030 - What is Operating System

Operating System (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is an essential component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs require an operating system to function.

An operating system is used to communicates with the hardware and allows other programs to run. It is comprised of system software, or the fundamental files your computer needs to boot up and function. Every desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet and phone includes an operating system that provides basic functionality for the device. An operating system is the application that controls every aspect of a computer. The most common operating systems are Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

Operating system runs the computer and the applications software. It makes sure that the hardware and the applications software understand each other. This makes it the most important piece of software on the computer. The operating system also comes with utilities. These are pieces of applications software that mostly deal with managing data. You can add a utilities programs for your operating system for repair, manage and optimize data on a computer. A basic set comes with every OS.

Applications software does the specific things you want the computer to do, Whereas the Operating system is general instructions to the computer for controlling the hardware, applications software is specific instructions that work together with the Operating System to do work for you.

How Operating System Works

An operating system carries out two basic functions

• it serves as a manger for the hardware and software resources held in the system.
• it deals with hardware without the applications having to know every aspect along the way.

The duties of the operating system in five different categories

Processor Management • involves the certainty that all applications and processes get the appropriate amount of time from the processor so that it can function properly. It also involves taking advantage of as many processor cycles as it possibly can to make everything work together properly. The OS uses the process or thread of the processor to carry out these functions and it continuously switches between processes at the rate of thousands of processes per second.
Memory and Storage Management • is the process of ensuring that each process has the amount of memory needed to execute the task so that processes do not steal memory from each other. Another part of memory management is managing each type of memory so that it is used properly.
Device Management • Every piece of hardware uses a driver, a special program, to communicate with the system. The OS uses the drivers as a translator between the electrical signals from the hardware and the programming code found in applications. The driver takes data from the OS to the device and vice versa. The OS controls this process by calling on the appropriate driver when it is needed.
Application Program Interface (APIs) • Just like hardware has drivers, applications have application program interfaces. APIs allow the programmers to use parts of the OS and computer to carry out certain functions. The OS holds all of the APIs that are recognizable to the computer and plays the role of interpreter for the APIs. It then sends the data required so that the function is carried out.
User Interface • The user interface aspect of the OS manages the interaction between the user and computer. Many OS use graphical user interfaces, which mean that it uses images and icons to communicate with the user.

Process Management


Types of Operating System

GUI • an operating system contains graphics and icons and is commonly navigated by using a computer mouse.
Multi-user • An operating system allows for multiple users to use the same computer at the same time and different times.
Multiprocessing • An operating system capable of supporting and utilizing more than one computer processor.
Multitasking • An operating system that is capable of allowing multiple software processes to run at the same time.
Multithreading • Operating systems that allow different parts of a software program to run concurrently.

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