Computer Operating System - Computer Fundamentals

What is an operating system? What are its features?

The Operating System is a program with the following features −
  • The main part of the computer system is an operating system. It is a program that acts as an interface between the software and the computer hardware. It is the master control program that runs the computer.
  • It is an integrated set with the specialized programs which are used to manage all the resources and operations of the computer.
  • It is treated as special type of software that controls and monitors the programs execution that is stored in the form of data in the computer, including application programs and other system software. It is and important component of the computer system, because it sets the standards for application programs that run on it.

operating system(1)

Objectives of Operating System

Explain the objectives of an operating system?

The objectives of the operating system are −
  • To make the computer system convenient to the user to use in an efficient manner.
  • To hide the details of the hardware resources from the users.
  • To make the user a convenient interface in order to use the computer system.
  • To act as an interface between the hardware and its users, so that it is very easy for the user to access and use other resources.
  • To control the resources of a computer system.
  • To keep an eye on who is using which resource, granting resource requests, and act as mediator for conflicting requests from different programs and users.
  • To provide efficient and proper sharing of resources among users and programs.

Characteristics of Operating System

Here is a list of some of the most prominent characteristic features of Operating Systems −
  • Memory Management – observes the use of the primary memory, i.e. what part of it is in use by whom, what part is not in use, etc. and allocates the memory when a process or program requests it.
  • Processor Management − Allocates the processor (CPU) to a process and deallocates the processor when it is not required anymore.
  • Device Management − Keeps track of all the devices. This is also called I/O controller that decides which process gets the device, when, and for how much time.
  • File Management − Allocates and de-allocates the resources and decides who gets the resources.
  • Security − Prevents unauthorized access to programs and data from other persons by means of passwords and other similar techniques.
  • Job Accounting − Keeps the track record of time and resources used by various jobs and/or users.
  • Control Over System Performance – helps to record delays between the request for a service and from the system.
  • Interaction with the Operators − Interaction takes place in instructions form from the computer. The Operating System acknowledges the same, performs the corresponding action, and informs the operation with the help of display screen.
  • Error-detecting Aids − Production of dumps, traces, error messages, and other debugging and error-detecting methods are used.
  • Coordination Between Other Software and Users − Coordination and assignment of compilers, interpreters, assemblers, and other software to the various users of the computer systems. Operating system controls all the functions that are being performed on the hard disk and coordinates with other software applications.

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