An Operating System supplies different kinds of services to both the users and to the programs as well. It also provides application programs (that run within an Operating system) an environment to execute it freely. It provides users the services run various programs in a convenient manner.

Here is a list of common services offered by an almost all operating systems:

  • User Interface
  • Program Execution
  • File system manipulation
  • Input / Output Operations
  • Communication
  • Resource Allocation
  • Error Detection
  • Accounting
  • Security and protection

This chapter will give a brief description of what services an operating system usually provide to users and those programs that are and will be running within it.

User Interface of Operating System

Usually Operating system comes in three forms or types. Depending on the interface their types have been further subdivided. These are:

  • Command line interface
  • Batch based interface
  • Graphical User Interface

Let's get to know in brief about each of them.

The command line interface (CLI) usually deals with using text commands and a technique for entering those commands. The batch interface (BI): commands and directives are used to manage those commands that are entered into files and those files get executed. Another type is the graphical user interface (GUI): which is a window system with a pointing device (like mouse or trackball) to point to the I/O, choose from menus driven interface and to make choices viewing from a number of lists and a keyboard to entry the texts.

Program Execution in Operating System

The operating system must have the capability to load a program into memory and execute that program. Furthermore, the program must be able to end its execution, either normally or abnormally / forcefully.

File System Manipulation in Operating System

Programs need has to be read and then write them as files and directories. File handling portion of operating system also allows users to create and delete files by specific name along with extension, search for a given file and / or list file information. Some programs comprise of permissions management for allowing or denying access to files or directories based on file ownership.

I/O operations in Operating System

A program which is currently executing may require I/O, which may involve file or other I/O device. For efficiency and protection, users cannot directly govern the I/O devices. So, the OS provide a means to do I/O Input / Output operation which means read or write operation with any file.

Communication System of Operating System

Process needs to swap over information with other process. Processes executing on same computer system or on different computer systems can communicate using operating system support. Communication between two processes can be done using shared memory or via message passing.

Resource Allocation of Operating System

When multiple jobs running concurrently,  resources must need to be allocated to each of them. Resources can be CPU cycles, main memory storage, file storage and I/O devices. CPU scheduling routines are used here to establish how best the CPU can be used.

Error Detection

Errors may occur within CPU, memory hardware, I/O devices and in the user program. For each type of error, the OS takes adequate action for ensuring correct and consistent computing.


This service of the operating system keeps track of which users are using how much and what kinds of computer resources have been used for accounting or simply to accumulate usage statistics.

Protection and Security

Protection includes in ensuring all access to system resources in a controlled manner. For making a system secure, the user needs to authenticate him or her to the system before using (usually via login ID and password).

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