Learning about computers requires you to become familiar with a series of acronyms that refer to various aspects of computer technology.

The list of computer acronyms used to describe various components can be overwhelming if you are just beginning to understand the world of computer science.  To help you focus on the most significant terms, we have organised a list of computer acronyms to help you get started.

Would you like to download our complete A-Z list of computer acronyms? Just click the image below.

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AD – Active Directory:  AD is a Microsoft directory service with a domain controller.  The controller authenticates and authorises a set of processes and services accessed by users and computers running on a Windows Server operating system and domain network.

AI – Artificial Intelligence:  AI refers to the intelligence displayed by any computing devices or software that is capable of exhibiting intelligent behaviour.

AIFF – Audio Interchange File Format:  AIFF is a common audio format developed by Apple Corporation and is used as a standard format for storing and transmitting audio samples.

AMOLED – Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode:  AMOLED is a type of power saving display technology commonly used in mobile devices.  The technology is comprised of an active matrix of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) pixels integrated with a TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) array which controls electrical currents being transmitted to each individual pixel within the device display.

API – Application Program Interface:  API is a technology used to create software applications using a group of set protocols and routines that define the functionality of the software.

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange:  ASCII is a format used for text files in both UNIX and DOS operating systems. The files consist of 7-bit binary numbers that represent a numeric, alphabetic, or special character within the code. The purpose of the files are to support specific functions within an operating system.

AVI – Audio Visual Interleave:  AVI is a Microsoft container format which stores both audio and video files to allow the playback of audio with video.

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BIOS – Basic Input/Output System:  BIOS refers to the firmware installed in all personal computers and is an important part of the boot up process. The BIOS is the first component that runs when you start up a computer and also allows the user to control the manner in which the computer boots up.

BMP – Bitmap:  BMP is a simple graphics file format used on computers running the Windows operating system.  The BMP file format is not compressed and typically large in size. This means the format cannot be used for transmitting images over the Internet.

BPS – Bits per Second:  BPS is a computing bit rate which defines the number of bits that are transmitted over a specified unit of time. Bits per second determines the connection speed of computers and communications technology.

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device:  BYOD is a policy used in business environments that permits employees to use their own computers and mobile devices in the workplace. BYOD policies are put in place to keep sensitive information safe while improving employee productivity.

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CD-R – Compact Disc Recordable:  A CD-R is a compact disc that can be written to in a single instance and then read at random multiple times.

CD-ROM – Compact Disc Read-Only Memory:  A CD-ROM is a compact disc that digitally stores data that can be accessed using your computer.  CD-ROMS are not writeable and you cannot erase the data, hence the Read-Only Memory described in the term CD-ROM.

CD-RW – Compact Disc Re-Writeable:  CD-RW is a compact disc that can be written to, erased, and then written to again multiple times.  It is commonly used as a means for backing up and storing files and data.

CPU – Central Processing Unit:  A CPU is the electronic circuit board inside a computer and is responsible for carrying out instructions delivered by a computer application.  The instructions involve performing the logic, arithmetic equations and I/O (input/output) as specified by the program.

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DDR – Double Data Rate:  DDR refers to a category of memory integrated circuits built into a computer system.  The DDR technology facilitates higher data transfer rates when compared to SDR (Single Data Rate) and by using stringent control of electrical data and clock signal timing. The different classes of DDR include DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, and most recently, DDR4.  DDR is commonly referred to as synchronous dynamic random-access memory or DDR SDRAM.

DLL – Dynamic Link Library:  DLL is a shared library system of files used with the Windows operating system.  The code contained in a DLL file is shared among all processes which rely on a specific DLL file to operate. This means they inhabit a single location in the physical memory which in turn, saves on space while improving functionality and efficiency.

DMA – Direct Memory Access:  DMA is a program included in computer operating systems which assists the Central Processing Unit (CPU) when the CPU is unable to keep up with data transfer rates or is challenged with slow data transfer for Input/Output (I/O). Direct Memory Access sanctions a specific hardware subsystem to independently access the primary Random Access Memory (RAM) separately from the CPU.  This allows the CPU to perform other tasks while the data transfer is taking place.

DNS – Domain Name System:  A DNS is used to identify devices connected to the Internet by using a unique IP (Internet Protocol) address.  The IP address for each device or website location is translated into a domain such as anyname.com which is easier for users to remember instead of entering the numeric IP address version to access a website.  The DNS also acts as a directory service or type of phone book for all devices connected to the Internet to facilitate ease of communications.

DOS – Disk Operating System:  The term DOS refers an early IBM operating system prior to the inception of Windows. The DOS operating system utilises a command line to perform tasks and access applications and was partially present in the early Windows operating systems (95 and 98).  Currently, PC technicians use DOS commands to perform computer repairs and to work with settings within the operating system.

DRAM – Dynamic Random Access Memory:  DRAM is the main memory in laptops, tablets, desktops, and workstation devices.  It is responsible for storing frequently accessed data and applications to provide the user with faster access while performing computing tasks.  DRAM offers a simple design with only one capacitor and transistor used for each bit of data.  It also provides enhanced performance by using separate capacitors to store one bit of data in an integrated circuit.

DVD-R – Digital Versatile Disc Recordable:  DVD-R is a storage format for digital optical discs. The letter “R” means that the DVD disc can be recorded to in one instance and then read at random multiple times.

DVD-RW – Digital Versatile Disk Rewritable:  DVD-RW is an optical disc storage format which allows you to record information to a disc and rewrite it multiple times. The advantage over the DVD-R format is you can erase the data as many times as you want and then rewrite, as opposed to only being able to record once as in a DVD-R format.

DVI – Digital Visual Interface:  DVI is a technology which offers a digital interface used to connect a computer monitor or other display device.  The technology facilitates the transfer of digital video to the display device and is connected to and operates on a unified video standard to ensure device compatibility.

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EDI – Electronic Data Interchange:  EDI is a standard used for electronic communications to transfer structured data between two devices, companies, or users in different areas of the world.  The standard ensures documents can be opened and read when exchanged with devices of different operating systems and applications.

EGA – Enhanced Graphics Adapter: EGA is a standard established by IBM (International Business Machines) which specifies the type of computer display.  EGA defines the display colour and the type of resolution and supports an array of bit colour specifications and pixel aspect ratios.

EULA – End User License Agreement:  A EULA is a contract used by software licensors that defines to the end user how the software can be used.  It is used to protect the copyrights of the software vendor and to establish parameters for the licensed copy of the software.

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FAT – File Allocation Table:  FAT refers to a specific architecture for a computer file system.  The files are commonly found on external storage devices and provide enhanced performance for all types of operating systems.  FAT files were originally found on hard disks when DOS was an operating system but, is no longer used as a main file system in Windows operating systems.  Instead, FAT files act as the default file system for external storage devices.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol: FTP is a protocol which is used to transfer files over the Internet.  The files are transferred from one host to another using a network or Internet connection.  Website managers frequently use FTP to upload files from a computer to a server where the website is stored.

FXP – File Exchange Protocol: FXP is the process of transferring data from one server to the other while bypassing a device connection.  The method is used by network administrators to provide access to data and resources stored on each server when working in different locations.


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