13 What Is a Desktop Plain Text

What Is a Desktop?
There is often confusion surrounding the term desktop. For example, some
people refer to any personal computer system as a desktop computer. The term
desktop actually refers to a computer case that is designed to sit on your
desk, as well as the primary screen you see when your computer is turned on
and the operating system starts.
The appearance of a desktop will vary depending on the operating system, the
interface that has been installed by the user or the user's organization, and
the creativity of the user. Interface is a term used to describe the way that
we communicate with a computer program. A menu-driven interface is one in
which you select command choices provided by the computer, whereas a commanddriven interface requires that you enter commands.
The user interface is one of the most important parts of any software
application because it determines how easily you can make the program do what
you want. A powerful software program with a poorly designed user interface
has little value. Many operating systems use graphical user interfaces
(GUIs). These interfaces use windows, icons, and pop-up menus because they
make communication with the computer easier.
There are several common items that appear on most desktops.
The wallpaper is the background of the screen. Some computers are set up with
a colour, but a creative user can set a patterned 1 or graphic background.
Wallpaper simply makes the desktop more attractive to the user.
An icon is a little picture on the screen - that represents software or a
function. You activate icons by clicking them with a mouse. Examples of icons
include the Trash or Recycle Bin, software application icons, and My
The taskbar is the line that appears across the bottom or top, or along the
side of the screen. It may contain a Start button, the time, and a series of
other icons that represent features and software' available or running on
that particular computer. Along the screen top, a Mac has a menu bar that
functions similarly to the PC's taskbar. The Mac OS Dock shows which programs
are currently running.
Figure 2.33 features of a des top
(a) Windows XP [Image has been omitted]
(b) Mac OS X [Image has been omitted]
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There are two more features common to most desktops: a window and a
screensaver. A window is a rectangular area on the screen that displays the
contents of a disk, folder/directory, or document. Windows appear when you
open documents or double-click icons.
A screensaver is a pattern or animation that appears on the monitor when a
computer is left idle for an amount of time defined by the user. In older CRT
monitors, words or images displayed for long periods could be burned onto the
monitor's screen, but using a screensaver caused the pattern on the screen to
change frequently, thus saving the screen. Today, screensavers are primarily
decorative and can protect the privacy of users who are away from their
desks. Some people mistakenly believe that using a screensaver saves energy;
however, the best way to save energy when not using your computer is to turn
it off.
Figure 2.34 The common elements of a window
(a) Windows XP [Image has been omitted]
(b) Mac OS X [Image has been omitted]