Functions of Operating System

Functions of Operating System

7 mins read1.2L Views Comment
Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Jan 23, 2024 15:39 IST

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?

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.

2022_09_image-179.jpg

What are the Functions of Operating System?

2022_09_image-181.jpg

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:

  1. 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-
    1. You can right-click on a folder or desktop and select “New”
    2. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
File System in Operating System
File System in Operating System
File system is a hierarchy of different files stored in operating system.Read this article if you want to know about file system and different file allocation methods with proper examples....read more
Real-time Operating System
Real-time Operating System
Real time operating system is an important topic from interview point of view.This article includes real time operating system types and their examples.It also includes applications of real time system....read more
Operating System Interview Questions
Operating System Interview Questions
In this article you will find important operating system questions which are likeable to be asked in interview.

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. 

All About Primary Storage Devices
All About Primary Storage Devices
Primary storage is also known as main memory in the computer. It is a component of the computer that holds programs, instructions and data currently in use. It is located...read more

All About Secondary Storage Devices
All About Secondary Storage Devices
Secondary storage devices are any non-volatile storage device that is either internally or externally present within the computer. These can be an7 device that helps provide permanent data storage.

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.
Paging in Operating System (OS): Real-life analogy
Paging in Operating System (OS): Real-life analogy
Do you want to learn paging in operating system with real life analogy? Then you have landed on the right article. This article also explains the working of paging technique....read more
Process Management in Operating System
Process Management in Operating System
Process management in operating systems involves the handling and coordinating multiple processes executed by the CPU. It includes tasks like process scheduling, creation, execution, and termination, ensuring efficient and fair...read more
Memory Management Techniques in Operating System
Memory Management Techniques in Operating System
Memory management is very important aspect of operating system performance.In this article we have covered different memory management techniques like paging,swapping,compaction and segmentation. This article covers different topics related to...read more

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.
CPU Scheduling Algorithm: Operating System
CPU Scheduling Algorithm: Operating System
Scheduling of processes is very important thing in an operating system. CPU Scheduling Algorithm is an essential part of any operating system. Various algorithms can be used, each with advantages...read more
Working of Demand Paging in Operating System
Working of Demand Paging in Operating System
This article explain a very important topic of operating system-Demand paging with real-life analogy
Swapping in operating system
Swapping in operating system
swapping is a memory management technique for swapping data between main memory and secondary memory for better memory utilization.This article explains swapping concept in detail with real-life example.

Conclusion

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. 

Thanks for reading!!

Keep learning!!!

Keep sharing information!!!

Related Reads

Memory Management Techniques in Operating System
Memory Management Techniques in Operating System
Memory management is very important aspect of operating system performance.In this article we have covered different memory management techniques like paging,swapping,compaction and segmentation. This article covers different topics related to...read more
Interprocess Communication in Operating System
Interprocess Communication in Operating System
Processes in operating systems need to communicate with each other. Interprocess communication (IPC) is a process that allows different processes of a computer system to share information. If you want...read more
Interprocess Communication in Operating System
Interprocess Communication in Operating System
Processes in operating systems need to communicate with each other. Interprocess communication (IPC) is a process that allows different processes of a computer system to share information. If you want...read more
Swapping in operating system
Swapping in operating system
swapping is a memory management technique for swapping data between main memory and secondary memory for better memory utilization.This article explains swapping concept in detail with real-life example.
Segmentation Technique in Operating System
Segmentation Technique in Operating System
Have you ever found yourself tapping your fingers impatiently while your computer takes its sweet time to load a program or file? It’s a common problem that many of us...read more
Memory Hierarchy in Operating System
Memory Hierarchy in Operating System
Memory hierarchy helps in organizing the memory in a way that it can minimize the access time. It is based on a program behavior that is known as locality of...read more

FAQs

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.

About the Author
author-image
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio