What Is an Operating System?

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Operating systems (OS) are a collection of integrated programs which manage computer resources and operations. From a user’s perspective perception, the OS is inaccessible — but it does provide applications with services to make computer hardware and software more usable.

This is a fundamental operation system feature. The OS must be capable of arranging the contents of files to increase speed, reliability and efficiency of storage. This structure, also known as the file-system, permits files to be given attributes and names. They can also be organized into folders or directories to form the directory tree.

The majority of computers come with a variety of hardware devices like keyboards, printers and various other peripherals. These devices rely on device driver software to communicate with the operating system. The operating system installs and configures these drivers to provide the appropriate service to the applications. It also hides the hardware details from the user, so that they can use the system without having to know about the precise hardware configuration.

Process Management

An OS keeps track of all the applications running on the computer and determines the amount of time to be allocated to each in a multitasking scenario. It also controls the interruptions that programs cause to divert processors’ focus and ensures there is enough memory to allow the application to complete its task without interfering with other processes.

Operating systems also perform other functions that are related to the overall functioning of the computer, for example, maintaining the primary memory that contains huge byte arrays or word files with each having an address. The OS can determine how many bytes are utilized by various applications and then move, delete, or reorganize these bytes to free up space.