram” without the quotes into the search box, then click “Show how much RAM is installed in this computer”, and in the screen following you will see a line stating the amount of installed memory.

The taskbar is another component that a technician may ask you to click on in trying to troubleshoot where your problem is.

Wikipedia provides a description of what the taskbar does and it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with it. 

I believe an informed user is a better user and I am always happy to explain anything I do to those who are interested in expanding their knowledge of technology.

If your company is looking for technicians willing to expand your technology knowledge, then give us a call at Mantralogix, 1-866-320-8922. We are always happy to help!


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