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What is a default?

In IT, a default is a pre-designed value or setting that is used by a computer software or mobile application when a value or setting is not specified by the program user.

What are some other definitions of default?

To the program requestor, to default is to intentionally or accidentally allow the preestablished value or setting for an item to be used by the program. The program is said to default when it uses a default value or setting.

The term default also pertains to something that is used when something else is not supplied or specified. For example, a default printer is one that is assumed to be connected to a computer unless the computer user specifies another type that is connected.

What is the benefit of a default setting?

Defaults can be a convenience for users because they enable programs to perform certain operations without requiring users to specify the desired values. For example, if a user opens a software application, it may default to a particular language or set of preferences until the user changes them.

Defaults are also important in programming languages as they help ensure that data always has a certain value if it is not explicitly given a different one. This can set sensible defaults that prevent errors or other issues from occurring.

Finally, default settings are also important for computer security. Default passwords and system settings may be configured to keep computers safe from malicious users or hackers, who could otherwise gain access to sensitive data or damage a system.

Overall, defaults are an important tool for both computer users and developers, as they can save time and provide extra security to a system or application.

How is a default setting created?

When the program receives a request from a user or another program, it looks at the information that has been passed to it. If a particular item of information is not specified, the program uses the default value that was defined for that item when the program or application was written.

When designing a program, defaults are usually preestablished as the value or setting that most users would probably choose. This keeps the interface simpler for the user and means that less information has to be passed and examined during each program request.

Defaults can also be set from the computer's operating system. Here, a program can read the default settings for certain items whenever it starts up and uses them as needed.

This enables programs to work in different environments and with various configurations without needing to have their settings changed for each one.

Check out in-demand programming languages and cloud programming languages developers need to know. Explore enterprise password security guidelines and top information security best practices, challenges and pain points. See what it means to do 'everything as code' in IT operations, and find out actions to optimize infrastructure-as-code initiatives.

This was last updated in December 2022

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