Terms to Know when Cleaning Windows XP

By Allen Wyatt

Part of Cleaning Windows XP For Dummies Cheat Sheet

You clean Windows XP in an effort to rid it of things that shouldn’t be on your computer and things you don’t need on your computer. The following list explains some of the things a cleaning tries to sweep off your PC and some of the tools you can use to clean things up:

Term Definition Term Definition
adware A program that delivers advertising directly to your computer,
typically in the form of pop-ups.
program inventory A list of what programs should be installed on your
archive A data file kept for historical reasons. RAM An acronym for random access memory. RAM is used as the working
area for both programs and data being processed by the
cache A storage area used as a repository of temporary files. Caches
are typically implemented by programs because reading information
from a cache is much quicker than retrieving it from the primary
source. All Web browsers implement some sort of cache to make
browsing the Web faster.
Registry The central repository of all configuration information in a
Windows XP system.
cookie A small data file, stored on your system, designed to save
information about you and your preferences. This information is
used by Web sites to customize the information presented to you in
some way.
spam Unsolicited e-mail received from people or companies that you
have no prior relationship with, or from people or companies that
you previously severed your relationship with.
firewall Software or hardware designed to prohibit unauthorized access
to your system across a network.
spyware A program that reports information about you or your actions to
someone else, all without your knowledge.
flash drive A storage device implemented through the use of static RAM. The
memory is viewed as a disk drive by Windows, even though the device
has no moving parts. Flash drives are relatively small in size
(64MB to 512MB) but are extremely fast.
temporary files Data files created by programs for temporary use. Sometimes
temporary files aren’t deleted properly, and they end up
cluttering a system with unnecessary data.
orphan data Data files left behind by a program long-since removed from a
Trojan horse Effectively the same as a virus, but delivered to your system
as part of an otherwise acceptable software program.
pop-up A form of advertisement that results in small browser windows
“popping up” on your screen. Pop-ups can be displayed by
visiting Web pages that include code that displays them, or by the
installation of adware on your system.
virus A program designed to interrupt or change your computing
efforts, or designed to corrupt or destroy data. A virus always
includes ways to propagate and spread itself to others.