Here’s a quick tech definition of a commonly used word: desktop.

Of course, it could mean the top of an actual piece of furniture in your home or office. However, in this case, I’m speaking of the term used in conjunction with a computer.

Desktop Number 1:

When referring to the machine itself, the term desktop is used to differentiate a computer designed to stay in one place as opposed to a portable notebook, desktop, or tablet computer.

While laptops often spend a lot of time sitting on desks, they are easy to pack up and take with you. Desktop computers reside on top of (or sometimes under the desk). Monitors are most often sold separately, though there are some all-in-one desktop computers.

Because they are larger, desktop computers often have more computing power and larger hard drives. They also normally have better cooling systems and can be suitable for graphic intensive tasks like gaming or video editing that can cause a computer to heat up.

Desktop Number 2:

This desktop refers to the home screen of your computer. Whether that computer uses the Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. It’s simply the screen you see when you turn on your computer.

Oftentimes shortcuts to frequently used programs and files are stored on the desktop. Users often spruce up the space by adding their own background images.

So when instructions tell you to look for something on the desktop, they mean the screen you see when you turn on your computer before you open any other programs. This is not to be confused with the home page for your browser.

Got it? If not, let me know.