Safe mode

A special operating mode of Windows 95 that is selected if Windows detects a problem when starting. Safe mode does not let you do anything except try to work out and fix the problem. When you first install Windows 95 you should create a safe mode floppy disk that contains the configuration details for your PC. If nothing else works, Windows will ask you to insert this disk and will copy the initial settings over.


A measurement of a signal at a point in time, normally used to describe the action of a soundcard that is converting a sound or noise into a form that can be stored on disk.


To store a document on a disk. Windows applications have a Ctrl-shortcut for this function or you can choose the File/Save menu option .

Save As

This lets you save a named document to disk under a different name or in a different format. If you have written a message in Microsoft Word and want to save it in plain text format so that it can be sent as email, you would select the File/Save As menu option .

Scalable font

A font that can be displayed or printed at any size without changing shape. Each letter is described as a set of curves which can be altered to print at any size without looking jagged.


1) To convert a printed image or photo into a digital form.

2) To move a picture beam across a screen, one line at a time, to refresh the image on the screen.

3) To convert an optical image (from a video camera) into a digital form by examining each pixel on a line of a frame, then moving down one line.


A utility supplied with MS-DOS (which is also part of Windows 95) that will check your hard disk for problems .


A device which uses photo-electric cells to convert a drawing, photograph or document into data which can be manipulated by a PC. A flat-bed scanner has a flat sheet of glass on which the image is placed. The scan head moves below the glass. A hand-held scanner is held in your hand and contains a row of photo-electric cells which, when moved over an image, convert it into data.

Scratchpad memory

A section of high-speed memory chips that are used to buffer data being transferred between a fast processor and a slow I/O device such as a disk drive.


1) A display device capable of showing an image.

2) Grid of dots or lines placed between a camera and artwork which has the effect of dividing the picture up into small dots, creating an image which can be used for printing .

Screen capture

To store an image displayed on screen in a file. This is useful when creating manuals about a software product. In Windows, you can capture the current screen to the Clipboard by pressing the Print Screen key.

Screen saver

Software which, after a period of inactivity, replaces the existing image on screen and displays moving objects to protect against screen burn .

Scroll bar

A bar displayed along the side of a window with a maker which indicates how far you have scrolled.


A function that allows you to look through a database or document for a word or phrase.


The smallest area on a magnetic disk which can be addressed by a PC. The disk is divided into concentric tracks, and each track is divided into sectors which can store 512 bytes of data.


1) To position a pointer over an object, such as a button or menu option, and click on the mouse-button.

2) To find and retrieve specific information from a database.


A dedicated computer which provides a function to a network, such as storing images, or printing data.

Service (or service provider)

An organization that provides access to part of the Internet. You have to arrange for an account with a service to connect your computer to the Internet.


The time period between when you "log in" to and "log off" from a network system.

Share-level access

A way of setting up network security to protect your local resources. This means that each resource, such as a printer, file or folder, that you want to share with other users on the network can be protected by a password. The alternative to share-level access is called user-level access. Windows for Workgroups and Windows 95 both let you set up share-level access for small networks of two or more PCs.

Shared folder

If your PC is connected to a network, you can declare that a folder can be used (or shared) by other users on the network. To share a folder, click once on the folder icon and then click on the right-hand mouse button. Select the Properties option from the pop-up menu and choose Sharing. Once you have set a folder as shareable, the icon for the folder changes so that it now appears with a cable running below the folder to remind you that other users have access to it.


Software which is available free for you to sample. But if you keep it you are expected to pay a fee to the writer. Often confused with public-domain software which is completely free .


Software which operates between the user and the operating system, often to try to make the operating system more friendly or easier to use. For example, MS-DOS's COMMAND.COM is a basic shell that interprets commands typed in at the prompt. Windows 95 is sophisticated shell with a graphical user interface front-end that's operated by a mouse.


An icon placed on the Desktop in Windows 95 that links to a file, folder or program stored on the disk. The shortcut has the same icon as the original file except for a tiny arrow in the bottom left-hand corner. The shortcut is not a duplicate of the original, rather it is a pointer to the original.

Shut down

When you want to switch off your PC, you should first Windows 95. This ensures that all the files are closed and the Windows sorts itself out internally before being switched off. To exit Windows 95 select the Start/ShutDown menu option. With some new PCs, this will also automatically switch off the PC. With older PCs you need to wait until the screen tells you it's safe to switch off the PC.


Acronym for Special Interest Group. SIGs sponsor a variety of Listservs, IRC channels, and Internet sites. Also a nickname for a Signature.


An ASCII text file that can be automatically attached to the bottom of a piece of email or newsgroup posting that identifies the sender. Many signatures (or sigs) use symbols and characters to create images or words to make the sig more interesting.


A processor which handles data in 16-bit words, providing much faster operation than older eight-bit systems.


If you have installed power management on your PC you will find that it shuts down some sections of the computer, such as the hard disk and monitor, after a period of inactivity. These devices are sleeping and will be powered up again as soon as you touch the mouse or hit a key.


The use of punctuation marks and other symbols or characters to portray moods when typing, especially in email messages and IRC. Here's an example of a simple smiley: :) . If you don't see it, tilt your head to the left and look at it. The colon makes the eyes and the parenthesis makes the smiley mouth. The smile means happiness (like if someone says something funny) or it often denotes sarcasm. Other combinations of characters can express many other emotions. You may also hear them referred to as emoticons.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)

A protocol used to transfer email. SMTP transfers mail from server to server, and the end user must use POP (see also Post Office Protocol) to transfer the messages to their machine.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

Developed to manage nodes on an IP network, SNMP is an Internet standard protocol. It can be used to manage wiring hubs, video toasters, CD ROM jukeboxes, and many other devices.


Interference or a fault with a screen that's apparent as flickering white flecks.


Computer programs that perform various tasks. Word processing programs (like WordPerfect or Microsoft Word), spreadsheet programs (like Lotus or Excel), or database programs (like dBase III+, Foxbase, or Oracle) are all software.

Soft Copy

An electronic version of a file, usually in computer memory and/or on disk; as opposed to hard copy, the paper printout.

Software license

An agreement between a user and a software house, giving details of the rights of the user to use or copy software.

Solid colour

A colour that can be displayed on a screen or printed on a colour printer without dithering .


An add-on device that plugs into an expansion slot inside your PC and generates analogue sound signals. The soundcard generates sound from digital data, using either a digital to analogue converter or a FM synthesis chip. Also provides functions to record sound in digital form (using an analogue to digital converter) and control MIDI instruments. Unlike Apple Macs, PCs do not come with built-in sound generation hardware, so to produce you need to fit a soundcard. There are three major standards for PC soundcards: Adlib, SoundBlaster, and Windows-compatible. The MPC Level 1 specification states that a soundcard should be able to record sound in eight bits and sample at 11.025KHz. some soundcards provide built-in compression for wave files, but there are various methods used. The MPC recommends ADCPM. In addition many PC soundcards include electronics to generate sounds from MIDI data on board. There are two kinds of MIDI sound generation. FM synthesis simulates musical notes by modulating the frequency of a base carrier wave, whereas waveform synthesis uses digitised samples of the notes to produce a more realistic sound.

Sound file

A file stored on disk that contains sound data. This can either be a digitised analogue sound signal or notes for a MIDI instrument .

Sound Recorder

A utility included with Windows that allows you to play back digitised sound files (the .WAV standard) or record sound on to disk and carry out very basic editing once you have recorded the sound .

Speech recognition

Analysing spoken words so that a PC can recognise them.

Spell check

A function of word processors and DTP programs that checks the spelling of words by comparing them with words in a dictionary file. The spell check function can sometimes include a thesaurus that will display similar words to the misspelt word or a sound-like function that displays words that sound the same but have different spellings.

Start button

A button that is normally found in the bottom left-hand corner of a Windows 95 desktop screen. The Start button provides a convenient route to the programs and files stored on your computer. The Start button has categories for Programs, Accessories, Settings and recently accessed documents.

Startup disk

A floppy disk which holds the operating system and system configuration files which can, in case of hard disk failure, be used to start the computer.

Status bar

A line at the top or bottom of a screen which gives information about the task currently being worked on, such as the position of cursor, the number of lines, filename, time and so on.


A series of two or more text characters.


A directory of disk or tape contents contained within another directory.


A secondary menu displayed as a choice from a menu. Used if there are too many choices to fit into one menu. A good example is the Start button menu which has several submenus for the Program and Settings menu option.


A general term that refers to a computer, to a computer and its associated peripherals or to the operating system software such as Windows .