Windows Vista & XP Glossary: M

malware: A type of application that is designed to cause problems (such as file corruption and stealing personal information) to computer systems.

master file system: When burning CDs and DVDs, this setting allows the disc to be read by most computers and players, but it does restrict you to only adding files one time.

media card: A storage device that’s essentially the same thing as flash memory, although media cards are designed for use with various gizmos, such as digital cameras and MP3 players.

Meeting Space: A Windows tool that allows you to set up networks on the fly without a hub or a router by skipping among wireless cards.

memory: Temporary computer information storage which is emptied when you turn off the computer; also called RAM.

memory card: A solid-state (meaning it has no moving parts) computer information storage device.

memory module: A narrow printed circuit board that holds memory chips.

microprocessor: Your computer’s main hardware chip that determines the speed at which your computer can work; also called the processor and CPU.

MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface; rather than digital audio, a MIDI file gives the computer directions on how to play a song — kind of like how a program is a set of directions that tells your computer how to accomplish a task.

mini 1394: A special version of IEEE 1394 (FireWire) that’s designed specifically for digital video and digital cameras.

mini-DIN: A standard computer connector used to connect a microphone to your PC.

mini-tower: The most popular PC configuration, where the desktop computer sits upright on a desktop or tucked away below the desk.

modem: A device that allows your computer to communicate with other computers through the Internet.

modifier key: A key on a keyboard that works in combination with other keys to do various tasks.

modular: Being made up of a number of individual pieces that can each be replaced without having to change the whole.

monitor: The box and hardware that make up the part of your computer that displays information.

motherboard: The computer’s main circuitry board, which contains essential PC components, such as the processor and memory.

mouse: A helpful input device that lets you work with graphical objects that the computer displays on the monitor’s screen.

MP3 card: A specialized sound card that contains a hardware encoder/decoder, which speeds up your PC’s ripping and MP3-playing performance.

MPEG card: A video card specifically designed for encoding and decoding Motion Picture Experts Group digital video (usually from a DVD).

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