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Common Technological Terms That May be Uncommon to You!

We get it! Keeping up with technological jargon can be tricky and confusing! It can be extremely frustrating to understand what someone is trying to tell you when they begin using these foreign sounding words. To help you become familiar with the terminology of our technological devices, we’ve curated the following cheat sheet!


Used to describe two different things. The first is a desktop computer, which we know this as being made up of the following separate components: a monitor (screen), a mouse, keyboard, and the computer hard drive tower. The second is what is commonly known as the screen of your monitor or laptop where you see your screen background photo and all your pinned apps and programs. It acts as your home page where you should be able to easily locate whatever you may be looking for (i.e. files, browser, email, etc.).


Your browser is what connects to the internet and opens webpages. It often has its own icon on the desktop of your computer and is commonly used to refer to applications like GoogleChrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc. Opening your browser gives you access to a Search Engine.

Search Engine

This term is an umbrella term used to make reference to an application on your device that allows you to access the internet. It can be any form of application, including but not limited to Google, Bing, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari,, Yahoo, MSN, etc. It is here in the search engine that you can type an inquiry and search the web for your answer.


A program or set of instructions that tell your device what to do. These can be any type of web browser, operating system (Microsoft Windows), drivers (allow your operating system to communicate with hardware like printers), and utilities (like anti-virus software). You often have to download these from external websites if they were not already included on your device. Be careful where you download software from and make sure you are downloading from reputable sources, preferably at the source of said software (i.e. if downloading Microsoft Office, make sure you are downloading it from the Microsoft Website, not a third-party website).


Any physical component of your device that you require for it to function properly. It can be already be built into your computer like a hard drive for storing files and memory or the CPU – central processing unit, which acts like the brain of your computer. Or it can be an external feature, like keyboards, a mouse, printer, scanner, speakers, or USB thumb drive (memory stick).


Often located at the bottom of your screen, the toolbar is the bar/section on the desktop where you have your pinned icons and applications. For example, this is where you click the icon to access the internet, your email, connect to Wi-Fi, adjust the volume, or access a Microsoft Office application like Excel or Word. An example of one is seen below.

File Explore/Folders

This is an icon often found on your desktop or can be searched for in the search bar feature of your device. This icon allows you to access all documents, images, videos, or files that you have saved or downloaded on your device. You must open this icon to view any downloaded files from the internet as they will appear in the downloads folder for you to access, save, or discard. It is also here that you may view any saved files, like pictures, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, or Word documents. This icon looks like a yellow file folder and is often located on the toolbar of your desktop or as an icon directly on your desktop screen.


Short form of saying “malicious software”. This term is used to refer to any software that can cause damage to your device. This may affect your device through the clicking of suspicious links in emails or on the internet. Therefore, it is important to be sure that the link you are clicking is safe or has come from a reliable and real source.


Occurring through emails and is a form of email fraud. This is when you receive an email from a source that appears to be trustworthy coming from an individual asking for help or offering you a great deal or new program for your device. Often a link to a website is involved or an attached file for you to save. However, these are not safe emails as their purpose is to gather personal and financial information from you that may be used in identity theft or in an attempt to steal your money.


When you move or copy a file from your device onto another platform like social media, a website, or shared drop-box. For example, adding a photo to your Facebook page to share with your friends.


When you copy data or a file from another source other than your own device, typically performed over the internet. For example, if you download an instruction manual from an appliance website for you to read, or you download pictures a relative sent you over email or Facebook.


A type of software capable of causing harm to files and programs on your device either by deleting them completely, stealing your information, or damaging the computer’s hard drive resulting in it no longer working appropriately. A virus can be acquired through clicking suspicious email links from senders, clicking ads on a website, or accessing an unsafe website.


Cookies are files that contain small amounts of data, for example, a password to access a website, and they help improve your browsing experience. These are often saved on your computer’s web-browser to ease your access of these same sites in the future. It is important to clear these occasionally to improve the operation of your device as overtime, when cookies accumulate, they can slow down your device. They also open the door for these hackers to steal information about you. Although generally safe to use on notable websites, cookies are a way for these websites to tailor their website to you as they collect information about what else you have viewed so that they may easily show you similar things.


Is a feature on your device that stores data (i.e. passwords, usernames, frequently access websites) so that in the future you have faster and easier access to them. The purpose of your device’s cache is to make the browsing experience easier for you. It is a handy way to enable your computer to save frequently used passwords so you don’t have to constantly keep entering them when you access a website. However, if your device is running slower than normal, it may be a good idea to check your cached data and delete some of it as this may help speed up your computer. When too much data is accumulated, it runs the risk of slowing down the computer system.

Occasionally clearing your cache and cookies are an important part of practicing proper browser hygiene and ensuring your device and access to the internet runs smoothly.


5 Tips to Speed Up Your Computer

1. Close and Exit Programs in Your System Tray

There may be programs that run in the background when you are using your computer that you may not need. You can find them by going to the system tray on the bottom right side of your screen on the taskbar and clicking the “^” arrow. You can right-click the icons, and some of them will allow you to “exit” or “close” them.

2. Make Sure Your Software Is Up-To-Date

Updating your software, apps, and drivers can help speed up your computer. When a Windows update becomes available a notification will come up on your screen, but you can also check to see if you missed it. From the Start menu, go to Settings, and then to Update & Security. From there, it will tell you if there is an update available.

Sometimes other apps like iTunes will give you notifications that an update is ready to be installed, and updating those apps could improve their performance as well.

3. Delete Files and Programs That You Do Not Use

Sometimes when you have too many files on your computer, it can slow it down. You should delete things like videos, programs, and other large files that you do not use or need anymore to free up space on your hard drive, and make sure to empty your recycle bin after.

4. Change Your Power Settings to Favour Performance

Your computer has a balance between how much power it uses and how fast it is. You can change the balance so that performance is favoured over saving power. To do so, go to Settings, then System, then Power & Sleep, then Additional power settings.

From here, a new window will pop up, and click Create a power plan.

5. Limit Which Programs Run When You Turn on Your Computer

When you start up your computer, many different programs also start up and run in the background which takes away from your computer’s performance. To see these programs, open up the Task Manager by hitting the Control, Shift, and Escape keys at the same time, and then click the Startup tab (note: if you cannot see the Startup tab right away, then click More details and your screen should look something like the following image).

In the Startup tab, you will see the list of programs and can disable things like iTunes, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and other programs that you recognize but do not use all the time. By disabling these programs, you do not actually get rid of them, you just stop them from automatically running when you start up your computer. If you need to use these programs later when you are using your computer, just start them up how you would normally (by searching them in the bottom left corner of your screen, double-clicking on their icon on your desktop, etc.) and then exit out of them when you are finished.


5 Tips for Optimizing Your Battery Life

If you are using your laptop every day for multiple hours at a time you will need to plug in your laptop to a power source throughout the day. If you aren’t using your laptop that much chances are you will be able to go days without charging it especially if you shut its power off! However, no matter your laptop usage, we have compiled some battery saving suggestions for you to practice that hopefully will extend your laptop’s battery life.

1. Dim your screen

The screen itself on your laptop uses a tremendous amount of power. To help reduce the amount it needs try using a dimmer screen. You can adjust this on your laptop by going to “Settings” and changing the “System’s” “Display”, it is here you can adjust the brightness of your screen. There may also be a key on your keyboard that you can press and adjust the brightness of your screen. Depending on your laptop you may only have to press that key, or you may have to simultaneously press the Function key (Fn) at the same time as pressing the brightness key. In the image, the key on the left is to dim the screen making it darker, saving your battery. The key on the right is to make the screen brighter.

2. Don’t let your laptop’s power completely die before plugging it into a power source

Keeping your laptop plugged into a power source all day seems like a simple solution to avoid your device running out of battery power. However, over a long period of time, it actually damages your battery and may result in the battery itself being less efficient. Instead, try your best to keep track of your battery usage. Try to prevent your battery level from dropping below 20% of power. This will help prolong your battery life in general. Allowing your battery power to reach 0% puts an enormous amount of strain on your battery pack and laptop, so try to prevent this from happening!

3. Close apps and tabs that you are no longer using

Keeping a number of tabs open on an internet browser or a number of programs on and running on your laptop drains your battery even if you aren’t currently using these programs. The best solution to this is to close them when you are done using them.

4. Change your power settings

You can turn on Battery Saver by going to your “Settings” and selecting “Battery”. You can turn on your battery saver whenever you like or enable it to automatically turns on once your battery level reaches a certain value. Depending on your laptop, the battery icon at the bottom or top of your screen may enable you easier access to adjusting your battery power settings. You can adjust the power mode by toggling it across the axis.

5. Avoid too hot or too cold temperatures

Make sure to use your laptop in an environment that is not too hot and not too cold. Extreme temperatures cause your devices to work harder, thus draining the batter power faster. If you notice the surface of your laptop’s keyboard getting hotter than normal, give your laptop a break! Unplug it from a power source or shut down the device to help it get back to normal energy usage and temperature levels. Avoid using your device in direct sunlight or on an already hot surface. Also avoid placing the laptop directly on your lap, or on a pillow or blanket. Doing this results in the vents underneath the laptop to be blocked, thus preventing the device from expelling its heat. This could cause the laptop to overheat leading to a decline in your battery power because your laptop is working harder than normal. Use your laptop on firm surfaces so that these vents are not blocked as your laptop has features to prop it up a little bit on such surfaces allowing itself to cool down.