background(n.) (1) Multitasking computers are capable of executing several tasks, or programs, at the same time. In some multitasking systems, one of the processes is called the foreground process , and the others are called background processes.
The foreground process is the one that accepts input from the keyboard, mouse, or other input device. Background processes cannot accept interactive input from a user, but they can access data stored on a disk and write data to the video display. For example, some word processors print files in the background, enabling you to continue editing while files are being printed. This is called print spooling . In addition, many communications programs are designed to run in the background. Background processes generally have a lower priority than foreground processes so that they do not interfere with interactive applications.
Even though DOS is not a multitasking operating system, it can perform some specialized tasks, such as printing, in the background. Operating environments, such as Microsoft Windows and the Macintosh operating system, provide a more general multitasking environment.
(2) The area of a display screen not covered by characters and graphics. The background is like a canvas on top of which characters and graphics are placed. Some monitors allow you to control the color or shading of the background.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
Does this sound familiar? An online service promises to help your small business cut costs, increase productivity, make your coffee and walk your... Read More »Who's Moving Ahead in Cloud Computing?
The future remains, well, cloudy. But either way: Amazon, look out. Microsoft is gaining fast. Read More »We Can't Give Up on Privacy!
Even new and emerging technologies that can make our lives easier, safer and healthier can jeopardize our privacy. Read More »
The trend for the past two years has been for shoppers to spend more online during the holiday season. How do you typically shop for holiday... Read More »How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website
This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends
Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »