What is Desktop: Definition and 79 Discussions

In computing, a desktop environment (DE) is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system that share a common graphical user interface (GUI), sometimes described as a graphical shell. The desktop environment was seen mostly on personal computers until the rise of mobile computing. Desktop GUIs help the user to easily access and edit files, while they usually do not provide access to all of the features found in the underlying operating system. Instead, the traditional command-line interface (CLI) is still used when full control over the operating system is required.
A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers and desktop widgets (see Elements of graphical user interfaces and WIMP). A GUI might also provide drag and drop functionality and other features that make the desktop metaphor more complete. A desktop environment aims to be an intuitive way for the user to interact with the computer using concepts which are similar to those used when interacting with the physical world, such as buttons and windows.
While the term desktop environment originally described a style of user interfaces following the desktop metaphor, it has also come to describe the programs that realize the metaphor itself. This usage has been popularized by projects such as the Common Desktop Environment, K Desktop Environment, and GNOME.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. DaveC426913

    Help! Old PC dog has to learn new Mac tricks

    Hey! 40 years on PCs and now I'm a Mac guy, YAY! I'm onboarding at my new job, and there's a lot of content to cover on my own recognizance. I can't be asking my boss or coworker every time I need to remember whether print screen is Ctrl-Option-Staff-of-Ra-3 or Command-Function-Sarcophagus-3...
  2. Wrichik Basu

    Windows 7 desktop freezing every now and then

    We fixed our Windows 7 32-bit desktop a few weeks back by buying a new PSU for it (see this thread for details). Now a new problem has started: the PC freezes every now and then. 1. When the PC is powered on, it works fine for some time. Then the problem starts 2. Suppose I am moving the mouse...
  3. Wrichik Basu

    Desktop PC not turning on, blinking green LED on motherboard

    Our Windows 7 32-bit desktop PC is fitted with an Asus P7H55-M LX motherboard. It was working fine till yesterday evening, but from this morning, it won't turn on. (By this, I mean that it is not even starting the boot; the fan on the processor won't run.) My first guess was the PSU. So I...
  4. W

    Remote Desktop Connection between PCs -- Must they both be in the same Subnet?

    Hi, just looking at RDP connections https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4028379/windows-10-how-to-use-remote-desktop It would seem the two devices would have to be within the same LAN, right? Otherwise, how is just the computer name enough information to set up a connection? It seems for...
  5. berkeman

    Windows 10 Question: Different check mark fields on icons on the desktop

    Sorry if this was already addressed in the other Windows 10 thread. What do the different check mark fields (round and square) mean in the icons on my new Windows 10 laptop's desktop? My Google search only turned up results on "green checkmarks" that related to Office 365 synching? Thanks <<...
  6. Wrichik Basu

    Turning a desktop PC into a WiFi hotspot using Connectify software

    I was reading online that Connectify can be used to convert any desktop or laptop PC into a hotspot. Our PC is fitted with Windows 7 Pro, 32-bit. It doesn't have an inbuilt WiFi adapter, and connects to the Internet using Ethernet. I wanted to make a hotspot using this desktop. There are...
  7. E

    What are the best diary desktop apps for Windows 7 with password protection?

    Hi! I wonder if anyone knows of any good (preferably free) diary desktop application on Windows 7 with several options like password protection. Thanks in advance
  8. L

    Misc. Can anyone suggest a suitable material for a Foucault pendulum platform?

    I'm about to pick up again on a project started last summer to build a Foucault pendulum that will fit on, or at least, above a desk in an ordinary room. This was described, with photographs in...
  9. dRic2

    Windows on Mac: Dual Boot or Virtual Desktop?

    I need windows on my mac to run some modeling programs, but I'm not sure whether go for dual boot or virtual desktop. I have all my programs already installed and I fear that dual boot + installing all the programs again will suck too much memory space... on the other hand I have never enjoyed...
  10. J

    C/C++ Java vs wxWidgets or GTK+ with c++ for a PC ground station

    I've got experience with win32API but its' a pain in the ass. What else is good for cross platform low level programming of apps, want it to work for PC, linux, be able to handle serial data streams, convert data and do C++ tier things. So far been using processing but that's not powerful...
  11. Y

    Desktop Very Slow: Help My Wife Troubleshoot Now

    Hi My wife's desk top is very slow, it just take a long time to do anything. It's basically stuck. I pushed and hold the power button to turn off the computer, when is gave me the prompt, I started in Safe Mode with internet. It is so slow, I can see the lines "Loaded:\Windows...." coming up...
  12. jamalkoiyess

    What is the computer hardware needed by a physicist?

    I am looking at desktop and laptop options, but I do not know which will be beneficial to me as a Physics student. I am a sophomore and am looking for something that can last up to 5 years of performance without having to upgrade and also it should fit my needs as a physicist. Since I know so...
  13. P

    Stop warping of photosensitive resin with desktop UV lamp

    Hey guys, Doing some research in medical physics and for testing purposes I am tryin to set SLA photosensitive resin with just a desktop lamp .. It sets fine but the problem is it warps and I'd like to set a thin sheet like 10cm square and about 1-2mm thick and keep it flat. Any brilliant ideas ?
  14. RJLiberator

    Computer Building a Desktop Computer for Math/Physics

    Hi all, Over the summer I have been working hard to net some extra cash to acquire a desktop computer for education based purposes. Physics research, modelling, and coding is what to be expected. I am hoping to have this computer be my main setup for the end of undergraduate (2 years) and...
  15. N

    How to create GUI on the windows7 Desktop?

    Dear Group, I am trying to to build a button ( with rectangle size) on the desktop of windows7, Whenever I click on that button, it will connect to batch file (which I created for some function) and run that batch file (filename.bat), Can you give me ideals that how to have that button on...
  16. N

    How to make square icons on the desktop to customize size

    Dear friends, I am trying to create icons on the desktop by customizing size, such as rectangle ( not square icon anymore), would you like to help? thank you, Nate Duong,
  17. E

    What Does Your Desktop Wallpaper Say About You?

    Take a screenshot of your desktop and post it here! If you're feeling kind, include your wallpaper separately too. https://www.nasa.gov/content/hubble-s-high-definition-panoramic-view-of-the-andromeda-galaxy/
  18. P

    Does switch's Utilization Category AC-15 include a desktop?

    For reasons beyond understanding, I'm trying to source an industrial limit switch to control the power to a desktop PC. It's run on a switch mode standard computer PSU. Most of the limit switches I've looked at are rated 5 amps @ 220 VAC. But they also have an AC-15 rating usually much, much...
  19. G

    What Should a Computational Physics Student Look for in a Desktop Computer?

    So, I'm going into my senior year in college. I'm a physics major working on computational physics research - lots of enormous sets of data and multi-dimensional modeling. I'm also applying to phd programs for when I graduate. I have a $1500 grant for use in my research, so my PI has told me to...
  20. Medicol

    New RAM bar into my free slot for gaming

    I am excited to tell you that I will get new RAM bar for my PC. Oh I like this site, http://www.crucial.com/ it can read all hardware thingies on my computer, I now know I have Maximum memory: 16384MB Slots:2 (2 banks of 1) *Not to exceed manufacturer supported memory. 4GB Empty that means I...
  21. S

    Measuring Motor Rotation with a Desktop Computer

    Hello all, A bit of background. We are communicating with a microcontroller through a desktop computer. The desktop computer controls direction of rotation of the motor, and it can prompt a step in the motor causing a rotation. However, what can I do in terms of feedback? I have not taken...
  22. Y

    Can I use my laptop as monitor for a desktop?

    I just bought a new desktop and I need to power it up and load all the basic programs. I don't want to steal the monitor from the existing desktop because my wife is using it all the time. I don't have another monitor so I have to resort to trying to use one of my old laptop as monitor. So...
  23. K

    Desktop rainbow experiment help

    Hi, I was wondering if comeone here might be a ble to help me. I am slowly building my daughters various toys, some they're helping me build, others they just play with, but all are essentially science experiments and learning. My eldest has recently become infatuated with rainbows and I...
  24. StevieTNZ

    What Does Your Desktop Background Say About You?

    What's your desktop background? Mine is The View <3, with love.
  25. E

    Buy Velleman Desktop Oscope | Sampling Frequency & Software

    I'm thinking of buying a Velleman Desktop oscope. The sampling frequency is decent on the upper end model. I've downloaded the software. Should have a pretty decent workflow.
  26. fluidistic

    Comparing a desktop cpu to a tablet cpu

    I'm wondering how to compare my desktop cpu to my tablet cpu. They are an intel core 2 duo E6300 (1.86 Ghz, you can see it at http://ark.intel.com/products/27248/) and the Samsung galaxy note 10.1, basically a quad core Exynos at 1.4 Ghz. I would have expected that when running a chess program...
  27. B

    Is an AVR still necessary if desktop PC is already connected to a UPS?

    Is an AVR still necessary if the desktop PC is already connected to a UPS? Many articles online including this link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninterruptible_power_supply#Common_power_problems State that the UPS already has built in circuitry that is capable of...
  28. trollcast

    Remote Desktop Connection bandwidth usage?

    Is the remote desktop client in windows really bandwidth intensive? We get roughly 16mb/s down and 1mb/s up even at fairly peak times, however as soon as dad goes on his laptop to use his desktop computer back at the office the internet becomes horribly slow, it doesn't seem to be a speed...
  29. B

    Need a shopping list for building up a desktop for economic modeling

    Hi everyone, I am thinking of building up a new system to satisfy my need in scientific computing. My program usually involves with for-loop iterations written in Intel Visual Fortran 2013 on Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Some of my work need to perform numerical methods, like Amoeba...
  30. T

    Is there an application that fully divides desktop sessions on Windows?

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881 That Desktop application by Mark Russinovich helps create new session for desktop (4 in total) but it doesn't seem to be a full *split*. That is, processes created in one session are still alive or known in another session. Do you know a...
  31. J

    How does the computing power of my phone compare to my old desktop?

    This question came up in conversation the other day and I was wondering if anyone could quantify this. How far back in time must I go before I find a desktop computer that is only as powerful as my Nexus S smartphone? Would that be a Pentium III, for example? I understand that the answer...
  32. P

    Is remote desktop connection affected by security DLL functions in Windows?

    A popular remote desktop connection issue at present shows up in my head making me wonder whether or not what I am thinking is correct at all. I am a Windows internals novice so please be prepared with my ignorance. For security reason I suppose later versions of Windows (post-XP) have been...
  33. I

    Laptop or Desktop + Netbook for Grad School?

    So, I'll be going to grad school in condensed matter physics in a couple years, and since my current laptop is on it's last legs I'll need a new computer. However, I do still have a nice monitor which still works. As I see it, I have two options: 1. Get a new laptop, and hook it up to the...
  34. S

    What Inspires Your Desktop Wallpaper Choice?

    *whoo* missed the "be descriptive! one/two word titles may be deleted!" warning by one word :P Post your current desktop: http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/8397/067fj.jpg Uploaded with ImageShack.us Every time I look at this, it makes me feel like I'm in the park again :) I...
  35. StevieTNZ

    What are some options for remote desktop connection on Windows XP and Windows 7?

    Hi there, I'm hoping for a free piece of software that acts much like this - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/tools/rdclientdl.mspx - but can run on a Windows XP Home desktop and Windows 7 Home laptop. Being able to connect to the laptop via the computer and vice versa is a must...
  36. MathWarrior

    Integral Calculus Wallpapers for Desktop - Study Math

    I find myself at the computer a lot and since I am studying math does anyone have suggestions for desktop wall papers that contain the formulas of integral calculus in order to memorize them?
  37. Ivan Seeking

    Show My Desktop - See How a Nerd Works!

    Since people are always giving me a bad time about my desktop, I thought it might be interesting to see how I compare. I'm guessing that mine is typical for a nerd? I deleted the name of my business under one folder. If you post, but sure to check for any potential privacy issues first. [If I...
  38. P

    Laptop vs Desktop power consumption

    Would buying a laptop save me a lot more money on my electricity bill than a desktop?
  39. H

    How do I remove the fanof my motherboard INTEL DESKTOP BOARD D865GSA?

    I have attached the diagram of my motherboard and my fan. I also want to remove the heat sink that is integrated one. I would be too grateful if someone could give me video link to do this. Thanks in advance.
  40. G

    Desktop vs Laptop for Undergraduate Physics

    Hey, I'm going into physics in the fall for my first year. I'm going to be living at home and commuting to and from campus (about a half hour bus ride). My question is how often does a physics student use their laptop in class? I'm on a budget and I'd rather spend my money on a desktop and...
  41. D

    Internet Connection for Remote Access: Home PC or University Network?

    Ive recently been using remote access software to access my home PC from the university campus as it is much easier than carrying my laptop around everywhere. When it comes to downloading from the internet, which internet connection will be used? My home PC, or the university network? Or...
  42. C

    Idea for using a Desktop GPU on a Laptop to Drive Internal LCD

    There are a couple of products on the market which allow you to attach an external desktop gpu to the laptop and then use an external monitor and play games using the the desktop gpu instead of the weaker gpu in the laptop. It's a great idea but it means that you must carry an external...
  43. W

    Which Desktop Environment: KDE or GNOME?

    which is the best KDE or GNOME ?
  44. T

    Your opinion about buying a new desktop PC case?

    Use this link to see hardware specifications for my desktop PC. http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/gateway-f...?tag=mncol;rnav Due to a misunderstanding concerning the store warranty which was cleared up today, I discovered that buying a new case for my PC will not void the warranty of my...
  45. TheStatutoryApe

    Altering Desktop on Vista: Tips & Apps for Fun

    I am only slightly computer literate and have been looking for easy to use apps for altering one's desktop. The most minor feature I am looking for is one a friend of mine had that would change his desktop picture every time he restarted his computer. More complex alterations I am looking for...
  46. T

    Problems with newly purchased desktop PC.

    tried setting up my Gateway FX6710-01 today, and everything was plugged in correctly.. But when I turned it on, the Gateway HD LCD monitor said there was no video singal. I had the mouse, keyboard, speakers, computer power plug, and the monitor power plug and monitor imput wire plugged into the...
  47. wolram

    Organize Your Desktop: Avoid the Mushroom Patch

    I am sure this has been done before however, i have icons pop up on my desk top like sprouting mushrooms, i am never sure which ones to keep or delete, if i delete a short cut i am bound sure to need it and have to search for the program later on ,so how do you keep your desk top from looking...
  48. B

    Cant change my desktop background anymore

    Hello all, My system was infected with sometype of virus or spyware. When i start my coputer the desktop is a while screen with a window in the the middle that says "Warning spyware detected on your computer" the spyware it says was deteced are win32/adware/.virumonde and win32/privacy...
  49. rootX

    Windows XP remote desktop connection

    I am trying to set up remote desktop. I have only one account with user name "FirstName LastName" with no password. I followed all instructions, and have "username" for accessing my computer. But, it doesn't work! I have used 3rd party software (I forgot it's name but it's pretty...
  50. B

    Mp3 files scattered all over my desktop

    I had all of my music mp3's and podcasts organized in my itunes library , now when I open my itunes library , none of my mp3s are in my itunes library. Is there a search method , that allows you to search all your mp3's that was previously on your itunes library and organized your mp3's and...