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Operating Systems

System Software, functions of an operating system

The Operating System

The Operating System is also known as System Software. All computers must have an operating system in order to work
The OS is responsible for all the functions of hardware and also software

Functions of an Operating System

Process Management GUI Memory Management

Device Drivers

Operating System

Disk Managem ent (File Systems)



Process Management

A multitasking OS allows the computer to perform many different tasks(processes) at the same time
The CPU can only focus on one process at a time. The OS tells the CPU to give each process a very short time slice (time slot)

This happens very fast making it seem like the processes are occurring at the same time

Memory Management

A computer has different memory types it could use; memory registers, cache, RAM and disk storage. The OS is responsible for checking;
which memory if free which memory is to be allocated and de- allocated how to swap between the main memory and secondary memory

Memory Management

When the OS swaps between main memory and secondary memory we call this Virtual Memory management Virtual memory creates a memory slot acting as RAM when the RAM is too full Virtual memory is much slower than RAM

Disk Management / File Systems

Operating systems have different file systems. A file system is an organisation of all the files and folders saved within the computer
Each OS has a different file system hence a different access system (notes page 29)


Most of the OSs today are capable of using the universal TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) This allows computers to communicate with each other and be able to share resources such as files and hardware devices over a network, such as Internet.


The basic type of security an OS offers is asking for a Username and Password before a user can use the OS The OS could also limit certain users from doing certain actions. This is known as level access
The OS uses a Firewall to close certain ports when using TCP/IP protocol

GUI Graphical User Interface

Most operating systems use a GUI Graphical User interfaces, which is more user-friendly as it uses graphical representations which the user can easily understand.
A GUI's components are
Icons, Menus, Windows, Toolbars , Buttons amongst others.

Windows GUI

Linux GUI


Device Drivers

A device driver is software that is responsible for the communication between different hardware and the computer.
Device drivers are used to let the OS know how a specific hardware works as with all the new advances in technology it is impossible for the OS to know how ALL types of hardware work