WAIS (Wide Area Information Service)

A distributed information service and search engine that allows natural language input and indexed searching. Many Web search utilities use a WAIS engine.


In Windows, an image or pattern used as a background in a window. You can change the wallpaper to Windows from within the Control Panel/Desktop icon settings.

WAVE or WAV file

A standard method of storing an analog signal in digital form under Microsoft Windows.

White Pages

Databases containing email addresses, telephone numbers, and postal addresses of Internet users. You can search the Internet White Pages to find information about particular users.


An Internet program (related to Finger and the White Pages) that lets you enter an Internet entity (such as domains, networks, and hosts) and display information such as a person's company name, address, phone number and email address.


A symbol used when searching for files or data which represents all files; in DOS, UNIX and PC operating systems, the wild card character '?' will match any single character in this position. The wild card character "or" means match any number of any characters .

Windows 3.1

The first of the new generation of Windows which provided features including OLE and drag and drop.

Windows 3.11

The official version number for Windows for Workgroups.

Windows 95

Current version of Windows that includes support for long filenames.

Windows Explorer

A software utility included with Windows 95 which allows you to view the folders and files on your hard disk, floppy disk, CD-ROM and any shared network drives.

Windows for Workgroups

A version of Windows that includes the functions that let you connect several computers together to form a network and share files, printers and exchange data. It also includes software for email, fax and scheduler utilities.

Windows NT

A high-performance program derived from Windows which provides a robust, fast operating system for network workstations or for the central server in a network.


A multi-tasking graphical user interface for the IBM PC developed by Microsoft that is designed to be easy to use. Windows uses icons to represent files and devices and can be controlled using a mouse, unlike MS-DOS which requires commands to be typed.


Stands for Windows Sockets. Winsocks is a set of specifications or standards for programmers creating TCP/IP applications for use with Windows.

Word Processor

A program used to enter or edit text information in personal computers, often used to create a file before it is uploaded to a network; may also be used to process text after it has been downloaded.

Word Pad

A software utility included with Windows 95 that provides the basic functions of Microsoft Word 6. It can read and save Word 6 files and lets you format text and write complex documents.

World Wide Web (WWW)

Abbreviated to WWW. Within the Internet, thousands of pages of formatted text and graphics (stored in HTML) that allow a user to have a graphical user interface to the Internet rather than a less user-friendly command-line interface.


Stands for Write Once, Read Many Times memory. An optical disc storage system that allows the user to write data to the disc once. The user can then read the data from the disc many times.


"What you see is what you get". A word processing or DTP program where what you see on the screen is exactly the same as the image or text that will be printed, including graphics and special fonts.