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A Glossary of Windows Terms – “A”

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 10/13/2008

Windows terms that start with the letter “A” and are used often in the BrightHub Windows channel.

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    Access Point – a hardware device that is used to access network resources such computers, servers, and printers. Routers and wireless hardware are often referred to as access points.

    ActiveX – small components of a web page that can be downloaded on a user’s computer so that the user can view specialized web content like animations. Signed ActiveX controls are generally safe; it’s best to avoid unsigned controls. You can configure the settings in Internet Explorer.

    Adapter – in networking terms, a hardware device used to access network data and hardware. Adapters are often network interface cards, wireless adapters, and wireless cards.

    Administrator – a user account that allows the user to log on and have complete control over a PC. Administrator accounts can be configured in Control Panel on Windows-based PCs.

    Aero – a Vista-specific feature that offers a cleaner, sleeker, interface that also includes Flip 3-D. Your PC must meet specific minimum requirements for Aero to work.

    Anti-virus software – software you install to protect your computer from adware, viruses, worms, and other internet ills.

    Accessibility Options – in Windows, the ability to change computer defaults to make it easier for those with disabilities to use the computer. In Internet Explorer for instance, you can use the accessibility options to override font size and font color on web pages.

    Album – a feature of Windows Photo Gallery that allows you to organize pictures by their tags and metadata. Albums are also used in Windows Media Player to denote album names.

    Anytime Upgrade – a Vista-specific feature that allows you to upgrade your Vista edition by going online and purchasing another edition.

    Application – a program that is used to perform a task (or multiple tasks) like creating a document or presentation, managing a database, or surfing the Internet.

    Associations – often used with the word file (file association), it is the mapping of a particular program to a specific file type. For instance, you may have a file association configuration so that Windows Photo Gallery opens all .jpg and .gif files, while you associate .psd files with Photoshop.

    Authentication – the process a computer or network device uses to determine the identity of a user that is requesting access to a network.

    Automatic Updates – the ability of a Windows-based computer to obtain software fixes, security patches, and critical updates to keep a computer safe and up-to-date.

    Automovie – a feature of XP's and Vista’s Movie Maker that allows you to create a movie of uploaded, raw, footage quickly and easily. Automovie lets you add titles, credits, and effects easily.