Background-processing definitions

Processing in which the program is not visibly interacting with the user. Earlier personal computers used operating systems that ran background tasks only when foreground tasks were idle, such as between keystrokes. Today's multitasking operating systems share time between background and foreground programs. Advanced operating systems on mainframes can prioritize each job.
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(computing) The execution of a subsidiary operation by a computer while the user works with another application.
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Origin of background-processing