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A Glossary of Windows Terms – “S”

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/31/2008

Windows terms that start with the letter “S” and are used often in the Bright Hub Windows channel.

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    Satellite Internet Service – A subscription service to the Internet often used when a broadband connection is unavailable.

    Segment – A section of cable on an Ethernet network.

    Serial Port – A port that can transmit data one bit at a time. These days, serial ports aren’t used much because USB and FireWire ports are so much faster.

    Server – A computer that provides a service on a network and is created to manage the network or its users. There are e-mail servers, authentication servers, print servers, and data servers, to name a few.

    Shareware – Software shared with others for a small fee or free of charge. Because shareware is often created by a single person and distributed via the Internet, there is little overhead involved.

    Skype – A voice over IP protocol used to make free phone calls to other Skype users.

    Smart Card – A card about the size of a credit card that is used to authenticate users. Smart cards are used in conjunction with smart card readers, and the user slides the card through the reader for authentication.

    SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A protocol used to manage outgoing email. When configuring Outlook, Mail, or other e-mail program to send and receive POP3 mail, the POP3 and the SMTP server names must be entered.

    Software – A generic term used to describe applications and programs you can install on a computer for the purpose of performing tasks. Microsoft Office is a software suite, and Photoshop CS4 is a software program.

    Spyware – Software that is installed on a user’s computer that is unwanted and potentially dangerous. Spyware can acquire personal information, copy keystrokes, or damage the system or its data.

    Static IP address – An IP address assigned to a PC manually. By comparison, most IP addresses are assigned dynamically using DHCP.

    Streaming – The process of sending media over the Internet and playing them in real time.

    SuperFetch – A memory management program used in Windows Vista designed to get applications up and running more quickly than previously possible.

    Swap File – An area of the hard drive used as memory when RAM is full.

    Switch – A piece of hardware that is more sophisticated than a network hub but less sophisticated than a router. Switches are used to forward data from one destination to another.