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.

Within the Quick Link menu, you may hit “U” from here to open power options, and “U” again for Shut Down,  “R” for Restart, and “S” for Sleep.

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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