Computer and Laptop Vocabulary

English Expressions for Using and Owning a Computer

Desktop
Listen to the phrase »

A desktop is a traditional looking computer that has a long rectangular box like structure. This is the main part of the machine and it does all of the computing. The monitor is separate from this “rectangular box”. This type of computer is usually kept on the desk or floor underneath the desk. They are not easy to move from room to room.

“At home I have my desktop in the office. This is where I do most of my work.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Laptop or Notebook Computer
Listen to the phrase »

A small skinny computer that runs on battery power, or AC power when plugged in. These computers fold up for easy storage and transport.

“I bring my laptop everywhere. These new ones are very light.”

Tower
»

The long rectangular box like structure that does all of the computing in a desktop computer. The keyboard, monitor and mouse are plugged into the back of this.

“When my computer is giving me problems I just take the tower in to the store to get repaired. There is no need to drag the keyboard and the monitor too.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Flash drive or Memory stick
»

Small device that plugs in to the computer to save files on

“My flash drive has all of my documents and pictures on it. I would be upset if I lost it.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

To be outdated
»

In terms of computers, this means that the technology and parts are old compared to what computer manufacturers are offering now.

“These days a computer can be outdated in one year.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

User error
»

A mistake made by the user of the computer program that results in the program not working correctly

“I was convinced that my computer was broken because the images were not appearing correctly. It turns out that it was a user error. I didn’t have the settings set up properly.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Computer virus
»

A program that gets in your computer that is designed to hurt the system. The programs, or viruses, can be spread from one computer to another.

“Jon couldn’t finish his assignment tonight because his computer has a virus. He will have to use the school’s computer tomorrow to get this work done.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

To crash
»

The failure of a computer’s software, or hardware, resulting in the computer not operating

“This has been a crazy morning. My computer crashed and I lost all of my files. I don’t know what I am going to do.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Firewall
»

A technological barrier designed to block unwanted communication with other computers or systems

“You really need to get some kind of a firewall program installed on your computer. Your computer will always run slow until you do this.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Operating system
»

A system that runs all of the programs on your computer. Windows 7 and Microsoft Vistas are examples of operating systems.

“What kind of operating system is your computer using? If it is outdated, you need to upgrade.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

To be compatible with
»

When talking about software, this means that it can run on other systems with no problems

“The new accounting software we purchased for the office is not compatible with my home computer. I guess I can’t work from home.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Screen saver
»

An image that pops up on a computer’s monitor when there is no activity.

“Jenna has a cute picture of her kids as her screen saver at work.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Software glitch
»

An error in the program that makes it not work correctly

“Apparently there was a software glitch on the computers at work that blocked us from accessing the data.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Back up a file
»

To copy a file in a different location in the event that the original gets lost or damaged.

“Before we continue, let’s back this file up. I would be crushed if we were to lose all of this work we have done.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Cyber bullying
»

To use social media programs like Facebook or My Space to intimidate or embarrass another person. This happens a lot with teenagers.

“Cyber bullying has become a problem among the youth today. Everyone has a Facebook account and people are abusing it.”

  • Listening Exercise for Computer Terms
  • Computer Vocabulary Reading Exercise
  • Computer Vocabulary Worksheet II
  • Computer Terms Matching