PC Desktop? Wallpaper? or Background?

What is the correct term for the background behind the icons? Is it called the desktop? And yet, is the graphic (even if a plain background) called the “wallpaper”? Or, “wallpaper” may be the Apple Macintosh term - since I’ve used both systems.

If that was too easy a question, how about explaining this one: When I press Ctrl-Alt-Delete, the background (desktop, etc.) turns into a ugly red image - looks like a mushroom cloud as seen from the top and colorized in fire-engine red - in very poor resolution. What the heck is that, and can I change it? Why should the PC need a different background when I press Ctrl-Alt-Delete? It could be a portrait of all-hell breaking loose!

If it matters, my desktop image (i.e.: wallpaper, background) is a customized photo of my own. And, I WAG the PC cannot access the photo’s file when I press Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Still, couldn’t the default background simply be some solid color, perhaps? - Jinx

The Wallpaper is the image that is used as background. No image/wallpaper = plain background (color only). The Desktop is the entire area, including the icons.

How did you set this image in the first place? There are many programs that can set an image as background, but do not remove the original background. So, basically, you have an image on top of an image. Are you using a theme, for example?

Go to Settings->Control Panel->Display and look at the image selected under the Background tab. That may be the ugly image you referred to.

Depending on the platform, it makes more sense to use different terms. For Windows you have an option for selecting a single color for your background, and then an image to overlay the color. I don’t see anywhere in Windows XP that image being called “wallpaper”, so I would go with “background image”.

Macs, far in the past, started in a different manner. Originally the user could pick a style for their background, which could be a solid color or more commonly a small repeating pattern. This was called a “wallpaper” for obvious reasons. Later on, but still far in the past, when background images were introduced they were overlayed on top of the wallpaper.

I think that you got the idea right when you thought that “wallpaper” was the Mac term. It was probably carried over and adopted without having been changed into a Windows term when the idea was taken from Apple. (BTW, has everyone spent the time to laugh at the “Recycle Bin”? Gates didn’t copy the Mac trashcan, not at all! Oh, and we will have the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, not the top! And the icons, lets have them on the left instead of the right…)