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What Is an Operating System?

Operating systems (OS) are a set of integrated programs which manage computer resources and operations. From the perspective of a user’s standpoint, the OS is inaccessible — however, it provides applications with services that they can utilize to make hardware and software more user-friendly.

Access to the data stored on disks is a crucial function of the operating system. It requires the OS to have a way to organize the contents of each file to increase speed, reliability and storage efficiency. This structure, called a file-system, permits files to be given attributes and names. They can also be arranged into directories or folders to form a directory tree.

The majority of computers come with a variety of hardware devices, such as keyboards, printers, mice, and various other peripherals. These devices rely on the driver software of the device to communicate with the operating system. The operating system installs and configures these drivers to provide the right service to applications. It also hides the hardware configuration image source from the users, so they can interact with the system without knowing about the specific hardware configuration.

Process Management

OSs track all the programs running on a PC and determine the amount of time each application will get in a multitasking setting. It also manages the interruptions applications create to keep a processor’s focus and ensures that there enough memory available for an application to complete its work without interfering other processes.

Operating systems also perform other tasks in connection with the overall performance of the computer. For instance they manage the primary memory which contains huge arrays of bytes or words with an address for each. The OS monitors how many of these bytes are used by various applications and is able to move, delete or arrange them to free up space.

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