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Glossary of Computer Hardware Terms - The Letter D

written by: Jesma•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/26/2008

This segment of the computer glossary continues with definitions and explanations of common hardware and networking terms that begin with the letter D, like Defragment, Device Driver, Desktop, and Docking station.

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    Dancing with D

    Daisy Chain

    The act of stringing devices together in such a way that the signal travels serially from one to the other. For example, you can daisy chain 127 USB devices so long as each has a port and they are self-powered.


    Direct Current. The type of electricity produced from a transforming device, such as the power supply in a computer, that electronics rely on.

    Dedicated Line

    A communications line that connects specific computers or network devices within an area, like in a building. It is not publicy accessible.


    Any setting in a device or piece of software that is the assumed setting, as unchanged by the user or other software. The assumed position when no other parameters are defined.


    The process of rearranging disk sectors so files are stored on consecutive sectors in adjacent tracks.


    1) A personal computer that sits on a desk, usually with a monitor sitting on top of it.

    2) The virtual workspace offered by an operating system where one would place commonly accessed files or programs and often decorated by a chosen image.

    Device Driver

    A program that resides in memory and is loaded to control a device. Most devices like sound cards, graphics cards, and often printers, require device drivers to help the computer operate the device properly.


    Programs used to check the operating levels of a computer system and determine if and where there are any problems.


    Typically refers to a magnetic or optical storage medium on which information can be accessed, for example, the Hard Disk, Floppy Disk, CD, or DVD.

    Disk Cache

    A portion of memory on the motherboard or another card or controller that is used to store information that is frequently accessed in order to speed up disk access. The large the cache, the greater amount of data that can be accessed instantly without worrying about seek delays.

    Display Adapter

    The interface between the computer and the monitor. Transmits the signals that, in turn, appear as images on the display. This can be an expansion card or an integrated chip on the motherboard.

    Docking Station

    Equipment that allows a laptop or notebook computer to use peripherals and accessories normally associated with desktop systems without the hassle of plugging and unplugging each device.

    DVI - Digital Video Interactive

    A standard that integrates digital motion, still video, sound, graphics, and special effects in a compressed format. It is a highly sophisticated hardware compression technique used in many interactive multimedia applications.