Desktop

What Does Desktop Mean?

Desktop is an IT term for the most fundamental and basic element of a personal computer’s graphical user interface. The desktop display is the default display on the computer when it is booted up; auxiliary features like docks provide end users with options for working from a desktop.

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Techopedia Explains Desktop

As personal computers evolved from operating systems based on command line to more advanced GUI designs, the desktop remained a common concept in design. Users can change the background image of a desktop, customize icons, or otherwise arrange the desktop into what most appeals to them in terms of aesthetics and function.

New innovations in desktop design include desktop virtualization and desktop-as-a-service, where remote control of the desktop may be part of a provided tech service. This type of remotely provided interface works with cloud services, where more of the computer’s programming and file supply resides in a safe external location.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

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.