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Operating Systems Essay

1435 words - 6 pages

Operating Systems
Where would we be without operating systems? Technologically, we would be living in the Stone Age, computers would be useless without an operating system. What is an operating system? An operating system is computer instructions that coordinate all the activities of a computers’ hardware like, memory, storage devices, and printers (Gary B. Shelly).
Operating systems work in two ways, by managing the hardware and software resources of the computer. Managing the hardware and software resources, is important because different programs and input methods go through the central processing unit (CPU) and both take up memory, storage and input/output bandwidth for their own purposes. Secondly, providing a consistent application interface, is critical if there is more than one of a specific type of computer using the same operating system, or if the computer’s hardware can be updated. A consistent application program interface (API) creates a way for a software developer to write an application on one computer and know that it will run on another of the same type, even if the memory and storage are different between computers.
The purpose of an operating system is to organize and control software so whatever device that’s being ran, can run smoothly with other applications, interact with different computers and users, and to keep up with new software (operating systems). For example, software updates on an I-Phone. If software doesn’t get updated, the phone may not be compatible with certain programs, applications, etc. Most computers need an operating system, such as regular computers, laptops, even cell phones. Anything that has constantly changing applications, hardware controls, and software will need an OS. However, not all computers have an operating system, computers in something like a microwave don’t have one because it has a set function and the hardware controls never change.
There are a ton of different types of OS’s. One of them is a Single user- single task OS, it allows a user to work on one thing at a time, this kind is an “old school” type, as this was the first type out there. Next, Single user- multi task which would allow a single user to work on multiple programs at the same time. These would be the most common operating systems, like the ones that come on the desktop for computers such as; Windows made by Microsoft and Macintosh made by Apple.
Third is the multi user OS. The multi user allows many different users to use the computer's resources simultaneously. The operating system checks itself to make sure that each user that’s running a program has enough separate resources to operate off of and the requirements of the users are balanced, so that a problem with one user doesn't affect the entire community of users. Unix, VMS and mainframe operating systems, such as MVS, are examples of multi-user operating systems. Last but not least there are real-time operating systems (RTOS). RTOS’s are used a lot in...

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