Difference Between Process and Program

Difference Between Process and Program

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Vikram
Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Aug 31, 2023 10:29 IST

Are you someone who gets confused with the terms “Program” and “Process” in an operating system? Then this article is for you. This article will discuss the differences between programs and processes in an operating system. Later the article will also discuss the feature, advantages, and disadvantages of Programs and Processes in Operating Systems.

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In an Operating system, Program and Process are two different terms that can’t be used interchangeably. Think of a program as a set of instructions written in a computer file. In contrast, the process is what happens when these instructions are followed or run by the computer.
This article will discuss the difference between process and program in operating systems.
So, let’s get started.

Table of Content

What is the Difference Between a Process and a Program in an Operating System?

Program Process
Definition Programs in OS are a static sequence of instructions stored in a file. The process is an active instance of a program in execution.
Storage Stored in Disk. Reside in main memory during execution.
Execution It can’t execute by itself. Executed by the system.
Resource Allocation Doesn’t have any resources. Has resources like memory and CPU .
Instance Single instance on disk. Multiple instances can run concurrently.
Dependency It can exist without a process. It can’t exist without a program.
Entity Type Passive Entity Active Entity
Interaction Doesn’t interact with other programming languages. It can communicate with other programming languages with inter-process communication.
Lifecycle If not modified, it remains for a lifetime. It follows the steps such as ready, running, and terminated.

What is a Program in Operating Systems?

A program is a collection of instructions a computer can execute to perform a specific task. It is a static entity, typically written in a high-level programming language, which is then compiled or interpreted into machine code for execution.
A program remains passive on the storage disk until it is invoked by the user or another program, at this point, it becomes an active process in the system.

Features of Program

  • A program is a static entity, i.e., it doesn’t perform by itself until not executed.
  • It is stored in disks that are ready for execution.
  • When compiled, programs become executable files with extensions .exe, .out, and .app.
  • A program has no resources allocated until it’s executed as a process.
  • It can be executed by multiple users’ multiple times without re-writing.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
Automation Complexity
Consistency Maintenance
Multitasking Resource Consumption
Flexibility Security Risks
Cost-Efficiency Dependency on Hardware an OS

What is Process in Operating System?

A process is an instance of a program in execution. It’s not just the program code but also the current activity represented by the value of the program counter and the contents of the processor’s registers.
In simple words Proces is a program in action. When a program is executed, the system creates a new process to run the program.

Features of Process

  • Unlike a program, a process is dynamic, i.e., it can be created and deleted over time.
  • A process can be in various states, such as new, ready, running, waiting, or terminated.
  • The process is represented by PCB (Process Control Block), which contains the information on the process state.
  • Multiple processes can be executed concurrently.
  • It allows multitasking by saving the current execution process, which can be resumed later.
  • Each process is isolated from others by operating in its memory space to prevent unwanted interference.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
Multitasking Overhead
Resource Sharing Complexity
Modularity Deadlocks
Isolation and Security Security Concerns
Efficiency Resource Starvation

Key Differences Between Process and Program in Operating Systems

  • Programs in OS are a static sequence of instructions stored in a file, whereas the Process is an active instance of a program in execution.
  • A program is stored in a disk, while a process resides in the main memory during execution.
  • The Program doesn’t have any resources to allocate. In contrast, the Process has resources like memory and CPU
  • The Process is an active entity, whereas the Program is a passive entity.
  • Program doesn’t interact with other programming languages, whereas a process can communicate with other programming languages with inter-process communication.

Conclusion

Programs in OS are a static sequence of instructions stored in a file. In contrast, Process is an active instance of a program in execution. In this article we have discussed the differences between programs and processes in an operating system. Later the article also discusses the feature, advantages, and disadvantages of Programs and Processes in Operating Systems.

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FAQs

What is a Program in Operating Systems?

A program is a collection of instructions a computer can execute to perform a specific task. It is a static entity, typically written in a high-level programming language, which is then compiled or interpreted into machine code for execution.

What is a Process in Operating System?

A process is an instance of a program in execution. It's not just the program code but also the current activity represented by the value of the program counter and the contents of the processor's registers.

What are different features of Program in an Operating System?

1. A program is a static entity, i.e., it doesn't perform by itself until not executed. 2. It is stored in disks that are ready for execution. 3. When compiled, programs become executable files with extensions .exe, .out, and .app. 4. A program has no resources allocated until it's executed as a process. 5. It can be executed by multiple users' multiple times without re-writing.

What are different features of Process in an Operating System?

1. Unlike a program, a process is dynamic, i.e., it can be created and deleted over time. 2. A process can be in various states, such as new, ready, running, waiting, or terminated. 3. The process is represented by PCB (Process Control Block), which contains the information on the process state. 4. Multiple processes can be executed concurrently. It allows multitasking by saving the current execution process, which can be resumed later. 5. Each process is isolated from others by operating in its memory space to prevent unwanted interference.

What is the difference between process and program in an Operating System.

1. Programs in OS are a static sequence of instructions stored in a file, whereas the Process is an active instance of a program in execution. 2.A program is stored in a disk, while a process resides in the main memory during execution. 3. The Program doesn't have any resources to allocate. In contrast, the Process has resources like memory and CPU. 4. The Process is an active entity, whereas the Program is a passive entity. 5. Program doesn't interact with other programming languages, whereas a process can communicate with other programming languages with inter-process communication.

About the Author
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Vikram Singh
Assistant Manager - Content

Vikram has a Postgraduate degree in Applied Mathematics, with a keen interest in Data Science and Machine Learning. He has experience of 2+ years in content creation in Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science, and Mac... Read Full Bio