What Does Multitasking Mean?

Multitasking refers to the simultaneously performance of multiple tasks and processes by hardware, software or any computing appliance. It enables the performance of more than one computer process at the same time with minimal lag in overall performance and without affecting the operations of each task.


Multitasking is also known as multiprocessing.

Techopedia Explains Multitasking

Multitasking is implemented in coordination with the base/host operating system (OS) that allocates, sends and manages overall tasks and processes to the central processing unit (CPU).

In multitasking, a computer never performs more than one task at a time, but the processing ability of the computer’s processors is so fast and smooth that it gives the impression of performing multiple tasks at the same time.

The computer uses scheduling to manage the selection and processing between different tasks, where tasks are sorted according to different criteria, such as task delivery time and priority.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.