WinSpace 3.0

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The graphical user interface (GUI) is the standard approach to user friendly computing. More than any other single innovation, it is the GUI that has been responsible for making accessible to even non-technical users the productivity-enhancing benefits of the computer. The term "virtual desktop" refers to a functionality layer on top of the OS and the existing GUI that extends the user desktop. Capabilities added by the virtual desktop encompass factors such as increased space, multiple "virtual" work areas, dynamic overview maps, timesaving settings and other user-defined preferences.

The X Windows system under UNIX and the Microsoft Windows operating system are the most common interfaces in use today. X Windows has a native virtual desktop capability (FVWM) which functions as a graphical map of several work areas the user can jump to as required. Windows 95/98 and Windows NT offer a task bar for choosing active applications, but do not natively provide a multiple work area capability.