If you don’t have a lot of experience on the computer, then some of the terms we use on the Speed Up My PC blog may seem confusing. What is a kilobyte? What does RAM stand for? What is considered a ‘peripheral’? Today, we’re going to define some basic computer terms for you.

Byte: The basic unit of storage on a computer. A byte is incredibly small.

Kilobyte: A unit of storage made up of approximately 1000 bytes (1024 to be exact). Download speeds are often measured in terms of kilobytes per second (kb/sec).

Megabyte: One million bytes. A typical .mp3 file is about 4 or 5 megabytes.

Gigabyte: One billion bytes. Larger files are defined in gigabytes. For example, a computer manufacturer may advertise its hard drive as being able to store 500GB.

RAM: RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Your computer needs RAM in order to function properly. This memory is constantly being accessed whenever you use your computer, and it’s used to store small levels of information that need to be accessed over a short period of time. If you want to speed up your computer, many people will suggest that you start by adding more RAM to your system.

Applications: This is a broad term used to define any program or task that is running on your computer. You may use applications like Microsoft Word or Mozilla Firefox, for example.

Peripherals: A peripheral can be defined as any external hardware component, like a mouse, keyboard, printer, speakers, or headphones.

CPU: This is the Central Processing Unit. It is essentially the brains of the computer, and the CPU tells your computer what it should be doing at all times. CPUs can come in single-core, dual-core, or even quad-core, and in general, the more cores there are, the more applications a computer can handle simultaneously.

Crash: A computer is said to have ‘crashed’ when it suddenly stops working. Your screen may freeze and turn into a Blue Screen of Death, for example. Or, you could be forced to restart your PC after it stops responding. This is often the early signs of a serious error – like a virus or malware problem.

Hard drive: This is the basic storage unit in your computer. All of your files and folders are stored on your hard drive, as well as the Windows operating system. You may purchase an external hard drive if you want to create more room on your PC, and some users may have multiple internal hard drives as well.

Defragment: Another popular way to speed up a PC is to ‘defragment’ the hard drive. Over time, the files on your hard drive spread apart. As you add more files onto the drive, your important files grow farther and farther from one another in a process called ‘fragmentation’. This slows down your computer and increases the access times for your PC. By ‘defragmenting’ your hard drive, you can push these files closer together, reducing the strain on your hard drive and speeding up your PC.

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