The process of having a computer perform multiple tasks simultaneously. During multitasking, tasks such as listening to a CD or browsing the Internet can be performed in the background while using other programs in the foreground such as an e-mail client.
Advantages of multitasking
- Data can be copied and pasted, or dragged and dropped, between programs.
- May increase productivity, because dozens of programs can be running at once.
- Any changes or updates are seen immediately. For example, if a new e-mail is received, you immediately know.
Disadvantages of multitasking
- Requires more system resources.
- If on a laptop or portable device, takes more battery power.
Is multitasking good or bad for humans?
Most computers, programs, and operating systems are designed for multitasking and do a great job at it. However, many studies show that multitasking can reduce productivity, increase mistakes, and decrease cognitive performance.
How can I multitask on a computer?
Computers make it easy to multitask between one or more programs by having different windows for each program open on the computer. Below are all of the different ways you can multitask on a computer.
Have multiple windows open at once
If you have a large display, you can resize a window and move it so more than one window is shown on the screen at once. New versions of Windows also makes it easy to move a window to each side or corner of your screen.
Use keyboard shortcuts to switch between open windows
Use multiple monitors on one computer
It is possible to use two or more monitors or displays on the same computer. Many people find it easier to multitask on a computer if they can have a program that needs to remain open on one of the screens while they work on another.