It is time again for another installment of learning geek speak! Teach your inner geek all the terminology you need to be able to tote a pocket protector. Listed below, with definitions, is the fourth listing of common terminology associated with using a personal computer and technology. This listing is specific to using a graphical computer interface such as MS Windows and this version focuses on the more technical terminology relating to MS Windows.
The control panel is a MS Windows folder that contains the programs and utilities that allow users to modify and adjust certain system settings. Some typical uses for the control panel include adding hardware, changing display settings and configuring a network. If a program is not available in the control panel the user does not have the access rights to access the program which is common in corporate settings.
The task manager is used to display the current processes and programs that are running on the system along with performance statistics. If the system is networked the task manager will also display stats for the network connections and connected users. The task manager is very useful for troubleshooting computer problems and issues. For example, if a program has crashed the task manager can be used to stop the program or shut down the computer if frozen.
To access the task manager the user presses CTRL-ALT-DELETE which will bring up the task manager interface. From this interface the user can see what processes and programs are running, which are taking memory and stop any programs that are not working properly.
In MS Windows the majority of system and program settings are stored in a directory called the registry. The registry contains settings for the hardware, software and operating system of the computer. The information is stored in the registry as a combination of values and keys that are used to store information about configuration settings, file associations (which programs open certain file types), users information and preferences relating to how the user has setup the computer.
For the most part all modifications to the registry happen in the background without interaction from the user – which is the preferred method of modify the registry – though there are times when the registry needs to be modified by the user because of bad settings or corruption. MS Windows comes with a utility that allows the user to edit the registry but explanation of this utility is beyond the scope of this article – watch for future articles that describe how to edit the registry.
This article provided the basic definitions for some very powerful utilities in MS Windows. Addition articles will be published that detail how to use these utilities to help troubleshoot computer problems – see you then!