An Operating System (OS) is a crucial interface that connects a computer user with the computer's hardware. Falling under the system software category, it handles essential tasks like file management, memory handling, process management, and managing peripheral devices such as disk drives, printers, and networking hardware. Popular Operating Systems include Linux, Windows, macOS (formerly OS X), Solaris, OS/400, and Chrome OS. Over the years, operating systems have evolved significantly, transitioning from simple command-line interfaces to complex, user-friendly graphical interfaces, accommodating open-source models like Linux and proprietary ones like Windows and macOS.

Features of Operating System

Here is a list of some significant functions of an Operating System, which is found common in almost all operating systems:

  • Resource management: OS allocates resources like memory, processor, and storage to different tasks. For instance, in multitasking environments, the OS decides how to assign memory to various applications.
  • Memory management: OS manages computer memory allocation and ensures that each program can access the memory it needs.
  • Process management: OS creates and manages processes and units of work the computer executes.
  • File management: OS manages files, organizes them, and grants access to different programs and users.
  • Security: OS includes security features to protect the computer from unauthorized access and viruses.
  • User interface: OS provides users with two interfaces to interact with the computer: a graphical user interface (GUI) and a command-line interface (CLI).
  • Networking: Many OSs include support for networking, allowing the computer to communicate and exchange data with other devices over a network, such as the internet or a local area network (LAN).
  • Device management: OS manages devices connected to the computer, such as printers, keyboards, and storage devices.
  • Power management: OS includes features to manage the computer's power usage and conserve energy when possible.
  • Software installation and updates: OS provides a mechanism for installing and updating software applications.

These are just a few examples of features commonly found in operating systems. The specific features of an operating system depend on the particular system and its intended use.

Objectives of Operating System

An operating system consists of unique programs that control the execution of software. The OS acts as an intermediary between applications and hardware components. OS has three main objectives. These are:

  • Convenience: Making the computer user-friendly, as seen in modern OS with intuitive graphical user interfaces.
  • Efficiency: It ensures efficient and easy utilization of system resources.
  • Ability to Develop: OSs are designed to facilitate the development, testing, and integration of new system functions without disrupting service.

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