What is the difference between a laptop and desktop computer?


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What is the difference between a laptop and desktop computer?

a computer and all its parts set up on a table

What's coming up?

In this activity, you’ll discover the differences between a laptop and a desktop computer. You’ll learn that a laptop computer is made to be portable, so you can take it anywhere you go.

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Using a laptop

A laptop is designed to be portable so you can use it wherever you are. To make it portable, there are some design differences between a laptop and desktop computer, including:

  • Smaller screen size
  • More compact keyboard
  • A touch-sensitive pad that works like a mouse
  • A battery inside so it can work without mains power.
an open laptop
a laptop and a charger

Laptop hardware

A laptop will generally come packaged in a box with a charger and nothing else. Everything you need to use and operate a laptop is built-in to the laptop itself. If you plan on travelling somewhere with your laptop, remember to pack the charger so you can recharge the battery.

Laptop software

The software, or apps that the laptop uses are the same as those used on a desktop computer. Always purchase apps and software programs for your laptop from the official app store for your device.

a laptop installing software
a laptop in a carry bag

Protecting your laptop

Laptops are designed to be carried around, whether it be to the café, work, or on an overseas holiday. For this reason, they’re designed with a hard case that protects the device from general wear and tear. When the lid of a laptop is closed, the screen and keyboard are protected inside. However, the USB ports of the laptop are not protected. It’s worth purchasing a padded bag to provide additional protection.

a locked padlock

eSafety tip

Before you start accessing the internet on any computer, you should install antivirus software. This will help to protect your computer from malicious programs that may be present on some websites.

Well done!

This is the end of the What is the difference between a laptop and desktop computer? activity. You’ve discovered the differences between the two devices and learned some handy tips on protecting your laptop.

Up next, learn more about using the touchpad on your laptop in the What is a touchpad? activity.

a computer and all its parts