Operating System - Overview (2023)

Operating System - Overview (1)

  • Operating System Tutorial
  • OS - Home
  • OS - Overview
  • OS - Components
  • OS - Types
  • OS - Services
  • OS - Properties
  • OS - Processes
  • OS - Process Scheduling
  • OS - Scheduling algorithms
  • OS - Multi-threading
  • OS - Memory Management
  • OS - Virtual Memory
  • OS - I/O Hardware
  • OS - I/O Software
  • OS - File System
  • OS - Security
  • OS - Linux
  • OS - Exams Questions with Answers
  • OS - Exams Questions with Answers
  • Operating System Useful Resources
  • OS - Quick Guide
  • OS - Useful Resources
  • OS - Discussion
  • Selected Reading
  • UPSC IAS Exams Notes
  • Developer's Best Practices
  • Questions and Answers
  • Effective Resume Writing
  • HR Interview Questions
  • Computer Glossary
  • Who is Who


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Operating System

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(Video) Operating Systems: Crash Course Computer Science #18

An Operating System (OS) is an interface between a computer user and computer hardware. An operating system is a software which performs all the basic tasks like file management, memory management, process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

An operating system is software that enables applications to interact with a computer's hardware. The software that contains the core components of the operating system is called the kernel.

The primary purposes of an Operating System are to enable applications (spftwares) to interact with a computer's hardware and to manage a system's hardware and software resources.

Some popular Operating Systems include Linux Operating System, Windows Operating System, VMS, OS/400, AIX, z/OS, etc. Today, Operating systems is found almost in every device like mobile phones, personal computers, mainframe computers, automobiles, TV, Toys etc.


We can have a number of definitions of an Operating System. Let's go through few of them:

An Operting System is the low-level software that supports a computer's basic functions, such as scheduling tasks and controlling peripherals.

We can refine this definition as follows:

An operating system is a program that acts as an interface between the user and the computer hardware and controls the execution of all kinds of programs.

Following is another definition taken from Wikipedia:

An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services for computer programs.


We can draw a generic architecture diagram of an Operating System which is as follows:

Operating System - Overview (6)

Operating System Generations

Operating systems have been evolving over the years. We can categorise this evaluation based on different generations which is briefed below:

0th Generation

The term 0th generation is used to refer to the period of development of computing when Charles Babbage invented the Analytical Engine and later John Atanasoff created a computer in 1940. The hardware component technology of this period was electronic vacuum tubes. There was no Operating System available for this generation computer and computer programs were written in machine language. This computers in this generation were inefficient and dependent on the varying competencies of the individual programmer as operators.

First Generation (1951-1956)

The first generation marked the beginning of commercial computing including the introduction of Eckert and Mauchly’s UNIVAC I in early 1951, and a bit later, the IBM 701.

System operation was performed with the help of expert operators and without the benefit of an operating system for a time though programs began to be written in higher level, procedure-oriented languages, and thus the operator’s routine expanded. Later mono-programmed operating system was developed, which eliminated some of the human intervention in running job and provided programmers with a number of desirable functions. These systems still continued to operate under the control of a human operator who used to follow a number of steps to execute a program. Programming language like FORTRAN was developed by John W. Backus in 1956.

Second Generation (1956-1964)

The second generation of computer hardware was most notably characterised by transistors replacing vacuum tubes as the hardware component technology. The first operating system GMOS was developed by the IBM computer. GMOS was based on single stream batch processing system, because it collects all similar jobs in groups or batches and then submits the jobs to the operating system using a punch card to complete all jobs in a machine. Operating system is cleaned after completing one job and then continues to read and initiates the next job in punch card.

(Video) How Do Operating Systems Work?

Researchers began to experiment with multiprogramming and multiprocessing in their computing services called the time-sharing system. A noteworthy example is the Compatible Time Sharing System (CTSS), developed at MIT during the early 1960s.

Third Generation (1964-1979)

The third generation officially began in April 1964 with IBM’s announcement of its System/360 family of computers. Hardware technology began to use integrated circuits (ICs) which yielded significant advantages in both speed and economy.

Operating system development continued with the introduction and widespread adoption of multiprogramming. The idea of taking fuller advantage of the computer’s data channel I/O capabilities continued to develop.

Another progress which leads to developing of personal computers in fourth generation is a new development of minicomputers with DEC PDP-1. The third generation was an exciting time, indeed, for the development of both computer hardware and the accompanying operating system.

Fourth Generation (1979 – Present)

The fourth generation is characterised by the appearance of the personal computer and the workstation. The component technology of the third generation, was replaced by very large scale integration (VLSI). Many Operating Systems which we are using today like Windows, Linux, MacOS etc developed in the fourth generation.

Following are some of important functions of an operating System.

  • Memory Management
  • Processor Management
  • Device Management
  • File Management
  • Network Management
  • Security
  • Control over system performance
  • Job accounting
  • Error detecting aids
  • Coordination between other software and users

Memory Management

Memory management refers to management of Primary Memory or Main Memory. Main memory is a large array of words or bytes where each word or byte has its own address.

Main memory provides a fast storage that can be accessed directly by the CPU. For a program to be executed, it must in the main memory. An Operating System does the following activities for memory management −

  • Keeps tracks of primary memory, i.e., what part of it are in use by whom, what part are not in use.

  • In multiprogramming, the OS decides which process will get memory when and how much.

  • Allocates the memory when a process requests it to do so.

  • De-allocates the memory when a process no longer needs it or has been terminated.

Processor Management

In multiprogramming environment, the OS decides which process gets the processor when and for how much time. This function is called process scheduling. An Operating System does the following activities for processor management −

  • Keeps tracks of processor and status of process. The program responsible for this task is known as traffic controller.

  • Allocates the processor (CPU) to a process.

  • De-allocates processor when a process is no longer required.

Device Management

An Operating System manages device communication via their respective drivers. It does the following activities for device management −

  • Keeps tracks of all devices. Program responsible for this task is known as the I/O controller.

  • Decides which process gets the device when and for how much time.

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  • Allocates the device in the efficient way.

  • De-allocates devices.

File Management

A file system is normally organized into directories for easy navigation and usage. These directories may contain files and other directions.

An Operating System does the following activities for file management −

  • Keeps track of information, location, uses, status etc. The collective facilities are often known as file system.

  • Decides who gets the resources.

  • Allocates the resources.

  • De-allocates the resources.

Other Important Activities

Following are some of the important activities that an Operating System performs −

  • Security − By means of password and similar other techniques, it prevents unauthorized access to programs and data.

  • Control over system performance − Recording delays between request for a service and response from the system.

  • Job accounting − Keeping track of time and resources used by various jobs and users.

  • Error detecting aids − Production of dumps, traces, error messages, and other debugging and error detecting aids.

  • Coordination between other softwares and users − Coordination and assignment of compilers, interpreters, assemblers and other software to the various users of the computer systems.

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(Video) Operating System Overview


What is overview in operating system? ›

An Operating System (OS) is an interface between a computer user and computer hardware. An operating system is a software which performs all the basic tasks like file management, memory management, process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

What is operating system with answers? ›

An operating system (OS) is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all of the other application programs in a computer. The application programs make use of the operating system by making requests for services through a defined application program interface (API).

What are the 5 important key concepts in OS? ›

To understand clearly about an operating system, user need to know the five fundamental concepts of the operating system, which are the five tasks that an operating system can and will do. The five tasks are Main Memory Management, Processor Management, Device Management, File Management, and User Interface.

What should a system overview include? ›

Describe the system's mission, the system boundaries, and the overall system architecture, including the main subsystems and their relationships. This de- scription should provide a high-level overview of the system, e.g., suitable for managers, that complements the more technical description that follows.

What is the overview of Windows operating system? ›

Windows is an operating system designed by Microsoft. The operating system is what allows you to use a computer. Windows comes preloaded on most new personal computers (PCs), which helps to make it the most popular operating system in the world.

How can I pass operating system exam? ›

Understand the basics of operating system. Score good marks in competitive exams like GATE.
The syllabus can be broken down into five components which can be further broken down into smaller components:
  1. Overview of operating system.
  2. Process management.
  3. Process coordination.
  4. Memory management.
  5. Storage management.
Mar 26, 2020

What is the main purpose of an operating system? ›

The operating system (OS) manages all of the software and hardware on the computer. It performs basic tasks such as file, memory and process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

What are the 4 types of operating system? ›

Types of Operating System
  • Batch OS.
  • Distributed OS.
  • Multitasking OS.
  • Network OS.
  • Real-OS.
  • Mobile OS.

What is OS give an example short answer? ›

Operating System is defined as a collection of programs that coordinates the operations of computer hardware and software. It acts as a bridge for the interface between man and machine. Examples of Operating System are: Windows Linux BOSS etc.

What are the 3 types of operating systems? ›

The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux.

What are the 5 operating system? ›

What are the most common operating systems?
  • Microsoft Windows. Microsoft Windows first launched in 1993. ...
  • Mac OS. Despite being known as the main Windows alternative, macOS predates Windows. ...
  • Android OS. Android is a mobile operating system based on Linux and other open-source software. ...
  • Linux. ...
  • Ubuntu. ...
  • Chrome OS. ...
  • Fedora.
Jul 1, 2022

What are the six 6 major functions of an operating system? ›

The operating system's tasks, in the most general sense, fall into six categories:
  • Processor management.
  • Memory management.
  • Device management.
  • Storage management.
  • Application Interface.
  • User Interface.

What are the 3 basic components of an operating system? ›

An operating system consists of the following components: Management of processes. File Administration. Network Management.

What is the most important part of an OS? ›

Functions of operating system
  • Provide a user interface.
  • Resource Management − An OS manages a computer's resources like memory, processes involved, etc very efficiently.
  • Handles I/O operations.
  • Security − Operating system protects the data and resources of computer.
  • Helps in coordination between software and users.
Nov 25, 2021

What is overview format? ›

Introduction. Gives a short description of the corpus or metadata standard. References. Lists all the references which are used as an information source for the contents of the overview.

What is a system overview document? ›

Overview. The System Design Document describes the system requirements, operating environment, system and subsystem architecture, files and database design, input formats, output layouts, human-machine interfaces, detailed design, processing logic, and external interfaces.

What is a system overview diagram? ›

What Is System Diagram? A system diagram is a simple and very high level description of a system that exists or needs to be built. It is a simple diagram that can be drawn collaboratively in little time. It can help a team get a clear, complete, and common understanding of a system.

What is operating system step by step? ›

Operating System Installation Tasks
  • Set up the display environment. ...
  • Erase the primary boot disk. ...
  • Set up the BIOS. ...
  • Install the operating system. ...
  • Configure your server for RAID. ...
  • Install the operating system, update the drivers, and run operating system updates, as necessary.

How many types of operating systems are there? ›

There are five main types of operating systems. These five OS types are likely what run your phone, computer, or other mobile devices like a tablet.

What is operating system and its types? ›

An operating system is a set of programs that enables a user to operate and interact with a computer. Examples of operating systems are Linux distributions, windows, mac os, FreeBSD, etc. There are many types of operating systems.

Why is operating system class so hard? ›

Coding the programs for these parts of the operating system requires high knowledge of system programming and architecture and is not an easier task for a single or naive programmer that's why it is hard to build an operating system.

Is operating system a difficult course? ›

It's a difficult class, for sure, but consider momentarily suspending anything you've previously heard about the course. Not taking OS isn't going to ruin your software engineering career, but taking it could change you in astounding ways.

How many days does it take to learn OS? ›

How Long Does it Take to Learn Operating Systems? It will take you two to three months to learn the principles behind modern operating systems. You can expect to spend even longer learning about operating systems if you want to build your own, or write complicated scripts with an existing system.

What is the most important objective of an operating system? ›

To provide users a convenient interface to use the computer system. To act as an intermediary between the hardware and its users, making it easier for the users to access and use other resources.

What are three main purposes of OS? ›

An operating system has three main functions: (1) manage the computer's resources, such as the central processing unit, memory, disk drives, and printers, (2) establish a user interface, and (3) execute and provide services for applications software.

Why is it important to know your operating system? ›

The most essential parts of an OS are the file system, scheduler, and device driver. Knowing the fundamentals of your operating system will help you determine the overall health of your computer. It will also help you troubleshoot items when things aren't running well.

What are the 5 most popular operating systems? ›

As of November 2022, Android, an operating system using the Linux kernel, is the world's most-used operating system when judged by web use. It has 42% of the global market, followed by Windows with 30%, Apple iOS with 18%, macOS with 6%, then (desktop) Linux at 1.0% also using the Linux kernel.

What are the 7 types of operating system? ›

Given below are the different types of Operating System along with brief information about each of them:
  • Batch Operating System. ...
  • Real-Time Operating System. ...
  • Time-Sharing Operating System. ...
  • Distributed Operating System. ...
  • Embedded Operating System. ...
  • Network Operating System. ...
  • Mobile Operating System.

What are the basic types of OS? ›

Types of operating systems
  • Batch OS. The batch operating system does not have a direct link with the computer. ...
  • Time-sharing or multitasking OS. ...
  • Distributed OS. ...
  • Network OS. ...
  • Real-time OS. ...
  • Mobile OS.
Jun 22, 2021

What is an operating system and give 3 examples? ›

A Operating System (OS) is a program or set of programs of a computer system, which manages physical resources (hardware), the execution protocols of the rest of the content (software), as well as the user interface. For instance: Ubuntu, MacOS, Windows, Haiku.

What is my operating system? ›

Android Devices

Go to the home screen of your device. Touch "Settings," then touch "About Phone" or "About Device." From there, you can find the Android version of your device.

What are the 11 functions of the operating system? ›

Functions of Operating Systems
  • Security. ...
  • Control over system performance. ...
  • Job Accounting. ...
  • Error detecting aids. ...
  • Coordination between other software and users. ...
  • Memory Management. ...
  • Processor Management. ...
  • Device Management.
Nov 25, 2021

Which are the 6 basic OS services? ›

Operating System Services
  • Program Execution.
  • Control Input/Output Devices.
  • Program Creation.
  • Error Detection and Response.
  • Accounting.
  • Security and Protection.
  • File Management.
  • Communication.

What are the eight 8 roles of an operating system? ›

Allows disk access and file systems Device drivers Networking Security. Program Execution. Memory management Virtual Memory Multitasking. Handling I/O operations.

What are 10 operating systems? ›

10 (ten) is the even natural number following 9 and preceding 11. Ten is the base of the decimal numeral system, by far the most common system of denoting numbers in both spoken and written language. It is the first double-digit number.

What is the overview of computer? ›

A computer is an electronic device, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory that can accept data (input), process the data according to specified rules, produce information (output), and store the information for future use1. Any kind of computers consists of HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE.

What is computer network overview? ›

Computer networking refers to interconnected computing devices that can exchange data and share resources with each other. These networked devices use a system of rules, called communications protocols, to transmit information over physical or wireless technologies.

What is an overview of the operating system Chrome OS? ›

Google Chrome OS is an open source lightweight operating system (OS). It uses one-sixtieth as much hard drive space as Windows 7 and is intended for netbooks or tablet PCs that access Web-based applications and stored data from remote servers. The Chrome OS is so lean that boot time is about seven seconds.

What are the main basics of computer? ›

The five basic operations that a computer performs are input, storage, processing, output and control.

What is the most widely used operating system for personal computers? ›

Microsoft's Windows is the most widely used computer operating system in the world, accounting for 70.68 percent share of the desktop, tablet, and console OS market in August 2022.

What are the 3 main types of networks explain? ›

LAN(Local Area Network) is generally used to connect devices of a limited area such as a building, home, office, etc. MAN(Metropolitan Area Network) is used to connect the devices among the city, a town or any other small area. WAN(Wide Area Network) is a type of network that covers a large geographical area.

What is basic networking? ›

-Consists of connecting several computer networks based on different protocols -Requires the definition of a common interconnection protocol on top the local protocols. -The Internet Protocol (IP) plays this role, by defining unique addresses for a network and a host machine.

What are examples of operating system? ›

Some examples of operating systems include Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, Google's Android OS, Linux Operating System, and Apple iOS. Apple macOS is found on Apple personal computers such as the Apple Macbook, Apple Macbook Pro and Apple Macbook Air.

What operating system do I have? ›

Go to the home screen of your device. Touch "Settings," then touch "About Phone" or "About Device." From there, you can find the Android version of your device.

Is Microsoft Word an operating system? ›

Microsoft Word is a word processing software developed by Microsoft.
Microsoft Word.
Microsoft Office 2019 version of Microsoft Word
Operating systemWindows 10 and later, Windows Server 2016 and later Office 365 only Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later
PlatformIA-32, x64, ARM, ARM64
TypeWord processor
9 more rows

What are the 3 main operating systems? ›

There are many operating systems that are available however the three most common operating systems are Microsoft's Windows, Apple's macOS and Linux.

What are 2 most common operating systems? ›

The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux.

What are the 5 main functions of an operating system? ›

What are the Functions of Operating Systems?
  • Security. ...
  • Control over System Performance. ...
  • Job Accounting. ...
  • Error Detecting Aids. ...
  • Coordination between Users and Other Software. ...
  • Memory Management. ...
  • Process Management. ...
  • Device Management.


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