Explain the Purpose of an Operating System

1124 words 5 pages
Explain the purpose of an operating system

Process Management
A multitasking operating system may give the appearance that a lot of processes are running concurrently/simultaneously, this is not true as only one process can be executing at any one time on a single-core CPU, unless on a multi-core or similar technology. Processes are often called tasks in embedded operating systems. The function of the task or process is something that takes up time, as opposed to memory, which is 'something that takes up space or capacity
For security and reliability reasons most modern operating systems prevent direct communication between independent processes, providing strictly mediated and controlled inter-process communication functionality.
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Every computer used day to day use will need an operating system to operate other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, and sending output to the screen, keeping track of files on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers. All if not most of the OS’s use TCP/IP networking protocols this mean they can network to other computers and use printers or scanners and other peripherals.

For large systems, the operating system has even greater responsibilities and powers. It makes sure that different program are able to run with each other and don’t interfere. The operating system is also responsible for security, making sure that the computer and the files are protected from unauthorised users.

Newer file systems use a very simple yet can be very large. The files are distributed into directories, like a hierarchy, a folder in folder. FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, ExFAT and ZFS are all file systems.

Operating systems can be classified as follows:
-multi-user: Allows two or more users to run programs at the same time. Some operating systems allow hundreds or even thousands of users.
-multiprocessing: Supports running a program on more than one CPU.
-multitasking: Allows more than one program to run at the same time.
-multithreading: Allows different parts of a single program to run at the same time.
-real time: Responds to input instantly. General-purpose operating


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