An operating system (OS) is software that manages computer software and hardware resources. In other words, the basic set of tools and applications allow your device to run. Different operating systems can provide different play stores for apps. For example, Windows users can access the Microsoft Store to download and install apps, while macOS users can access the App Store to download apps. So, different operating systems have different app stores and could have different applications in them, too. This article will describe the functions of an operating system. We will cover an operating system and its functions.
The operating system (OS) is a crucial component of the computing environment, serving as an intermediary between users and the computer hardware. Let' see the functions of the operating system in detail below!
Table of Content
- What is an Operating System?
- Functions of Operating System
What is an Operating System?
An Operating System is an interface between hardware and software.
An operating system is software that runs/manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. Different applications/software are installed on operating systems.
In other words, it’s the backbone of your computer. It’s responsible for your computer’s essential functions, such as starting up, shutting down, and managing your files. It also provides an interface between you and the computer.
An operating system can be installed on various hardware platforms, from desktop computers to mobile devices. The most popular desktop operating system is Microsoft Windows, while the most popular mobile operating system is Apple iOS.
What are the Functions of Operating System?
1. File Management
An operating system’s (OS) primary function is to manage files and folders.
Operating systems are responsible for managing the files on a computer. This includes creating, opening, closing, and deleting files. The operating system is also responsible for organizing the files on the disk.
Think of your computer as a project manager. A project manager manages the whole team,checks the working of all the team members,provide resourses,facilitate things for teams members in the same way operating system will be responsible for checking ongoing processes,providing resources when required and ensuring that everything is in order. This could also include managing which files and folders are stored on the computer and who has access to them.
The OS also handles file permissions, which dictate what actions a user can take on a particular file or folder. For example, you may have the ability to read a file but not edit or delete it. This prevents unauthorized users from accessing or tampering with your files.
Tasks of Operating System
- Keeps track of location and status of files.
- Allocating and deallocating resources.
- Decides which resource to be assigned to which file.
Besides this OS helps in:
- Creating a file: The operating system provides a graphical user interface or command-line interface that allows users to create new files. In a graphical user interface-
- You can right-click on a folder or desktop and select “New”
- Choose the type of file you want to create, such as a text file or a Microsoft Word document. Alternatively, you can use a command-line interface and type commands to create files.
- Editing a file: Once a file has been created, you can use various tools like word processor and applications to edit it provided by operating system.
- Updating a file: The operating system provides the facility to edit the file and also tracks changes made to the file and updates the file metadata accordingly.
- Deleting a file: The operating system provides the facility to delete the file that you no longer need. OS moves the file to the recycle bin or trash folder, where it can be restored if necessary, or permanently deletes the file from the storage device.
2. Device Management
Operating systems provide essential functions for managing devices connected to a computer. These functions include allocating memory, processing input and output requests, and managing storage devices. This device could be a keyboard, mouse, printer, or any other devices you may have connected.
An operating system will provide you with options to manage how each device behaves. For example, you can set up your keyboard to type in a specific language or make it so that the mouse only moves one screen at a time.
You can also use an operating system to install software and updates for your devices and manage their security settings.
The operating system does the following tasks:
- Allocating and deallocating devices to different processes.
- Keeps records of all the devices attached to the computer.
- Decides which device to be allocated to which process and for how much time.
3. Process Management
The operating system’s responsibility is to manage the processes running on your computer. This includes starting and stopping programs, allocating resources, and managing memory usage. The operating system ensures that the programs running on your computer should be compatible. It’s also responsible for enforcing program security, which helps to keep your computer safe from potential attacks.
How do Operating systems manage all processes?
Each process is given a certain amount of time to execute, called a quantum. Once a process has used its quantum, the operating system interrupts it and provides another process with a turn. This ensures that each process gets a fair share of the CPU time.
The operating system manages processes by doing the following task:
- Allocating and deallocating the resources.
- Allocates resources such that the system doesn’t run out of resources.
- Offering mechanisms for process synchronization.
- Helps in process communication(inter communication).
4. Memory Management
One of the most critical functions of an operating system is memory management. This is the process of keeping track of all different applications and processes running on your computer and all the data they’re using.
This is especially important on computers with a limited amount of memory, as it ensures that no application or process takes up too much space and slows down your computer. The operating system can move data around and delete files to make more space.
Operating systems perform the following tasks-
- Allocating/deallocating memory to store programs.
- Deciding the amount of memory that should be allocated to the program.
- Memory distribution while multiprocessing.
- Update the status in case memory is freed
- Keeps record of how much memory is used and how much is unused.
When a computer starts up, the operating system loads itself into memory and then manages all the other running programs. It checks how much memory is used and how much is available and makes sure that executing programs do not interfere with each other.
5. Job Accounting
An operating system’s (OS) job accounting feature is a powerful tool for tracking how your computer’s resources are being used. This information can help you pinpoint and troubleshoot any performance issues and identify unauthorized software installations.
Operating systems keep track of which users and processes use how many resources. This information can be used for various purposes, including keeping tabs on system usage, billing users for their use of resources, and providing information to system administrators about which users and processes are causing problems.
The operating system does the following tasks:
- Keeps record of all the activities taking place on the system.
- Keeps record of information regarding resources, memory, errors, resources, etc.
- Responsible for Program swapping(in and out) in memory
- Keeps track of memory usage and accordingly assigns memory
- Opening and closing and writing to peripheral devices.
- Creating a file system for organizing files and directories.
Operating systems play a vital role in our lives, and they perform a variety of functions to make our lives easier. Operating systems are an essential part of our daily lives, from managing our files and applications to connecting us to the internet. We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the different functions of operating systems and how they can benefit your life. Operating systems are constantly evolving and improving, so staying up to date with the latest releases is essential.
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What is an operating system?
A computer's operating system (OS) is a collection of software applications that controls its hardware and software resources. Users may carry out operations like executing programs, accessing files, and connecting to networks thanks to it because it gives applications a way to communicate with the computer hardware.
What other kinds of operating systems are there?
Desktop operating systems, such as Windows, MacOS, and Linux, are those created specifically for personal computers. Mobile operating systems, like iOS and Android, are those that are created specifically for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These are meant for servers that give services to several customers, including examples of server operating systems
What is the most popular operating system?
Windows is the most famous operating system taking 75% share in the market. And the most famous mobile operating system is android taking 80% of the market share.
Do several operating systems have the ability to communicate with one another?
Yes, the Standard protocols like TCP/IP allow different operating systems to communicate with one another. This enables network communication between devices with various operating systems.