What is an operating system ?
Science & Tech

Operating System

Hello guys, this post will give you an overview about Operating System. Lets talk about What is an Operating System? The Operating System is also known as OS.


Let us discuss What is an operating system ? As we know that machine cannot understand our language. The machine takes input and gives us output as per input. As per name, Operating System is one who operates the machine. What is an operating system ? Operating System is a connection between hardware and software of a machine. The language of machine is a High level language and it’s difficult to understand that’s why we need operating system to interact with machine. You can easily understand the relation between hardware, software and OS from the diagram given below.

Objective of OS

Operating System (OS)

  We have to know what is an operating system ? OS is a system software that establish connection between system hardware and user with the help of different application softwares. What is an operating system ? Well, machine can’t understand human language, that’s why we need a OS to interact with hardware. For execution of a program we gives input for some output but, it is not as simple as it sounds. The input is first translated in the machine language and then executed by the machine. The main objectives of OS is to make the computer system easy and convenient to use and also to use the computer hardware in an efficient way.

Types of operating system

  The Operating Systems are classified into different types on the basis of their capabilities of processing. The types of OS are as,

Single User –

  • Can be used by a single user and can perform a single task at a time.
  • OS for PCs are Single User OS.
  • Example – MS-DOS.

Multi User –

  • Can be used by multiple users at the same time.
  • The multi user OS is used in computer networks that allow same data to be accessed by multiple users, the users can also communicate with each other.
  • Examples – Linux, UNIX, Windows 7.

Multitasking –

  • The system can perform multiple tasks concurrently.
  • The processing speed is different for different tasks.
  • Examples – Windows 95 and the later versions.

Multiprocessing –

  • Have two or more processors.
  • Same task is divided between different processors to boost the processing speed.
  • Each processor works different parts of the same task or different task in parallel.
  • Examples – Linux, UNIX, Windows 7.

Real Time –

  • Known as RTOS (Real Time Operating System).
  • RTOS are designed to process the task in given time period.
  • Used in Medical imaging systems, industrial control systems etc.
  • Examples – LynxOS, OSE, QNX.

Embedded –

  • As per name embedded OS are installed in a system and can perform a specific task.
  • The embedded OS is embedded in a device in the ROM.
  • Used in microwaves, washing machines, traffic control systems etc.
  • Examples – Windows CE, symbian, Linux etc.

OS Functions

 If we understand What is an operating system, then it’s easy to understand the working and functions of operating system. Operating System is a very important system software. It’s important to know about the functions of Operating System. The different functions of Operating System are process management, memory management, file management,device management,security & protection, user interface or command interpreter.

  • Process management deals with the controlling and execution of a process, like cancel or resume a process, schedule a process etc.
  • Re-allocation of memory to a program and keep track of memory usage comes under memory management.
  • File management includes create, delete, secure files.
  • Device management deals with opening, closing and writing device drivers.
  • The basic protection like user authentication, permission of reading / writing a file and back-up of data comes under security and protection.
  • Yet the user interface, through which the user interacts with the computer hardware is also a function of Operating System.


 Now, it’s clear that What is an operating system ? An Operating System is a system software designed for interaction between user and system hardware. Operating System are of different types as per their capabilities like, Single user, Multi user embedded etc. Yet Operating System has different functions such as memory management, device management, user interface, security and protection etc. Examples of OS are Windows XP, Linux, MS-DOS etc.

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