In the age of digital information, it’s important that you know how to use computer-related English words properly.

You might know how to do basic tasks on a computer intuitively, but you need to know how to use these words to describe what you’re doing. What if you’re showing your customers or students how to use a program or interface on the computer?

Sometimes we make up our own words when describing what we’re doing, but do learn to use universally accepted words that we all agreed upon. Here’s the list of computer-related English words for beginners.

HARDWARE

Hardware can be used to describe any physical piece of computer component. The CPU, RAM, monitor, and keyboard are some of hardware pieces that your computer is comprised of.

SOFTWARE

Software is any program that works inside your computer. It does not refer to any physical computer parts. It’s a program because someone created it using a computer. Think Microsoft Word and iTunes.

Sometimes people refer to body as a hardware, and mind as a software of a person. That’s an interesting metaphor!

INSTALL/UNINSTALL

To install a software means to set it up. A software is usually packaged as a zip or other file format so that it can be transferred across computers. When you install a software, it sets up its files inside your computer so that you can start using the computer.

Uninstall means removing those files that were once inside your computer to run the program.

This software requires that you install an Active X plugin on your browser.

This software requires that you set up and enable an Active X plugin on your browser.

RUN/EXECUTE

Run or execute is used when telling the software to do what it’s coded or commanded to do.

You must enable your browser to execute the security plugin when you access the online banking system.

You must enable your browser to run the security plugin when you access the online banking system.

ACTIVATED/DEACTIVATED

When a software or program is activated on your computer, it means it’s turned on. It’s working. Deactivated means off.

The plugin is not activated on your computer.

The plugin is turned off on your computer.

“Activated/deactivated” can be used to describe the status of hardware or software.

COMPATIBLE/INCOMPATIBLE

When something is compatible to each other, it means they works well together.

Sorry, you can’t view our website. Our website is not compatible with your browser.

Sorry, you can’t view our website. Our website does not work well with your browser.

“Compatible” can be used to describe how well any multiple pieces of hardware or software go well with each other.

EXPORT

When you want to create a file from data, you say export. Export could also mean converting a file format differently from the original file format.

Please export the weekly report as PDF, not DOC.

Please create the weekly report as a PDF file, not a DOC file.

RENDER/BOUNCE

Render (or bounce) is like export, but mostly used when exporting media files, such as audio, video and image.

It takes a long time to render multiple video clips to make them into a single video file. 

It takes a long time to convert and export multiple video clips to make them into a single video file.

ACCESS GRANTED/DENIED

These combination of words are usually used when talking about giving someone a permission to view, access, or use a file or information that’s not publicly made available. You might also see “permission granted” or “permission denied” used in a similar fashion.

Access denied! You do not have a sufficient privilege to view this file.

Meaning: You can’t see this file. We never gave you a permission to.

What are some of the computer-related words or sentences that you came across and confused you? Leave your comments and questions below.

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