Abbreviations & Commands

This article contains definitions of many of the common abbreviations and acronyms that geeks use, as well as some useful keyboard shortcuts.

Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Definitions

PC – Personal Computer

KB/M – Keyboard and Mouse

MS – Microsoft, the company that makes Windows

OS – Operating System, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, etc

CPU – Central Processing Unit, where your computer does number-crunching

GPU – Graphics Processing Unit, important for playing video games

RAM – Random Access Memory, memory that is actively used by your system, sometimes more can help

PSU – Power Supply Unit, a component that draws AC power from the wall and outputs DC for your PC

HDD – Hard Disk Drive, a storage device with spinning platters that is very cheap

SSD – Solid State Drive, a storage device with no moving parts that is very fast

RAID – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, allows you to combine multiple storage drives

PCI – Peripheral Component Interconnect, used for older expansion cards

PCIe – PCI Express (also written as PCI-e), used for newer expansion cards and graphics cards

LAN – Local Area Network, a network of devices connected to a router

WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network, usually Wi-Fi

WAN – Wide Area Network, the network systems beyond your house, the Internet

PAN – Personal Area Network, commonly known as Bluetooth

DNS – Domain Name System, allows your computer to find websites

WINE – A tool for running some Windows applications on Linux/Mac/BSD

PoL – PlayOnLinux, a tool that makes WINE easy to use

Distro – Linux Distribution

DE – Linux Desktop Environment

Super – “The Windows Key” but in Linux-speak

TTY – Terminal / console / text-only session

BIOS – Basic Input Output System, motherboard firmware that describes how the hardware functions and which operating system to boot

(U)EFI – (Unified) Extensible Firmware Interface, a replacement for Legacy BIOS, providing more advanced functionality

MBR – Master Boot Record, a storage drive format used on Legacy BIOS systems, replaces “super floppy” format

GPT – GUID Partition Table, a storage drive format used on UEFI systems, replaces MBR format

GUID, UUID, UID – (Globally / Universally) Unique IDentifier, a random ID so large that it’s practically unique

b – Bit, a single 1 or 0 used by your computer

B – Byte, which is 8 bits

KB / KiB – Kilobyte, which is 1024 Bytes

MB / MiB – Megabyte, which is 1024 Kilobytes

GB / GiB – Gigabyte, which is 1024 Megabytes

TB / TiB – Terabyte, which is 1024 Gigabytes

NavKeys – Navigation keys: Ins, Del, Home, End, Page Up, Page Down

Hz – Hertz, a measurement of frequency


Commands and Keyboard Shortcuts



Ctrl + C – Copy

Ctrl + V – Paste

Ctrl + X – Cut

Ctrl + Z – Undo

Ctrl + W – Close tab (in most web browsers)

Alt + Tab – Switch window

Alt + F4 – Closes program

Alt + Space – Window options

PrtScrn – Takes a screenshot of your entire screen and saves it to your clipboard (paste in eg. mspaint)

Alt + PrtScrn – Takes a screenshot of the active window and saves it to your clipboard (paste in eg. mspaint)

Home – Go to the start of a page

End – Go to the end of a page

PgUp – Go up a page

PgDown – Go down a page

Del – Deletes everything in front of the marker, not behind like Backspace does

Ins – Write over what you have already written if the marker is placed where there is already text

NumLock – Toggles the numpad between numbers and arrows/navkeys



WinKey + R – Run a command

WinKey + E – Start the explorer

WinKey + X – Open the Quick Link menu, which contains links to tools such as Device Manager and Event Viewer.

WinKey + ArrowKeys – Move a window around

Ctrl + Shift + Esc – Opens Task Manager

These are just the important ones, more here.



Alt + Drag – Moves windows, from any point, rather than just from the title bar

Ctrl + Shift + U – Allows you to enter a Unicode character code to type special characters

Ctrl + Shift + V – Paste into a Terminal

Ctrl + Alt + T – Opens a Terminal

Ctrl + Alt + F1-F6 – Allows you to enter TTY 1 through 6

Ctrl + Alt + F7 – Returns you to a GUI session. Technically you can have more on F8-F12, but this is uncommon.

Ctrl + Esc – In XFCE, open the Whisker Menu

Super – In Ubuntu Unity, open the Dash

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