desktop

(redirected from Desktop (computing))
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

desktop

denoting a computer system, esp for word processing, that is small enough to use at a desk

desktop

[′desk‚täp]
(computer science)
In a graphical user interface, a screen on which frequently used software resources are represented by icons.

desktop

(operating system)
In a WIMP graphical user interface, the visual representation of a real desktop (the top surface of a piece of furniture) with documents, folders and a rubbish bin arranged on it. The user manipulates files on the computer by using a mouse to click and drag their representations (icons) on the desktop.

The WIMP interface and desktop metaphor was invented at Xerox PARC and popularised by the Apple Macintosh.

desktop

(computer)

desktop

(1) Synonymous with desktop computer. For example, the phrase "the IT department supports 150 desktops" means it is responsible for maintaining 150 user computers. In such cases, laptop computers may be counted as desktop computers.

(2) A prefix attached to the name of personal computer applications that perform functions previously available only on large workstations and mainframes; for example, "desktop publishing" and "desktop mapping." With the advent of smartphones and tablets, "mobile" replaced desktop as the prefix in vogue.

(3) The screen appearance after logging onto a desktop computer. The desktop is actually a folder that holds files and folders like any other folder; however, it remains on screen in the background at all times, ostensibly simulating a physical desktop. The desktop also includes menus and icons for launching applications and managing the computer. See wallpaper.


More Like a Real Desktop
For centuries, people spread out paper documents side-by-side on their desk surfaces for comparison. The only way to emulate a real desktop is with multiple monitors. In 2004, these two 21" Samsung flat panels allowed four Web pages or text documents to be viewed side by side.