Enterprise Desktop Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing enterprise desktop and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • A

    ActiveX

    ActiveX is a set of object-oriented programming technologies Microsoft developed for Internet Explorer to facilitate rich media playback.

  • ActiveX control

    An ActiveX control is a component program object that can be re-used by many application programs within a computer or among computers in a network.

  • Anna Kournikova virus VBS.SST

    The Anna Kournikova VBS.SST computer virus, informally known as "Anna," is a viral worm that uses Visual Basic to infect Windows systems when a user unwittingly opens an e-mail note with an attachment that appears to be a graphic image of Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova.

  • Apache OpenOffice

    Apache OpenOffice is an open-source office productivity suite used to create and edit documents (Writer), presentations (Impress), spreadsheets (Calc), graphics (Draw), mathematical formulas (Math) and databases (Base).

  • AppBuilder

    AppBuilder is an application development tool that takes advantage of reusable HTML5/Java Script to let developers create cross-platform applications that work seamlessly on iOS, Android or Windows Phones.

  • application manager (app manager)

    An application manager (app manager) is programming for overseeing the installation, patching and updating and perhaps access of software applications.

  • application performance monitoring (APM)

    Application performance monitoring (APM) is the collection of tools and processes designed to help information technology (IT) professionals ensure that the applications users work with meet performance standards and provide a valuable user experience (UX).

  • AppX file

    AppX is the application distribution file format that was introduced with Microsoft Windows 8.

  • authentication ticket or ticket-granting ticket (TGT)

    An authentication ticket, also known as a ticket-granting ticket (TGT), is a small amount of encrypted data that is issued by a server in the Kerberos authentication model to begin the authentication process.

  • B

    BIOS password

    A BIOS password is a security precaution that requires a computer user to log into the machine's basic input/output system (BIOS) before a computer will boot up.

  • BitLocker

    BitLocker is an operating system-level extension to Vista that combines on-disk encryption and special key management techniques... (Continued)

  • C

    cellular automaton (CA)

    A cellular automaton (CA) is a collection of cells arranged in a grid, such that each cell changes state as a function of time according to a defined set of rules that includes the states of neighboring cells.

  • checkpoint

    A checkpoint, in a virtualization context, is a snapshot of the state of a virtual machine. Like a restore point in Windows operating systems, a checkpoint allows the administrator to return the system to an earlier, functioning state if problems are encountered... (Continued)

  • client

    A client is the requesting program or user in a client/server relationship.

  • client-side extension (CSE)

    A client-side extension (CSE) is an integral component of enterprise group policy administration that applies Group Policy to users or endpoint systems.

  • CONFIG.SYS

    CONFIG.SYS is a text file containing DOS (Disk Operating System) commands that tell the operating system how the computer is initially set up.

  • configuration service provider (CSP)

    A configuration service provider (CSP) is a component of the Windows client operating system that shows IT professionals potential device configuration choices and allows them to apply the settings across multiple Windows OSes.

  • context menu (right-click menu)

    A context menu is a pop-up menu that provides shortcuts for things the software developer anticipates the user might want to do.  

  • Curl

    Curl is an object-oriented programming language designed to replace HTML, JavaScript, and related tools as a means for creating interactive Web pages.

  • D

    desktop

    A desktop is a computer display area that represents the kinds of objects one might find on top of a physical desk, including documents, phone books, telephones, reference sources, writing and drawing tools, and project folders.

  • desktop computer

    A desktop computer is a personal computing device designed to fit on top of a typical office desk.

  • desktop gadget

    A desktop gadget is a software widget, or a small application, that is designed to sit on a user's desktop screen in much the same way that apps reside on smartphones and tablets.

  • desktop management

    Desktop management is a comprehensive approach to managing all the computers within an organization. Despite its name, desktop management includes overseeing laptops and other computing devices as well as desktop computers. Desktop management is a component of systems management, which is the administration of all components of an organization's information systems.

  • desktop personalization

    Desktop personalization is the process of adjusting the look, feel and organization of a Windows end-user experience.

  • desktop search (integrated search)

    Desktop search (sometimes called integrated search) is the ability to simultaneously search hard drives and removable storage on the user's computer.

  • desktop theme

    A desktop theme is a customized graphical user interface (GUI) that replaces a computer's ordinary sounds, icons, pointer, wallpaper or screensaver with something designed to reflect the interests of the user.

  • device driver

    A device driver is a special kind of software program that controls a specific hardware device attached to a computer.

  • digital workspace

    A digital workspace is an integrated technology framework that centralizes the management of an enterprise's applications, data and endpoints, allowing employees to collaborate and work remotely.

  • disk analyzer

    A disk analyzer is a piece of software that checks drives for space and usage and explores files and folders visually, simplifying file cleanup and optimization.

  • drive-by download

    A drive-by download is a program that is automatically downloaded to your computer without your consent or even your knowledge. Unlike a pop-up download, which asks for assent (albeit in a calculated manner likely to lead to a "yes"), a drive-by download can be initiated by simply visiting a Web site or viewing an HTML e-mail message... (Continued)

  • E

    Enterprise Device Alliance (EDA)

    The Enterprise Device Alliance (EDA) seeks to help administrators integrate iOS and Android devices into existing Windows environments.

  • Error messages for Windows 2000

    Windows 2000 error messages

  • Error messages for Windows XP Pro

    MS Windows XP Professional Error Messages

  • Excel

    Excel is a spreadsheet program from Microsoft, a component of its Office product group for business applications. In common with similar products, such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Corel's QuattroPro, Excel is an automated version of the paper-based spreadsheet.

  • external drive enclosure (disk enclosure, disk caddy, drive caddy)

    An external drive enclosure is a metal or plastic casing that holds and powers a disk drive.

  • G

    Get Windows 10 app

    Get Windows 10 is an application that confirms if a computer is qualified to upgrade to Windows 10 for free and provides information on some of the key features in Microsoft's newest operating system.

  • graphic equalizer

    A graphic equalizer is a high-fidelity audio control that allows the user to see graphically and control individually a number of different frequency bands in a stereophonic system.

  • H

    hard-drive encryption

    Hard-drive encryption is a technology that encrypts the data stored on a hard drive using sophisticated mathematical functions.

  • host intrusion prevention systems (HIPS)

    A host intrusion prevention system (HIPS) is a security method that relies on third-party software tools to monitor network traffic and system activities for anomalous code behavior to identify and prevent malicious activities.

  • HyperTerminal

    HyperTerminal is a communications and terminal emulation program that came with the Windows 98 and Windows XP operating systems.

  • I

    Internet Explorer (IE)

    Internet Explorer (IE) is a World Wide Web browser made by Microsoft for use on its Windows operating system.

  • IO.SYS

    In the Windows 95 operating system, IO.SYS is an executable binary file (in other words, a program) that, when the operating system is booted (started), processes instructions that tell the operating system how the computer is set up.

  • ISA Server (Internet Security and Acceleration Server)

    Microsoft's ISA Server (Internet Security and Acceleration Server) is the successor to Microsoft's Proxy Server 2.0 (see proxy server) and is part of Microsoft's .NET support.

  • Ivanti

    Ivanti is a software company that provides IT management products and services, particularly around endpoint computing.

  • K

    key-value pair (KVP)

    A key-value pair (KVP) is a set of two linked data items: a key, which is a unique identifier for some item of data, and the value, which is either the data that is identified or a pointer to the location of that data.

  • kiosk mode (Windows assigned access)

    Kiosk mode is specialized function that allows Microsoft Windows to provide a single application for users signing on as guests or generic authorized users while preventing access to other files, data and functionality of the operating system and computer.

  • M

    message passing interface (MPI)

    The message passing interface (MPI) is a standardized means of exchanging messages between multiple computers running a parallel program across distributed memory.

  • Microsoft Antigen

    Microsoft Antigen is a set of programs that provides security and e-mail filtering for network servers. Antigen can provide layered, multiple-scan protection against malware and can filter e-mail to minimize inappropriate content and malicious attachments according to user or administrator preferences... (Continued)

  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit

    Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is a free utility IT can use to determine whether or not its infrastructure is prepared for a migration to a new operating system, server version or cloud-based deployment.

  • Microsoft Click-To-Run

    Microsoft Click-to-Run is a way to quickly install Microsoft products, including versions of Office 2010 and Office 2013. 

  • Microsoft Cortana

    Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant, debuted in Windows Phone 8.1 and is included in Windows 10. Users can schedule events, set reminders, plan navigation and more with Cortana.

  • Microsoft Edge Web Notes

    Microsoft Edge Web Notes is a feature in Microsoft's Edge browser that lets users draw, highlight or type directly on webpages and web apps.

  • Microsoft Office 2013 (MS Office 2013)

    Microsoft Office 2013 is a suite of office productivity applications used in homes and businesses of all sizes.

  • Microsoft Office 365 suite

    Microsoft Office 365 suite is a hosted, online version of Microsoft Office software. IT administrators access it from a web-based portal to set up new user accounts, control access to features and see the status of all Office 365 services and tools.

  • Microsoft USMT (User State Migration Tool)

    The Microsoft User State Migration Tool (USMT) is a command-line utility used to transfer user files and settings between computers.

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Continuum

    Microsoft Windows 10 Continuum is a feature that adapts the Windows operating system to the form factor that's being used.

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Branch

    Microsoft Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Branch is a licensing structure available for operating system updates in Windows 10 Enterprise.

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Shared PC Mode

    Windows 10 Shared PC Mode is an operating system feature that allows IT administrators to configure computers for multiple user access.

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Modern

    Microsoft Windows 8 Modern (formerly called Metro) is the Microsoft user interface initially released with the Windows 8 operating system.

  • Microsoft Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

    The Microsoft Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit is a set of tools IT professionals can combine to prepare, assess and launch image-based Windows deployments.

  • Microsoft Windows BranchCache

    Microsoft BranchCache is a technology intended to cache central data to remote or branch offices in order to reduce network traffic and optimize WAN utilization.

  • Microsoft Windows Defender

    Windows Defender is Microsoft's antimalware software. Defender works with Windows Update to automatically install new virus definition files as they are published and provide computers using the Microsoft operating system (OS) with both real-time and anytime scanning options.

  • Microsoft Windows Defender Credential Guard

    Microsoft Windows Defender Credential Guard is a security feature that isolates users' login information from the rest of the operating system to prevent theft.

  • Microsoft Windows Defender Device Guard

    Windows Defender Device Guard is a security feature for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Server 2016 designed to use application whitelisting and code integrity policies to protect users' devices from malicious code that could compromise the operating system.

  • Microsoft Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)

    Microsoft Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management is a tool IT administrators can access through the command line or PowerShell to mount and service a Windows desktop image or hard disk before deploying it to users.

  • Microsoft Windows Explorer

    Microsoft Windows Explorer is a graphical file management utility included with Microsoft Windows 95 and later; finally renamed File Explorer with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

  • Microsoft Windows File Manager

    The Microsoft Windows File Manager is the graphical user interface through which users could see and manipulate files and folders on early-version Windows computers.

  • Microsoft Windows Hello

    Microsoft Windows Hello is a Windows 10 authentication feature that allows users to access compatible hardware devices without a password.

  • Microsoft Windows Information Protection (WIP)

    Windows Information Protection is a feature built into Windows 10 that allows IT shops to control and manage business data separately from personal data on users' devices.

  • Microsoft Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE)

    The Microsoft Windows Recovery Environment, or Windows RE, is a simplified, scaled-back version of the Windows operating system that is used to boot the system when Windows 8.x, Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 can't.

  • Microsoft Windows System Image Manager (SIM)

    Microsoft Windows System Image Manager (SIM) is a tool in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit IT professionals can use to create and manage unattended setup answer files for Windows before installing the operating system.

  • Microsoft Windows Task Manager

    Microsoft Windows Task Manager is a component of Microsoft Windows intended to assist administrators or advanced system users in monitoring, managing and troubleshooting a Windows computer system.

  • MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System)

    MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) was the Microsoft-marketed version of the first widely-installed operating system in personal computers.

  • N

    Network File System (NFS)

    The Network File System (NFS) is a client/server application that lets a computer user view and optionally store and update files on a remote computer as though they were on the user's own computer. The NFS protocol is one of several distributed file system standards for network-attached storage (NAS).

  • Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB)

    The Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB) is a part of the Microsoft Vista operating system (OS) that employs a trusted platform module (TPM), a specialized chip that can be installed on the motherboard of a personal computer (PC) or server for the purpose of hardware authentication... (Continued)

  • P

    patch management

    Patch management is an area of systems management that involves acquiring, testing and installing multiple patches, or code changes, to an administered computer system.

  • PC as a service (PCaaS)

    PC as a service (PCaaS) is a device lifecycle management model in which an organization pays a monthly subscription fee to lease endpoint hardware and management services from a vendor.

  • physical computer

    A physical computer is a hardware-based device, such as a personal computer. The term is generally used to differentiate hardware-based computers from software-based virtual machines... (Continued)

  • Process Explorer

    Process Explorer is a free Windows task manager and system monitoring tool that details which programs in a user's system have a specific file or directory open.

  • Software patch/fix

    A software patch or fix helps resolve issues that crop up in different programs. It can also bolster security and add new features to the software.

  • R

    remote desktop

    Remote desktop is a program or an operating system feature that allows a user to connect to a computer in another location, see that computer's desktop and interact with it as if it were local.

  • remote desktop protocol (RDP)

    Remote desktop protocol (RDP) is a secure network communications protocol from Microsoft.

  • Remote Python Call (RPyC)

    A remote python call (RPyC) is a type of remote procedure call that allows an administrator to use the universality of Python programming language to manage a remote object as if it were local.

  • RoC (restart on crash)

    RoC (restart on crash) is a functionality built into Windows that automatically restarts an operating system or application when it hangs, freezes or crashes.

  • S

    saved state

    Saved state, in a virtualization context, is a way to store the current state of a virtual machine so that is possible to return to that state quickly when desired... (Continued)

  • Security Accounts Manager (SAM)

    The Security Accounts Manager (SAM) is a database in the Windows operating system (OS) that contains user names and passwords... (Continued)

  • Security Descriptor Definition Language (SDDL)

    Security Descriptor Definition Language (SDDL) is a formal way to specify Microsoft Windows security descriptors or text strings that describe who owns various objects such as files in the system. The security descriptor may also provide an access control list for an object or group of objects.

  • strong password

    A strong password is one that is designed to be hard for a person or program to discover.

  • Sysprep (System Preparation Tool)

    Sysprep is Microsoft's System Preparation tool intended to duplicate, test and deliver new installations for the Windows operating system based on an established installation.

  • system tray

    The system tray (or "systray") is a section of the taskbars in the Microsoft Windows desktop user interface that is used to display the clock and the icons of certain programs so that a user is continually reminded that they are there and can easily click one of them.

  • T

    tabbed browsing

    Tabbed browsing, also called a tabbed document interface (TDI), is a feature recently implemented in Web browsers to effectively contain multiple pages or documents in a single window... (Continued)

  • treemap

    A treemap is a visual method for displaying hierarchical data ; it uses nested rectangles to represent the branches of a tree diagram.

  • U

    unified endpoint management (UEM)

    Unified endpoint management (UEM) is an approach to securing and controlling desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets in a connected, cohesive manner from a single console.

  • V

    VBScript

    VBScript is an interpreted script language from Microsoft that is a subset of its Visual Basic programming language designed for interpretation by Web browsers.

  • virtual floppy disk

    A virtual floppy disk is an alternative to the traditional floppy that exists as a file rather than a physical medium. A virtual floppy is mounted to the same drive letter (A:) and accessed in the same way but is actually a disk image stored as a file on the hard drive... (Continued)

  • virtual machine snapshot

    A virtual machine snapshot is a file-based representation of the state of a virtual machine at a given time... (Continued)

  • virtualization-based security (VBS)

    Virtualization-based security (VBS) is technology that abstracts computer processes from the underlying operating system and, in some cases, hardware.

  • Vista

    Vista, formerly code named Longhorn, isa Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems.... (Continued)

  • W

    W2K (Windows 2000)

    Windows 2000 (W2K) is a est commercial version of Microsoft's evolving Windows operating system.

  • Windows 10 (Microsoft Windows 10)

    Windows 10 is a Microsoft operating system for personal computers, tablets, embedded devices and internet of things devices.

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