Murphy’s Concise Definitions of Computer-Related Terms


Backup — An operation that is never performed on time.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) — The most successful program produced by Microsoft since it always works.

Bug Fixes — A mechanism employed by software developers to fix existing bugs while adding new ones.

Cable — The part of a computer system that is too short.

Central Processing Unit (CPU) — The part that is always obsolete.

Crash — The computer’s way of telling you that the deadline is approaching.


Error Message —

  1. A request to OK the obliteration of your own files.
  2. A vague and cryptic note used by programmers. In plain English, it means, “This is your fault and definitely not my trashy program’s shortcomings.”

File — The part that cannot be found and when you find it, it’s already corrupted.

Firmware — One of the leading causes of hardware problems.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) — The part that lets you play video games except for the games that you want to play.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) — The part that freezes up at the worst possible time.


Hardware — The parts that can be kicked or thrown out of the window.

Help — Its aim is to assist in fulfilling tasks and resolving problems but ends up assisting in producing more questions and confusions.

Infinite Loop — See Loop.

Keyboard —

  1. A convenient device for venting out your frustrations.
  2. A device for inputting information used for generating error messages.


Licencing Agreement — A tediously long and time-wasting walls of text that software companies tell you to read before installing their software. However, almost no one reads it and those who did would take things too seriously.

Linux — The stuff that normies will not understand.

Loop — See Infinite Loop.

Mac — An overpriced operating system that can’t run most of the software and games that you want.

Malware — A malicious software that keeps a lot of companies in business.

Manual — The element of your computer system that doesn’t make any sense.

Memory — The part that is never enough.

Microsoft Works —

  1. It was a dumbed down version of Microsoft Office sold in 1987 to 2009.
  2. Functions as an oxymoron.

Monitor — The component for displaying error messages.


Mouse —

  1. A device to help you close error messages.
  2. See Cursing.

Obsolete — Your computer.

Office 365 — An ingenious app for forcing office workers to continue working even if they are at home, on business trips, or on vacation.

Operating System — A system that works best when it’s turned off.

Optical Drive — The part that only opens if you accidentally pressed it while plugging a USB device.

Peripherals — The parts that are incompatible with your computer system.

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Printer — The part that jams when you are not looking.

Printer Ink — A valuable substance that is probably more expensive than your good champagnes.

Random Access Memory (RAM) — See Memory.

Restore — A procedure that works perfectly until it is needed.

Software — The parts that don’t work.

Sound Card — The part that enables your computer to play high-quality sound, but your dirt cheap speakers are not capable of playing it.

Speakers — The parts that produce mediocre sound (unless the user is willing to spend good money to buy better ones).

Solid State Drive (SSD) — Much faster than an HDD but basically the same thing — usually with less memory.

State-of-the-art — A computer you can’t afford.


Syntax Error — Going to a computer store and foolishly saying, “I want the best computer and money is not an issue.”

User-friendly — Any feature that perfectly makes sense to programmers.

Users — The ones who operate the computers. They are divided into four subgroups:

  1. Novice Users — People who are reluctant to even press a single key due to fear of crashing their computers.
  2. Intermediate Users — People who don’t know how to fix their computers after pressing a key that broke them.
  3. Power Users — People who are knowledgeable enough to be able to fix their friends’ computers, but not their own computers.
  4. Expert Users — People who break other people’s computers.


USB — Until Something Better.

Version 1.0 — A poor sorry excuse of a software that developers think they can get away with selling since it’s just an initial release. It contains a ton of bugs which they promised to fix in later releases. This version essentially means, “Yeah, we know that it doesn’t work, but we need the money now.”

Version 1.0.1 — By this point, many of the major bugs are already fixed. However, it’s still a long way to go.

Windows — More difficult to open and close than its glass counterpart.

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

38 thoughts on “Murphy’s Concise Definitions of Computer-Related Terms

  1. I am so happy that I started using the Computer early in the process. I had to buy my own equipment and learn by using. Your account of terms is so “right on”. The newbies today do not have the advantage we were handed trying to be pioneers. Thank you for your input.


      1. Been there at work when our system crashed in 2010 … we only lost one document and no accounting data thankfully. It took quite a while for the computer guy to put Humpty Dumpty back together again though – a good six months. Our other computer guys had moved and would not service our area anymore, even though we pleaded with them to fix things and they never provided any computer data for firewalls, IP addresses, etc. – and would not do so then. Annoying. New computer guy is nice, but it took him six months to install a new system (Windows 7 going from Windows XP) and that was too long in my opinion – it was (and is) just my boss and me and the server.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To this day I don’t see why it took him all that time to get it together. And we had to rely on web-based e-mail for most of that time period. I have access to my boss’s e-mail via Outlook. We had no Outlook, just a web-based Outlook, so to see what was going on in his e-mail inbox, I had to log on as him. It is critical I know what he is doing as I work from home. I’ve never met the I.T. guy but spoken to him on the phone plenty of times.

        Liked by 1 person

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