Operating System


Operating System

This article covers the basic concept of an operating system and its functionality. This webpage also covers basics of commonly used operating systems. It mainly deals with the “Microsoft Windows Practice”.

After complete study about this article, you will be in position to:

  • Describe the basic concept of an operating system.
  • Indentify the functions of an operating system.
  • Define system performance measures and process management tools.
  • Explain some popular operating system (OS)
  • Explore Microsoft Windows Practice

What is Operating System? (Intro)

An Operating system is the most important and major program that runs on a system (computer). Every computer system must have an operating system in order to run different programs. The OS is collection of software’s which manage various computer hardware resources. It additionally provides common services to different computer programs.

An Operating system performs several tasks such as:

  1. Recognize input from a keyboard.
  2. Send output to a display screen (monitor)
  3. Keep track of files as well as directories on a disk.
  4. Control various peripheral devices like hard drive, printer, video or sound card etc.

A figure named as “Operating System & Its Interfaces” shows the above basic concept in a clear way:

Operating System and Its Features

“Operating System & Its Interfaces”

An Operating system generally acts s an “interaction” between computer user and computer hardware. The most observable feature of a n operating system is its interface. The operating system basically provides an environment where users can execute different programs.

As soon as a user turn-on or boot a computer, the operating system is loaded into memory automatically. The term booting basically refers to the complete process of loading any operating system into a computer’s memory. This process is usually done through a program (commonly known as boot-strap loader) which is permanently stored in a computer’s electronic circuitry (generally on a ROM-chip).

Types of Operating System:

The OS (Operating Systems) are generally categorized into two major types depending the basic of numerous features such as Graphical User Interface (GUI) Operating system and Command Line Operating System. The description of these both types of operating system is given below:

Graphical User Interface (GUI) Operating system:

A GUI operating system basically provides a graphical-user interface to the users in order to communicate with system/computer. In this interface the icons, menu or graphical objects are being used for issuing commands. The users of GUI operating systems don’t need to memorize different commands while interacting with computer. The examples of GUI operating system include:

  • Windows ( The Windows (Operating System) are very popular among all others which will be described in this unit in detail).
  • Linux ETC

Command Line Operating-System:

A command line operating-system basically provides a command=prompt in order to type different commands. The users use these commands while there interaction with computer. Te usrs of command line operating system need to memorize different commands for performing various tasks. The examples of command line operating-system include:

  • DOS
  • Unix etc

Functions of an Operating System:

Following are the common functions of an Operating system:

Manage Resources:

One of the major functions of an operating system is to manage the different resources of a computer which include mouse, keyboard, monitor, printer, storage devices or memory etc. The operating system usually creates file-structure on a hard drive. Once file is stored, the operating system saves it, names it and also members it for future use. The way by which an operating system normally organizes information/date into file(s) is called a file system. The operating systems mostly use “Hierarchical File System” where the files are organized into directories (generally referred as folders) under a tree-structure.

windows7 explorere xpanded

A Screen short of a Tree Structure while using Windows Explorer

Graphical User Interface (GUI) in OS (Operating system):

The users basically interact with the application programs as well as the computer hardware by user-interface. Today, almost every operating system provides “Graphicl User Interface” (GUI) where the graphic-objects or icons are generally used to represent various features. The GUI is an efficient interface where the users issue different commands with the help of different pointing devices such as mouse in order to point or click on icons, menus, lists as well as buttons on a screen etc.

A screenshot of a Graphical User (GUI0 while using Windows 7 is shown below:-

GUI in Windows 7

A Screen Shot of a Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Run Applications:

Most of the operating systems support to “multi-tasking”. The term multi-tasking means that an ability to run two or more applications/program at a time. As soon as a user sends a request for a program, an operating system suddenly locates that application & loads it into RAM (Random Access Memory).

It More Programs are being loaded then the operating-system must allocate various computer resources.

Commonly Used Operating Systems:

The computer operating systems usually categorize by their different characteristics such as technology, working state, ownership, licensing as well as usage etc. there are number of operating systems which have become very famous at the time of their releases such as DOS (Disk Operating System), Windows 95, Windows NT (New Technology), UNIX, Linux, Macintosh Operating System, Windows 98, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows Visa and Windows 7 etc. The use of these operating systems depends upon user ‘choice. Different users may use different types of computer with different operating systems. Main characteristics of commonly used operating system may include:

  1. System Reliability
  2. Faster Start-up
  3. User Friendly Interface
  4. Hardware Support Improvements
  5. Remote Desktop features
  6. Various improvements to SA System Administration Tools”
  7. Network Features
  8. Important Security Features.

The windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 have emerged as one of the popular operating systems.


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