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In graphical user interfaces and consoles a desktop environment is a location on a personal computer that helps the user get around on the computer. The desktop itself is a place in the operating system used for short cuts to computer files and folders on the hard drive. Computer icons (small pictures) are used to represent files/folders. Clicking these icons will open or start a folder or program. The desktop is the area where the start menu is if the computer has a start menu.
Usually the desktop is the main screen on the computer. If no programs or folders are open, the computer will display the desktop.
The most common desktop environment on personal computers is the one given by Microsoft Windows; another common environment is the one given by Apple Mac OS X. Other mostly-used desktop environments for Unix-like operating systems using the X Window System are KDE, GNOME, Xfce. There are also other desktop environments, including : Aston, EDE, GEM, IRIX Interactive Desktop, Sun's Java Desktop System, Mezzo, Project Looking Glass, ROX Desktop, UDE, Xito, XFast.