Operating System (OS)


An operating system (OS) is a software and a resource manager that sits between the hardware and the user.

What Is an Operating System (OS)?

Operating systems are software programs that manage the resources of a computer. It is the software that lets apps communicate with a computer's hardware.

The program may communicate directly with the hardware. However, most software programs are not developed to communicate with a specific piece of hardware; instead, the operating system does it.

Operating systems were not available on the first computers. Every computer program had to incorporate all of the code needed to run and connect with the hardware, as well as accomplish the program's real function. As a result, computer programs became difficult to develop and too complicated to operate. Each software could only be executed on the specific computer for which it was designed.

Functions of Operating System

Operating systems conduct a variety of functions in order to fulfill the aims. These aims are as follows:

Process Management: At any one point in time, the CPU may have a number of processes in the ready state. However, a processor can only handle one process at a time. As a result, the CPU should employ procedures to make sure that operations have continuous and smooth access to resources. It should not prioritize any one process over another and ensure that all processes in the ready state get performed. First come, first serve, round-robin, shortest job first, priority scheduling, and other CPU scheduling techniques are examples.

Memory Management: To run a process, the entire process is loaded into the main memory, which is then performed. After the process is completed, the memory is released and may be utilized for other processes. As a result, it is the operating system's responsibility to manage memory by allocating and deallocating memory for the process.

I/O Device Management: In a system, there are many different I/O devices. Various processes require access to various resources; however, these devices should not be accessed directly by the process. As a result, it is the operating system's responsibility to authorize the usage of I/O devices by the processes that require them.

File Management: Each computer has its own set of files, folders, and directory structure. All of these are maintained and handled by the computer's operating system. A File Allocation Table, or FAT, is used to keep track of all of these files' information. As a result, the File Allocation Table stores every detail about the file, such as the filename, file size, file type, and so on. It is also the responsibility of the operating system to ensure that the files are not opened by unauthorized users.

Virtual Memory: When the size of the application exceeds the main memory, the operating system is responsible for loading only frequently used pages into the main memory. This is referred to as Virtual Memory. 

What Are the Most Popular Operating Systems?

The following is a list of examples of several computer operating systems throughout the history of computing.


GPOS refers to the operating systems listed below (general-purpose operating systems). Examples of RTOS may be found in our RTOS (real-time operating system) description.

Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows is the most popular and widely used operating system on computers today, with Windows 10 being the most current Windows version to be released. PC and IBM-compatible systems run the operating system.


macOS is Apple's core operating system, which is used on both desktop and laptop computers.


Linux is a free and open-source operating system that can be installed on PCs and IBM-compatible systems. Because it is open-source, it is used to generate a variety of Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, and Slackware. For a complete list of Linux variations on our site, as well as more information about the operating system, see our Linux page.

Chrome OS/Chromium

Chrome OS is the operating system that comes pre-installed on Google Chromebooks.

Operating Systems for Mobile Devices

A mobile operating system, sometimes known as a portable operating system, is used on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.


Android is a mobile operating system that runs on smartphones and tablets. Because so many smartphones utilize a form of the Android operating system, it is now the most common operating system on the planet.


The Apple iOS operating system is the software that runs on Apple's iPhones and iPads.