What is an Operating System?


Operating system is a system software which controls the hardware and application software resources of the computer and offers common services for computer programs. The operating system is used as a midway between programs and the computer hardware for hardware functions such as memory allocation. The operating system is present in computer, mobile phones and video game consoles to supercomputers and web servers.

Answer Image

There are different operating systems which can be used for different purposes. Several operating systems are used for normal things on personal computers and others are used for particular work.

An operating system has several tasks in which entire programs can use the CPU, system memory, displays, input devices, and other hardware. Operating system also communicates to other computers or devices on a network. There are several operating systems such as MacOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.

At present, Microsoft Windows is the leading and popular operating system. The share in market of Microsoft Windows is about 82.74 percent. The other operating system such as MacOS from Apple the second one in market at about 13.23 percent and Linux is at 1.57 percent. Android is also a popular operating system in smartphones which has the market share of about 87.5 percent with growth year of around 10.3 percent in each year.

Types of Operating Systems:

There are several operating systems which are discussed below

  • Single and Multitasking- A single-tasking system allows only one program at one time whereas a multi-tasking operating system can operate more than one program. Multi-tasking may be divided into two types
    • Preemptive Multitasking - In this type of multitasking, the operating system shares the CPU time and offers a slot for each of the programs. Solaris, Linux and Amiga operating systems are  preemptive multitasking.
    • Cooperative Multitasking– This system depends upon on each method to deliver time to the other processes in a well-defined manner. The example is 16-bit versions of Microsoft Windows.
  • Single and Multi user– It allows several programs to operate. A multi-user operating system uses the basic theory of multi-tasking with good services which identify procedures and resources, such as disk space which is working with multiple users, and the system allows several users to interact with the system at the same time.
  • Time-sharing – In this system, it also allows multiple users for distribution of processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources.
  • Distributed – A distributed operating system controls a collection of separate computers and makes them seem to be a single computer. The growth of networked computers can be connected and they can converse with each other to give rise to distributed computing. Distributed computations support more than one machine. 
Latest Questions
Top Writers