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A computer that can fit on a desk and perform business computing tasks.
They are often referred to as desktops or, particularly in an office setting and when linked to a network of other computers, workstations. Desktop computers are capable of running a variety of software and operating systems, making them ideal for most businesses. They are also highly customizable, so they can be easily tailored to the unique needs of each individual owner or employee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would anyone own a desktop computer instead of a laptop or tablet?
For businesses, desktops make sense because they are stationary, providing built-in physical security, less expensive them similarly-built laptops or tablets, have a longer lifespan, and are capable of running the most commonly used business applications. Since most employees work from a fixed desk space, desktops more than meet business needs.
For home users, a desktop may not be as convenient as a laptop or tablet, but it still offers a number of advantages. Desktop computers tend to last longer, because they aren’t being moved and jostled, they have better cooling systems, and they are usually made from higher-quality parts than a similarly priced laptop or tablet (because it’s easier, and less expensive, to make larger parts). Additionally, most desktop computers are designed for easy upgrading. You can replace your monitor with a larger size, pop off the cover and add an additional stick of memory, or swap the video card for a more powerful model. If you run out storage space, you can add a new drive without having to transfer any of your existing data. By upgrading parts as needed, many users are able to prolong the life of a desktop, often using them for years longer than less-upgradable portable devices.
What operating systems can I run on a desktop computer?
Desktops are capable of running most any operating systems, with the exception of a small number of systems designed exclusively for mobile devices. The majority of home desktops run Microsoft Windows. Mac OS is a particularly popular alternative for users of the iPhone or iPad, because of the integrated Apple ecosystem. Chrome OS, though primarily designed for small laptops and netbooks, has a small foothold in the desktop market, particular with flash-drive based computing, which allows you to run an entire computer from a small flash drive plugged into the back of a monitor. For users looking for an alternative to these, there are dozens of Linux operating systems designed for home users, though switching to Linux will usually involve installing the OS yourself and require considerably more technical skill than any of the other OSes mentioned.
What do I need to use a desktop computer?
Unlike laptops and tablets, desktop computers don’t come with everything you need built in. Aside from the main computer, in order to use a desktop computer, you will need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. If you want to play sounds or listen to music or movies, you will also need speakers. For video conferencing, you will need a separate webcam. Most of these peripherals are included with computer sets sold at electronic stores, but you can also purchase them separately to customize your computing experience.