A CDE Definition
The part of the operating system that switches the computer from one application to another. When a user manually selects another open application, the task switcher places the current application in the background and moves the selected application to the foreground. See task switching.
Switching between applications that have been loaded in memory (are currently open). It generally refers to a user purposely jumping from one application to another, for example, by pressing Alt-Tab in Windows or Command-Tab in the Mac. See task switcher.
Manual or Automatic
Context switching implies switching between applications that are open but dormant in the background, waiting to be resumed where they were left off. This is a manual form of task switching.
Multitasking implies automatic task switching, in which the operating system and applications cooperate in causing the computer to move from application to application in a round robin sequence. See multitasking.
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