Let’s Get Familiar with Common Technological Terms

It may seem like every day that we encounter a new and foreign sounding word relating to our computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Keeping up with technological jargon can be complicated and confusing. Here are some common technological terms that may help familiarize you with our technological devices.


There are two ways the term desktop is used in the technological world. The first being a desktop computer which is a personal computer designed for regular use at a single location, typically on a desk due to its size and power requirements. A desktop computer consists of a monitor, keyboard, a mouse and a motherboard (processor).  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 homepage where you should be able to easily locate whatever you may be looking for such as files, web browser, email etc.


If you’re reading this, you are more than likely viewing this through a browser. Your browser is what connects to the internet and opens webpages on the world wide web (also known as internet). It often has its own icon on a desktop, smartphone or tablet. The more common web browsers are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.

Search Engine:

A search engine is a software system designed to carry out web searches. It can be any form of an application, including but not limited to Google, Bing, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari,, Yahoo, MSN etc. Within the search engine, you can type an inquiry and search the web for your answer.


Often located at the bottom of your screen, the toolbar is the bar/section on the desktop where you have pinned icons and applications. Typically, you’d find an icon to access the internet, your email, folders or access a Microsoft Office application such as Word.


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).


Pronounced fishing, this term is synonymous with fraud in the tech world. Phishing is an attempt by cybercriminals posing as legitimate institutions, usually via email, to obtain sensitive information from targeted individuals. Often a link to a website is involved or an attached file for you to save. Some tips to prevent phishing attacks include: verifying links before you click them, avoiding sending sensitive information over emails (or text messages) and calling the sender to verify legitimacy. Learn more about phishing here.


Malware, short for “malicious software”, is an intrusive software developed by cybercriminals (often called “hackers”) to steal data and damage or destroy computers. Some examples of common malware include viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware and ransomware. To avoid malware being installed onto your computer or device, it is important to be sure that links you click are safe or has come from a reliable and real source.

If there are words and terms that you’re still unfamiliar with that were not covered here, you can easily perform your own search by “google searching” the word to get the information you require. A popular search engine to gather information is Google. For example, if you want more information on the word downloading, you can simply type the word into the Google search engine and results would be generated. You can also search for instructions, rather than just words or terms. An example would be inputting “how to renew your passport in Canada” in the Google search engine and results will be generated to assist you. You can use any search engine that you see fit. Computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets are strong resourceful tools that most of us have access to on a daily basis. Having a fundamental understanding of common technological terms ease some of the strain that can be associated with using our devices. Learn more technological terms by clicking here.

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