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computer desktop

See desktop.



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 many early personal computer categories that performed functions previously available only on larger computers; for example, "desktop publishing" and "desktop mapping." With the advent of smartphones and tablets, "mobile" replaced desktop as the prefix in vogue.

(3) The layout of a graphical user interface (GUI), which simulates a physical desktop by allowing objects to be placed anywhere on its surface. The desktop also includes menus and icons for launching applications and managing the computer. Initially, desktop backgrounds were covered with "wallpaper," which made no sense until you realized that the screen is a vertical wall.

The One-Foot Desktop
For centuries, people spread out paper documents side-by-side on their desk surfaces for comparison. However, since the advent of personal computers, people have squashed their working space into approximately one and a half square feet. Increasingly, multiple monitors with larger screens begin to emulate a real desktop.




A True Desktop
Having multiple windows on screen at the same time offers the convenience of a real desk. These two 21" flat panels allow four Web pages or four text documents to be viewed at the same time.






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