PC Hardware

Technical Terms Beginning With W

WAN (wide area network)

A network that spans a large geographical area. The network is connected by means of telephone lines, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) lines, radio waves, or satellite links.

warm boot

The process of restarting a computer that is already running by holding down the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys simultaneously. It can also refer to choosing a "Shut-down and Restart" option under Windows 9x or Windows NT.


A keyboard character that represents one or more characters in a string, usually for specifying more than one file by name. The question mark (?) matches any character in a specified position, and the asterisk (*) matches any number of characters up to the end of the filename or extension.


The largest amount of data that can be handled by the microprocessor in one operation and also, as a rule, the width of the main data bus.

worm (write once, read many) drives

A type of older optical drive that allows the user to "write once, read many," allowing reader to reread, but not to alter, data after it has been recorded.


Zip files

Files compressed into Zip format, which requires them to be decompressed with a special program such as PKUNZIP or WINZIP before being used or installed.