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  • mouse mat
    A special flat surface on which the mouse is moved.
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  • mouse pointer
    An icon (usually in the form of an arrow) which moves around the screen in response to the movements of a mouse (or other similar device). The pointer often changes its shape depending on its position on the screen, or the situation in an application. When the pointer indicates a position in text it is usually called the cursor.
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  • mouseover
    The action of moving your mouse pointer over an area of the screen. In JavaScript, this can trigger a particular event, e.g. displaying a menu.
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  • movie
    Film, video or a Flash animation.
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  • MS-DOS
    Microsoft disk operating system. An operating system written by Microsoft originally for the IBM-PC. It was a command line operating system used with personal computers. It provided an operating system for the Intel 8086, 186, 286, 386, 486 and Pentium microprocessors.
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  • MSN Messenger (MSN)
    Instant messaging client, aimed at home users.
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  • multi-tasking
    A method of organising computer use which allows several different tasks or applications to be available at the same time. The users of a multi-access system will be working on different tasks apparently at the same time, although only one program is actually being executed at any one time. Similarly, modern personal computer operating systems allow users to have several tasks apparently running at the same time, with the user switching freely between applications or tasks.
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  • multi-threading
    Multi-threading is the use of a single copy of a program to process several sets of data which are at different stages of processing. This is most useful in a multi-tasking situation where tasks may need to be launched at any time. Only one copy of the program needs to be loaded, which saves memory. The program design ensures that the data for each thread is kept separate and that the appropriate program instructions act on the thread which is being executed.
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  • multi-user licence
    A type of software licence which allows an organisation to install the software on an agreed number of computers. A reduced fee is normally paid for each computer.
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  • multimedia
    Multimedia is the combination of two or more media. Multimedia on computers is a blend of text, graphics, sound, animation, and video.
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  • multiprocessor
    A computer system with several processors. These will work co-operatively, handling specific tasks (managing the screen display, doing arithmetic computation, handling peripherals) or simply sharing out the processing to enable parts of a task to proceed simultaneously.
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  • multipurpose internet mail extensions (MIME)
    A protocol used to send email messages containing forms of computer data other than text. Some email systems are only designed for textual messages and sending other computer data results in it being corrupted. MIME is a way of coding the data to avoid corruption. On receipt the data will need to be decoded before use.