What is Operating System?

Operating System

Operating system is the system software, provides an interface between user and hardware. It provides a friendly environment for the users so the users can work on the computer without too much thinking.

It is a system that operates the whole computer system. It controls computer hardware devices and provides a user interface so the users can work on the computer.

It helps users to access the hardware devices includes CPU, I/O devices, RAM, secondary memory, etc.

Operating System interface image

If we see in this diagram, There are many hardware devices like- CPU, I/O devices (keyboard mouse, printer, scanner, etc.), RAM (main memory), hard drives (secondary memory). So it is a lot of hardware devices and users access all these hardware to do their work, but users do not directly access all these hardware. Users access all these hardware through the operating system. So here, the operating system is working as an interface.

If we don’t have an operating system

End-users do not access the hardware devices directly, they access the hardware through the operating system, so OS works as an interface between user and hardware. If we want to access hardware devices directly without an operating system than we have to write code every time to access a particular hardware device and it’s not very easy for a basic user.

For example- Let’s say I have a word file and I want to print that file. But if I don’t have any user interface, then I can’t directly go to print option and print the file. In that situation, I will have to first write a program to invoke the printer so that the printer will print the file.

Let’s say another example- If there’s a process, if I wish to execute a job. The execution of the job comes later. The first task would be to provide the CPU with an instruction. How will we provide the CPU with that instruction? We will have to write programs exclusively for that. Due to this reason, the interaction (communication) between the users and the hardware would turn way too complex.

So the operating system comes in the market, which provides us a user-friendly interface, so we can easily access all the hardware resources without any technical knowledge.

Also Read: Functions of Operating System

Operating system manage hardware devices, includes

  • Input devices: mouse, keyboard, microphone, etc.
  • Output devices: printer, scanner, monitor, headphone, etc.
  • Network devices: routers, modems, switches, network connections, etc.
  • Storage devices: hard disk, pen drives, etc.
  • CPU
  • RAM


Operating System as a resources manager

All the hardware resources (like CPU, ram, motherboard, hard drives, etc.) together create a computer system and operating system manage all these resources and provide a working environment to the users.

Operating system does not only provide a working environment, but it also manages all the files, memory, and process of the computer. It is also responsible for the security of the system.

You can read this article: What is software? Why we need software?

Basic functions of the operating system

  • File Management
  • Device Management
  • Memory Management
  • Process Management
  • Provides Security
  • Coordination between other software and users
  • Error detecting aids
  • Control over system performance
  • To handle deadlock conditions


Most Popular Operating System (2009-2021)

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