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Types and Functions of Computer Operating Systems


Date Posted: 11/19/2017 12:17:29 PM

Posted By: snipper  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 1572

Functions of Computer Operating Systems

An operating system is a software component part of every computer. Acts as an interface for application software and hardware.
The operating system interfaces software and hardware part by use of drivers. A device driver is a computer program that operates or controls a particular type of device that is attached to the computer. Therefore in order to use a particular hardware device connected to a computer like a printer you have to install the device driver attached.
An operating system has many functionalities but basically, it acts as an interface between your computer and its hardware. Some hardware components include a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, among others.
There is an important program residing in an operating system, this is the program that manages the operating system in the computer, it’s called a supervisor program, supervisor program which remains in memory and is referred to as a resident. Supervisor program is important in the sense that it controls the whole/entire operating system and also loads into memory other operating system programs basically called nonresident from disk storage only when needed.

The following are different types of operating systems for further understanding

1. Single-user, single task – This is a system in which only one user can access the computer system at a time, designed to manage the computer so that one user can effectively do one thing at a time. This operating system is found in personal computers.
Single-user, multi-tasking - This is the type of operating system that supports multiple programs to run concurrently mostly used on their desktop and laptop computers today. Example UNIX operating system

2. Multi-user – This is an operating system that allows use by more than one users or multiple users of the same computer at the same time. A multi-user operating system allows

many different users to take advantage of the computer's resources simultaneously

3. Real-time operating system –usually abbreviated RTOS, is an operating system that guarantees a certain capability within a specified time constraint and it’s designed to handle events. Basically, these systems are used to control machinery, scientific instruments and industrial systems like robots.

4. Distributed – This is an operating system that runs on several machines whose purpose is to provide a useful set of services, a group of independent computers are made to appear to be a single computer.

5. Embedded – This includes a specially designed computer system that basically contains software and hardware for performing specific tasks. Embedded operating systems are designed to be used in embedded computer systems.
Examples include Mobile Phones, Laptops, Cameras, Washing Machines, ATMs (automated teller machines)

The following are functions of operating systems

1. Hardware management
Operating systems control all attached devices, controlling their operations and interactions. Examples of such hardware’s include a hard disk, optical drives, video cards and external port controllers, such as universal serial bus abbreviated USB among others.

2. Provide environment for application software to function
Application software is a program or group of programs designed for end users.
An operating system provides an environment for software applications to function as designed and intended. An application software is a specific software which is used to perform a specific task.
Application software’s are designed to run with a particular operating system in order to function, operating system needs to display any interfaces and facilitate communications among the programs and your computer's connected hardware

3. Provide structure for data management
An operating system displays structure/directories for data management. We can view file and folder listings and manipulate on those files and folders like (move, copy, rename, delete, and many others).
The operating system is also in charge of accessing, storing and retrieving data on the computer's hard drive. Stored data is managed temporarily in the computers read-only memory RAM. Some data stored and retrieved include document files, picture data, videos, and music.

4. Monitor system health and functionality
Operating system monitors the health of our system’s hardware, giving us an idea of how well (or not) it’s performing. We can see how busy our CPU is, or how quickly our hard drives retrieve data, or how much data our network card is sending, monitors system activity for malware among others.
The operating system manages computer's resources, by allocating them as needed. Which tasks the central processing unit (CPU) and in what order, which functions or applications are assigned processing power among others.

5. Network Communication
The operating system function to facilitate network communication through the enabling of the connected network devices to communicate with the computer and with any programs that require them. Examples, Network cards, such as Ethernet ports and wireless local area network (LAN) cards, enable connection to networks but they also require an operating system to interface them.

6. Loading and Execution
Operating systems provide facility to loads program in the memory and then execute them appropriately.

7. Data security
Data security define the protection of computer system resources such as central processing unit(CPU), memory, disk, software programs and most importantly data/information stored in the computer system
Operating system protects the data stored on the computer from illegal use, modification or deletion through different mechanisms. Such mechanisms include authentication, system threats among others.

8. Process management
Central processing unit (CPU) can perform one task at one time. If there are many tasks, operating system decides which task should get the central processing unit (CPU) for execution.

9. Providing interface
User interface controls how you input data and instruction and how information is displayed on a monitor. The following are the operating systems interfaces
Graphical-line interface: This is an interface that works at the point of contact between a computer and its user, and which employs graphic
Command-line interface: is a user interface to a computer's operating system or an application in which the user responds to a visual prompt by typing in a command on a specified line which is related to an intended course of action.

Today there are many computers of operating systems designed to meet user needs, some are more popular than others due to the fact that they meet certain requirements which include fast execution, require less memory requirement among other.

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