Technical Terms and Definitions

Configuration - Software

The way a system is set up, or the assortment of components that make up the system. Configuration can refer to either hardware or software, or the combination of both. For instance, a typical configuration for a PC consists of 32MB (megabytes) main memory, a floppy drive, a hard disk, a modem, a CD-ROM drive, a VGA monitor, and the Windows operating system. Many software products require that the computer have a certain minimum configuration. For example, the software might require a graphics display monitor and a video adapter, a particular microprocessor, and a minimum amount of main memory. When you install a new device or program, you sometimes need to configure it, which means to set various switches and jumpers (for hardware) and to define values of parameters (for software). For example, the device or program may need to know what type of video adapter you have and what type of printer is connected to the computer. Thanks to new technologies, such as Plug-and-Play, much of this configuration is performed automatically.