What is an Operating System?
An operating system is a program or software that allows other programs or applications to run in a specific computer. It also acts as the manager of the hardware resources of the computer it is running on. It forms the most essential part of the computer’s software functions. Without it, various programs and applications won’t be able to run.
In its basic sense, the computer’s operating system is the one who controls its overall functionality. When other programs are opened, the operating system allocates memory resources for that specific program to run properly. It is also responsible for recognizing if there is any input from a particular user. Like when somebody hits the “print” button for example, the operating system will communicate with the printer to perform this particular task.
Operating systems also have an important role in the computer’s security. Most operating systems have built-in features to protect the system itself along with the files and programs. Through operating systems, one can setup a particular computer or network to restrict access from unauthorized persons. This way, file and program integrity will be safeguarded and maintained.
There are many different types of operating systems depending on what users need and desire. Some are called “real-time operating systems’ and these refer to systems that allow for multitasking and quick processing of tasks. Some operating systems are labeled as “multi-user” or “single-user”. These systems basically mean that the system or program is restricted to its design in terms of how many users can use or access the system. There are also operating systems that are designed for performing single tasks only or multiple tasks.
Many computers of today have the Windows or Mac operating systems. These two programs allow for a variety of tasks to be performed in a single computer. These programs also have multi-user functions which are essential for networking needs.