IT Glossary

A  •  •  •  •  E  •  F  •  G  •  •  •  J  •  K  •  L  •  M  •  N  •  O  • P  •  Q  •  R  •  S  •  T  •  U  •  V  •  W  •  X  •  Y  •  Z

Still can't find the definition you're looking for? Try these additional resources:

Adware, Sponsorware, Spyware Many companies, in an attempt to profile customers' purchasing habits, will install software on your computer to track Internet surfing or other activities. Read the End User License Agreement (EULA) before checking "I accept" when downloading. Peer-to-peer file sharing programs, screensavers, and games are commonly bundled with spyware in an attempt to pay for the "free" software. If you find that your computer is running slowly, or is displaying an unusually high number of pop-up advertisements, you may be infected with spyware. Several commercial products exist to remove it; however three free tools are recommended by ITS. They are Spybot, AdAware, and Microsoft AntiSpyware. By running scans through all three programs on a regular basis, you can safely and effectively remove many spyware applications.
Bit The smallest unit of data on a computer. A bit contains a single one or zero.
Byte The smallest meaningful unit of data. There are 8 bits in a byte and a byte can hold a single character.
CD-ROM Compact Disc – Read Only Memory
A type of media storage that can hold up to 700 Megabytes of permanent information. It is generally accepted as the easiest way to distribute large software.
CD-R Compact Disc – Recordable
Functions as a CD-ROM to which a home user can record data or music. You are able to write to a CD-R only once, and once it is written, it can be accessed as easily as a CD-ROM. Writing to CD-R media requires special hardware called a CD Burner.
CD-RW Compact Disc - Rewritable
Functions like a CD-R, but can be erased and rewritten many times. Is not readable in some older computers or audio CD players. Writing to CD-RW media requires special hardware called a CD Burner.
DHCP DHCP is a method for configuring network settings on a computer. Nazareth University uses DHCP to assign your computer a unique IP address.
Disk Quota (Orion) Nazareth University assigns a certain amount of disk space on Orion for you to store your e-mail and personal website. If you go over your disk quota, you will need to delete some files before your e-mail will work.
DVD Digital Versatile Disc
Allows for the storage of digital quality movies, as well as multiple gigabytes of data. DVD-writable media is available and can be used in much the same way as CD-R and CD-RW media. Writing to DVD media requires special hardware called a DVD Burner. Writable DVD media has several different competing formats, including DVD-R, DVD+R, and DVD-RAM, all of which require slightly different hardware to use.
Ethernet A computer network configuration that allows for efficient wiring and fast network access. Devices that interface your computer with an Ethernet network are called Ethernet Adaptors or Network Cards.
Firefox Firefox is a web browser manufactured by the Mozilla Foundation. Firefox works equally well, and in some cases, better, than Internet Explorer for Internet surfing. In addition, it is not yet plagued with security problems and viruses. Information about Firefox and free installation software for many computer platforms is available at
Firewall A firewall is a device or a software program that protects a network or computer from hacker attacks. Nazareth University has a firewall that separates our computer network from the outside world. However, it is recommended that users have a personal firewall installed on their computer to protect against viruses that may spread through the internal network. Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes a free firewall that is turned on by default.
Flash media Any data storage device that uses flash memory for storage. Flash memory is a type of chip that can store data without a constant source of power. These devices do not have moving parts and therefore do not wear out.
Floppy disk

These are removable storage mediums that will hold just over 1 Megabyte of information. Floppy disks are an older, less stable form of data storage and should be used sparingly.

Note: Floppy disks are reliable only for short-term storage and data transfers. Do not attempt long-term archiving on floppy disks. When using floppies, always make two copies of the file on two different floppies in case one malfunctions. In the unfortunate event of finding yourself unable to access data from a floppy disk, ITS staff is often able to recover files from bad disks. Please stop down to the Technology and Media Service Desk for more information.

FTP Stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is the standard method for sending and receiving files from one computer to another over the Internet. If you choose to create a webpage and store it on the Orion server, you will need to use FTP to transfer it over.
Hertz A measurement of computer CPU speed, equal to one cycle per second. More recently measured in Gigahertz, a unit of measure referring to one billion Hertz. Most computers in use today have a CPU speed of at least 1 Gigahertz, or one billion cycles per second.
HTTP Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The way the information in a webpage is transferred from the server to your web browser.
Hub/Port-splitter Commonly called port-splitters, a hub is a small device that allows you to connect multiple computers to one Ethernet port.
IMAP error This error can appear in WebMail when you have exceeded your disk quota. To fix it, delete the files in your "Deleted Messages" and "Sent Messages" folder. Occasionally, more in-depth fixing is required. If you need assistance with an IMAP error, contact the Technology and Media Service Desk.
Internet Explorer A web browser manufactured by Microsoft that comes bundled with most versions of Windows. Many regard Internet Explorer as the "standard" web browser. However, it recently has been the target for many hacks and viruses. It is recommended that you regularly update it through the Windows Update website or that you also use another browser such as Firefox. It is perfectly acceptable to have more than one browser at a time on your computer.
IP address An Internet Protocol or IP address is a unique number assigned to your computer on a network or on the Internet. When in a dorm at Nazareth University your IP should start with the number 192. Instructions for checking your IP address are available on the ITS CD-ROM or by calling x2111.
MAC address A Media Access Control, or MAC Address, is a unique number assigned by the manufacturer of a network card to that particular card.
Network A Network exists when two or more computers or printers are interconnected.
Operating systems An Operating System, or OS, is the software package that controls basic functions of your computer's operation. Windows, MacOS, and Linux are three popular Operating Systems. Regardless of what Operating System you have, it is important to keep it updated. The website of your Operating System's manufacturer will have information on how to do this. ITS Staff will also gladly answer any questions you may have.
Orion This is the name of the e-mail and personal web page hosting server here at Nazareth University. WebMail interfaces directly with Orion to provide your e-mail service.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) A type of "ad-hoc" network allowing the sharing of files. Peer-to-peer services such as BitTorrent, Kazaa, Bearshare, WinMX, and Ares are prohibited on the Nazareth University network because they can lead to criminal copyright infringement and waste network resources. (See the Nazareth University Computing Code of Conduct).
Phishing Phishing is a type of social engineering attack designed to convince a user to give up confidential personal information. Phishing attacks usually come through e-mail and are created to look like authentic e-mails from companies such as eBay or various banks. They usually ask you to fill out a form to "verify your information." The attacker then uses this information to steal a victim's identity. If you have questions about a suspicious e-mail, you may forward that e-mail to or call ITS at x2111.
Portable media Any type of material that information is written to and stored on, and can be taken away from the workstation. This includes: flash media (i.e. jump drives, pen drives, etc.), ZIP disks, floppy disks, CD-ROM's, memory sticks, etc.
RAM RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a type of non-permanent storage used by computers to temporarily hold files that are being used. RAM access is faster than hard drive access, so the computer loads programs and files you are working on into RAM to speed up your work. Generally, you can realize a major speed increase simply by adding more RAM to your computer.
Spam Unsolicited bulk e-mail is commonly called Spam. Many companies will send junk mail to your e-mail address with offers of unbelievable value or to advertise a service. It is best to simply ignore and delete spam, because replying to it will only confirm to the spammer that your e-mail address is valid.
Switch A switch allows for the interconnection of computers on a network in much the same way a hub does. However, a switch is more efficient and more secure, and thus more costly.
Telnet Telnet is an Internet protocol that allows computers and servers to connect to each other over a network. Telnet at Nazareth University is used when creating a webpage or when troubleshooting e-mail problems.
USB Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a standard that allows multiple devices to share the same type of connection. It facilitates "Plug and Play" or "hot swap", allowing a user to install and disconnect hardware without shutting down the computer.
USB drives The recommended storage device in the labs is a portable USB flash drive or key. Such devices are available from many vendors, and are commonly known as a USB drive, key, or stick. All ITS labs are equipped with USB ports (or cables) that are accessible at the front of the machine for your convenience. Commonly referred to as Jump Drives, Pen Drives, Key Drives, Thumb Drives, USB Memory Sticks, Flash Drives, or Memory Keys, USB Drives offer increased reliability, capacity, speed, portability, and security over the traditional floppy or zip disks.
Virus A virus is a malicious computer program, often spread through e-mail or through a network. Viruses replicate themselves and infect your computer, causing much damage and annoyance. You can protect yourself from viruses by installing and keeping up-to-date an Antivirus software package such as Norton, McAfee, Symantec, AVG, or Panda. Nazareth University provides free Symantec Antivirus software to all residential students.
Wireless card A Wireless Card is a device that permits your computer to access a network wirelessly. In order to use a wireless card, you need to be in a "hotspot" within range of a wireless network access point.
Zip disk These are removable storage media that, depending on the size of the disk, will hold 100 – 750 MB of data. Nazareth University currently supports ZIP 100 and ZIP 250 disks in our computer labs.