What Does the Computer Term Default Mean in Plain English

In this audio computer training lesson I answer a question from Vasilis who writes wanting to know just what the computer term “default” means.  Click the triangle play button below to listen to this computer question and my Plain English answer:

As I explain in the audio lesson, the computer term “default” is one that confuses a lot of people.  Basically, it means “what the computer is set to do until you tell it to do otherwise”.

So for example, you might get a brand new computer and have a certain picture set as the wallpaper (background image on the desktop) when you first turn it on. This is the default background image.

If you change that default image to a new one, it’s no longer using the default picture.

Another example would be the “default browser” on your computer.  Windows PCs come with Internet Explorer (the blue “E” icon) as the default browser, just as Apple includes their own Safari browser as the default on their Mac computers.

You can always install a different browser (highly recommended for Windows users) such as Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.  When you install a new browser, it typically asks you if you’d like to make it the default.  If you do, any time you do something which should take you to a web page (like clicking a link in an email for example) it will then open whatever browser you have “set as the default” to display that web page.

But that doesn’t prevent you from opening that same web page in a different browser if you prefer — you’re just not opening it with the default.

So it’s kind of like what the computer “assumes” (so to speak) unless you tell it otherwise.

Hope that makes sense.