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 controls

    ActiveX controls are component program objects that Microsoft developed to enable applications to perform specific functions, such as displaying a calendar or playing a video.

  • 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).

  • application manager (app manager)

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

  • AppX file

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

  • What is APM? Application performance monitoring guide

    Application performance monitoring (APM) is the collection of tools and processes designed to help IT professionals ensure that enterprise applications meet the performance, reliability and valuable user experience (UX) required by employees, partners and customers.

  • 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 Drive Encryption, or BitLocker, is a Microsoft Windows security and encryption feature.

  • C

    cellular automaton (CA)

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

  • client

    A client is a hardware or software device that requests access to a service that is typically made available by a server.

  • 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 disk operating system (DOS) commands that tell the operating system (OS) 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.  

  • 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 personalization

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

  • 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.

  • E

    Error messages for Windows XP Pro

    MS Windows XP Professional Error Messages

  • Excel

    Excel is a spreadsheet program from Microsoft and a component of its Office product group for business applications.

  • 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

    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

    IO.SYS is a hidden executable binary file that processes instructions that tell the operating system (OS) how the computer is set up when it is booted or started.

  • ISA Server

    Microsoft's ISA Server (Internet Security and Acceleration Server) was the successor to Microsoft's Proxy Server 2.0 and was 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 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 is Microsoft's digital assistant.

  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM)

    Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) is a cloud-based solution that is designed to address the challenges associated with deploying, managing and securing devices in the enterprise.

  • 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 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 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 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 Hello

    Microsoft Windows Hello is a biometric identity and access control feature that supports fingerprint scanners, iris scanners and facial recognition technology on compatible devices running Windows.

  • 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)

    Network File System (NFS) is a networking protocol for distributed file sharing.

  • P

    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.

  • 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 is a quick-repair job for a piece of programming designed to resolve functionality issues, improve security or add new features.

  • What is patch management? Lifecycle, benefits and best practices

    Patch management is the subset of systems management that involves identifying, acquiring, testing and installing patches, or code changes, that are intended to fix bugs, close security holes or add features.

  • R

    remote desktop

    A 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.

  • S

    Security Accounts Manager

    The Security Accounts Manager (SAM) is a database file in the Microsoft Windows operating system that contains usernames and passwords.

  • strong password

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

  • 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 operating system user interface that provides easy access icons to the user's most commonly used apps and displays the clock.

  • T

    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 Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.

  • virtualization-based security (VBS)

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

  • W

    Windows 10 (Microsoft Windows 10)

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

  • Windows 10 Update Assistant

    Windows 10 Update Assistant is a native update management tool designed to help individual users keep up with OS updates as Microsoft publishes them.

  • Windows 2000

    Windows 2000 is an operating system developed by Microsoft.

  • Windows 7

    Windows 7 is the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) released commercially in October 2009 as the successor to Windows Vista.

  • Windows as a service

    Windows as a service is the approach Microsoft introduced with Windows 10 to deploy, update and service the operating system.

  • Windows Autopilot

    Windows Autopilot is a desktop provisioning tool native to Windows 10 that allows IT professionals to automate image deployment of new desktops with preset configurations.

  • Windows Defender Application Guard

    Windows Defender Application Guard is a security tool built into Microsoft Edge that isolates browser sessions from the desktop in a virtual machine (VM) to prevent any malicious activity from reaching the desktop.

  • Windows Imaging Format (WIM)

    The Windows Imaging Format (or WIM) is used for the creation and distribution of disk image files.

  • Windows key (Winkey)

    The Windows key (Winkey) is a relatively new keyboard key sporting a specially-designed Microsoft Windows logo.

  • Windows Management Instrumentation Command line (WMIC)

    The Windows Management Instrumentation Command line (WMIC) is a software utility intended to help IT staffers retrieve information contained within the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) architecture of almost any Microsoft operating system, starting with Windows XP. A WMIC can also apply basic control of some system functions.

  • Windows reboot loop

    A reboot loop (or boot loop) occurs when a Windows device unexpectedly restarts at some point during its otherwise normal startup process.

  • Windows Registry Editor (regedit)

    The Windows Registry Editor (regedit) is a graphical tool in the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) that enables authorized users to view the Windows registry and make changes.

  • What is desktop management and how does it work?

    Desktop management is a comprehensive approach to managing all the computers within an organization.

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