Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

A desktop may refer to any of the following:

1. A desktop is a term commonly used to describe a desktop computer or system unit.

2. When referring to an operating system or GUI, the desktop is a system of organization of icons on a screen. The Microsoft Windows desktop was first introduced with Microsoft Windows 95 and has been included with every version of Windows since then. The image below is an example of the Microsoft Windows 7 desktop.

Windows 7 Desktop

In this example, there are no icons on the desktop, and the wallpaper is a blue screen with the Windows 7 logo. Also, the Taskbar is at the bottom of the desktop and contains the Start button, Taskbar icons, Windows Notification Area, and the time and date.

Tip: You can get to the desktop at any time by pressing the Windows key and D at the same time or using Aero Peek.

What icons and items are found on the Windows desktop?

Some of the most common icons on the desktop include those for My Computer, Recycle Bin, your Internet browser (e.g., Internet Explorer), and My Documents. On the Windows desktop, you also have access to the Windows Start Menu through the Start button on the Taskbar, as well as the Windows Notification Area.

If some or all of these icons are missing on the desktop, you can change which icons are displayed. Click on the link below and follow the steps to show, or hide, these icons.

The date and time are also shown on the desktop, in the notification area on the taskbar. If the date and time are incorrect, you can change the date and time right from the desktop.

Should I capitalize the word "desktop" in my writing?

Unless at the beginning of a sentence "desktop" should be written as all lowercase when referring to a part of a GUI operating system.

Other words that contain the word desktop, such as "Active Desktop" and "Remote Desktop" are capitalized. Settings and options may also capitalize desktop in their description.

Active desktop, Aero Peek, Chassis, CTD, Microcomputer, Nettop, Operating system terms, PC, Presentation manager, Remote desktop, Slimline model, Work area