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Those parts of a computer you can see and touch, such as the screen, the hard disk, the mouse, etc.
Internet A large collection of computers, connected together to allow them to share information with one another.

A link, or hyperlink, is a part of a Web page that, if clicked with a mouse, opens a different Web page. Links are usually shown in blue and underlined on a web page.

A word used to describe a computer that is in the same (geographic) location as the person using it. The opposite concept is ‘remote’ – a computer somewhere else, to which a local machine is connected using a network.

A part of the computer that stores information for a short period of time. This information can be very rapidly accessed by the CPU.

A device which allows a computer to connect to the Internet via standard analogue telephone lines.

The small rounded device attached to the side of the computer that, when moved, moves the cursor on the computer screen.

A word used as shorthand for ‘on the Internet’ or ‘connected to the Internet’.

Operating system
The software program that tells a computer how to run and where to find the files it needs to deliver services to the user. The operating system makes the other software programs (word processor, browser, etc.) run and also handles the hard disk, the memory and so on. Microsoft Windows is a common operating system, so are Unix and Linux.

The electronic brain of a computer, that reads the instructions in a software program and tells the other parts of the hardware what to do. Also referred to as a CPU or central processing unit.

A list of instructions that a computer understands. Programs usually have some part that shows information to the human users of the computer – for example, the display in a browser is part of the browser program. The browser also includes parts that are not visible to the human user, like the part that sends messages to the Web server.

Search engine
A program running on a Web server computer which creates and maintains a directory of Web pages on the Internet. The engine has a Web page with a form; you type in words describing what you are looking for; the engine looks up its directory and sends back a list of Web pages that it thinks will fit your search criteria.

Search results
The list of Web pages that are returned by a search engine in response to a search. Each result usually includes a link which can be clicked on to bring you to the Web page.

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