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A desk accessory is a small application to be run in a desktop environment to help users with some task. Desk accessories were more common in environments that had limited multitasking, but have become less important as modern systems have preemptive multitasking. Desk accessories still exist in some form on modern systems.
Desk accessories are small programs that perform some task, such as a calculator or a notepad. Desk accessories were particularly prominent on earlier desktops because they lacked good multitasking capabilities. The Classic Mac OS was one of them, since it was only with Mac OS X that Apple’s operating system achieved true preemptive multitasking. The Mac OS Control Panel, Chooser and Scrapbook were all implemented as desk accessories. When System 7 appeared, since it had cooperative multitasking, developers were encouraged to write small applications. The macOS Dashboard also allows developers to create small applications called widgets.