What is an Operating System

What is an Operating System?

In this article, I will give you a brief introduction to the operating system. There are well-known operating systems that commonly people use on their laptops, PCs, and Mobile phones. ​​A mobile operating system is an operating system that helps to run other application software on mobile devices. It is the same kind of software as the famous computer operating systems like Linux and Windows, but now they are light and simple to some extent.

What is an Operating System?

An operating system is a software that acts as an interface between the user and the hardware components of the system. The Operating system helps the user to build communication with the computer. It utilizes the resources of the computer system and provides services to the user.

Common operating systems are:

  • Windows – Most commonly used operating system.
  • Linux – Mostly used by professionals.
  • Mac Osx – Used in apple products.
  • Android and ios – This is also an operating system that provides an interface for users to interact with the mobile device and perform various functions. For example, when you want to play a song in an app, you click on the app and then the song you want to play, internally everything is handled by the operating system. OS manages all the resources of the mobile device, its processor, RAM, storage, etc.

So, the Operating system is a master program that will utilize the resources of your computer and provide services to the user.

Components of an Operating System

Let’s, see the components of an operating system:

  1. CPU (For executing programs according to the operating system).
  2. I/O devices to communicate with the Operating system.
  3. Main memory to store programs (including programs for the operating system).

What is an Operating System

How Operating System Works?

When any computer system or mobile device starts or booted, the operating system is loaded into the system. The operating system is stored in the hard disk (here the operating system is present in the form of a windows.exe file which gets loaded in the system as soon as the system starts and further all processes are managed by the OS).

Further, if any task is needed to be performed, the Operating System loads that program into the main memory and starts its execution. Whenever a program wants to access any peripheral devices be it printer, scanner, etc. it cannot directly access the same. It has to get the work done by making requests to OS.

Whenever any program is required to get executed, it makes a request to the operating system through system calls or API application program interface.


Let’s consider the Librarian as an Operating System that holds the entire control over the library books and their functionalities. The Librarian manages several tasks such as issuing a book to someone, receiving the book back, accessing the request of students for issuing a particular book, checking for the book availability, till when the book can be kept by the students, etc. Similarly, OS manages all the resources of a computer system and provides access to the programs when requested.

Characteristics of Operating System:
  • Resource Manager – It manages all the resources of the system and allocates the required resources to users to perform a particular task.
  • Memory management – OS manages the primary memory and main memory. Main memory is directly accessed by the CPU and is fast. For a program to be executed, it should be first loaded t the main memory.
  • Processor Management – In a multiprogramming environment, OS decides the order in which the processes have access to the processor.
  • Controlling System performance – OS monitors the overall performance of the system.
  • Security – OS uses password protection to protect data.
Benefits of Operating system:
  1. User Friendly – The GUI provides a variety of icons, buttons, menus, and other graphical representations, all of which are simple to comprehend. As a result, consumers may simply engage with the system and communicate with it.
  2. Security – It is a responsibility of an operating system to make sure each data present inside them is secure. They do this by encrypting data bit to bit. And most of the operating systems come with a security program pre-installed. For example, Windows contains its own security feature known as Windows Defender that actively removes malware and other malicious files. For this purpose, users can use their own anti-malware software too.
  3. Sharing Resources – Operating systems also provide the opportunity to share resources with other users. Such resources include printers, fax machines, modems, and players.
  4. Hardware Accessibility – Graphical user interface allows users to access hardware functionality instantly in the operating system.
  5. Multitasking – Multitasking is another important feature of an operating system. Using the operating system, users can perform different tasks simultaneously. There is no need to close one window to open another.

In the next article, I am going to discuss Programming Paradigms or Methodologies in detail. Here, in this article, I try to explain What is Operating System and I hope you enjoy this Operating System article.

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