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Glossary of Computer Hardware Terms - The Letters V, W, & Z

written by: Jesma•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 12/30/2008

Definitions and explanations of common computing terms beginning with the letters V, W, and Z. Here we look at such terms as VGA, Virtual Memory, VPN, Warm Boot, Write Protection and ZIF.

  • slide 1 of 3

    The Letter V

    VGA - Video Graphics Array

    A type of PC video display technology and adapter that supports text and graphics. VGA output is analog with a refresh rate of 31.5 KHz. VGA can also refer to any adapter of display capable of 640x480 resolution.

    Virtual Disk

    A RAM disk in which a section of system memory is set aside to hold data, as though it were a number of disk sectors. Sometimes used for bootable operating systems and applications to function.

    Virtual Memory

    Refers to the use of a space on a hard disk or other mass storage device as if it were RAM, typically utilized when RAM has been used to capacity, and extra space is needed. Excessive use of virtual memory can lead to a condition called disk thrashing which will quickly destroy a hard drive.


    A type of resident program designed to self-replicate. Normally destructive to the operation of a computers software, or, designed to harvest private information from the user.

    Voltage Regulator

    A device that smooths out voltage irregularities in the power fed to the computer, to prevent damage to the power supply or other components.

    VPN - Virtual Private Network

    A network that is operated within a public network, but maintains privacy by using access control and encryption.

  • slide 2 of 3

    The Letter W

    Warm Boot

    Rebooting the system by using a software command rather than turning the power off, then on. The system is reset but power is never interrupted.

    Wide Area Network

    A LAN that extends beyond the boundaries of a single physical location or building.

    World Wide Web

    A graphical information system based on hypertext that enables a user to easily access documents located on the Internet.

    Write Protect

    Prevents a disk from being overwritten by covering a notch, or repositioning a switch, depending on the type of media.

  • slide 3 of 3

    The Letter Z

    ZIF - Zero Insertion Force

    Sockets that require no physical force to be used in order to insert the chip. Primarily used with modern CPUs.

    Zip Drive

    An external drive that supports 100MB magnetic media on a 3.5 inch removable drive.