What is an Operating System? Its Types and Functions

What is an operating system?

An operating system is a group of special programs that conducts the activities of the computer and speeds up the activities of the computer by transferring it from one program to another. Operating System is called the soul of the computer.

An operating system is a system of software that controls the hardware and software of a computer, as well as a set of operating system programs that controls all functions of a computer system.

With the help of the computer operating system, it also monitors its own actions and the program jointly distributes the tasks of other application programs. It makes the instructions for the functions of all other programs understandable to the machine.

What is Operating System?

Apart from operating and controlling all the activities of the computer, it also transfers the data to be entered into the computer and the results to be output from one device to another.

Introduction of Operating System:

The operating system ensures whether the program entered for the process can complete its tasks in sequence or not and whether the resources available in the computer are available for this program or not. 

In those computers in which more than one user works simultaneously, the operating system checks the validity of all users and only those users can work on this computer who have been provided with a password from which they are considered valid. Without the operating system, no other program can work on the computer. 

Just as the blood in the human body is helpful in the operation of all the functions of the body, in the same way, the operating system is helpful in the operation of the computer.

That is, the operating system is the blood of the computer.

 An operating system is the system software that enables the computer to be used through a process called 'booting'.

Types of Operating Systems:

Operating systems are mainly of two types:

  1. Single-user operating system
  2. Multi-user operating system

Command-based operating systems such as DOS, UNIX, etc. were available at the beginning of computers but when the capacity of its hardware increased many folds then GUI-based operating systems started being prepared. 

Following are some of the famous operating systems:

  • MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system)
  • PC-DOS (personal computer disk operating system)
  • UNIX
  • WINDOWS 95,97,98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, etc.

The function of the Operating System:

All types of computers used whether it is a small size computer like a mobile phone (pocket pc) or a large size supercomputer all require an operating system to function.

An operating system is a program that tells the hardware how to communicate with the user and how to use the operating system hardware. A computer that can be used by more than one user requires a network operating system.

 Many users work together on this computer, so the operating system removes the conflict between the tasks and needs of all users. The functions of the operating system can be classified into the following forms:

i) Assignment of system response

The operating system is first loaded into the memory (RAM) as soon as the computer is turned on. Its work takes control of each device connected to it for all the activities of the computer and assigns them the work according to their capacity. It reads the instructions given by the user.

ii) Scheduling of resources and jobs

The operating system prepares the schedule of tasks to be given to the devices of the computer system. The operating system determines which task is to be processed first and which is to be processed later. 

If the process is done without scheduling, then the use of a device becomes complicated in the case of doing many tasks simultaneously in a system. 

By setting the scheduling for the tasks through the operating system, the order of completion of the tasks can be determined. The operating system executes the tasks of the user on the basis of the given priority. 

The effect of input/output asymmetry on the CPU's operating speed is managed by scheduling through the operating system.

iii) Monitoring Activities

The operating system monitors the activities of the computer system during the process. He cancels them when there is an error in a program. Similarly, the operating system also gives immediate messages to the user for input/output devices.

Provides security to the system by monitoring user actions. With this, the operating system protects the data of the system from unauthorized user access.

iv) Memory management

The operating system does memory management to increase the working speed of the computer. It manages how to store the data and information provided by various programs in memory. 

After the completion of a task, it deletes its data from memory and keeps the data related to the next task in memory and continues to do this work continuously.

V) Process Management

Whenever a program is executing, then that program is called Process. There are two types of processes. Processes of the operating system and processes of the user system. 

Operating system processes - Operating system processes execute system code, while user processes execute user code. CPU divides all these processes and executes them simultaneously.

Read Also - What is Buffering in os

In terms of process management, the operating system is responsible for creating and deleting user and system processes, suspending and resuming processes, providing for process communication, providing mechanisms for process synchronization, deadlock handling Providing mechanisms, etc.

Vi) File Management

File Management File management is the most visible component of the operating system. A file is a string of bytes. In other words, a file is a collection of related information, which is defined by its creator. 

Each file that is stored in the secondary storage device has some name by which it is specified. Each file is stored under a directory in the secondary storage device.

Each file has its own properties i.e. attributes. In the context of file management, the operating system is responsible for the following tasks- 

  • Creating and deleting files. 
  • Creating and deleting directories. 
  • Support manipulation of files and directories. 
  • Mapping files to secondary storage. 
  • Supporting backup of files.

Note - File management is written according to tiiciiitm website content.

Use of Operating System:

i) Operating system is used to solve problems in computing system. Which solves in a specified number of steps.

ii) Provides common functions to control and allocate a resource.

iii) Operating system works from the user in his language and from machine to machine language.

It receives commands from the user in the form of instructions and converts them into machine-understandable form and sends it to the CPU to execute, and converts the result obtained from it back into the user's understandable language.

iv) It manages all the resources of the computer or we can say that we can manage all the resources of the computer using the operating system.

v) Operating System (OS) manages all the software and hardware of the computer. 

vi) It performs basic functions such as file, memory, and process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

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