Windows Vista & XP Glossary: C

cable: A means of accessing the Internet that runs through your cable TV coaxial connection.

Caps Lock: A key on a keyboard that, when pressed to make active, causes letters to appear capitalized on the monitor’s display when you press the corresponding letter key on the keyboard.

capture card: A video upgrade card that can capture incoming analog video signal and convert it to digital video.

cartridge: The container that stores ink or toner for use in a printer.

Cat 5: A Category 5 networking cable used to connect a computer to a network hub.

CD: Compact disc; a removable storage medium that can hold data, text, and graphics.

CD/DVD recorder: A type of drive that you can attach to your computer in order to copy data from your PC to a recordable CD or DVD.

chassis: The metal frame on which your computer’s internal components and circuits are mounted.

chip: An integrated computer circuit containing many elements connected on a single unit.

chipset: The collection of computer chips on a single motherboard.

circuit: An electrical device that provides a path for electrical current to flow.

ClearType: ClearType is a special anti-aliasing tool developed by Microsoft to improve the appearance of fonts on high-resolution LCD flat-screen monitors.

codec: A codec (short for coder-decoder or compressor-decompressor) is a small program that converts data from one form to another so that the data can be played on a media player.

command prompt: A traditional DOS-like text interface that allows you to input instructions to the computer.

compatibility mode: A Windows option that allows you to trick an older program into thinking it is running in a previous version of Windows.

compressed file: A folder containing multiple files that have been packed in such a way that all excess space is eliminated.

console: The main computer box; also called the system unit.

controller: The circuits that control data transfer to and from a disk drive (floppy disk, hard disk, or optical disc).

cookies: Tiny files that are used by Web sites to track your online activity and recognize you whenever you access the site.

corona wire: A charged wire in a laser printer that draws the toner off the drum onto the paper.

CPU: Central processing unit; A computer component, often called a processor and microprocessor, whose speed determines how fast your PC operates.

crossover cable: A cable that allows two computers to connect to each other as a network without having to set up an actual Windows network.

CRT: Cathode ray tube; an older type of computer monitor that offers better color quality than an LCD monitor.

cursor: The blinking icon on the computer screen that shows you where the characters you type appear; also called an insertion pointer.

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