Understanding Your Computer’s Operating System

An operating system, such as Windows or Linux, is defined as the main program on a computer. It determines how the user performs tasks and how the interface appears. An interface example is your taskbar or desktop. An operating system, often referred to as an OS, also determines what software can be installed on a computer. For example, if a PC is running Linux, certain programs that run on Windows may not be compatible with this specific operating system.

Some operating systems use a GUI, or a graphical user interface that presents information through pictures, such as buttons, dialog boxes, and icons. This specific method allows for a user friendly interface, as information can be received and interpreted quickly and easily. Other operating systems use text only to relay information.

Among the more advanced functions that operating systems perform include: Managing Hard Discs, Scheduling tasks, navigating various and multiple programs, and managing your RAM (Random Access Memory). Smaller tasks that your OS performs are the mouse cursor, the keyboard, and an internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Other purposes of an operating system include organizing and controlling hardware. The hardware and software in a computer, such as a graphics card, is managed by an OS. All desktop and laptop computers have operating systems so that they may better perform tasks and run simple programs.

Upgrades for hardware and software are managed by the operating System. Some updates are managed according to user preference. Usually the OS will prompt the user for updates in software, so that they may choose what best options suit them. After the user selects their preference, the operating system installs the software so that they may use the program successfully.

There are several other types of operating systems, including real-time, multi-user, single-user, and single-user, single-task operating systems. A multi-user operating system is primarily used for home and office computers so that multiple users can conveniently access the computer. It also allows for several programs to be used at one time, allowing the user to multi-task and operate more than one program at any given time. Single-user, multi-tasking operating systems are also one of the more popular types of operating systems allowing more than one program to be in operation at any given time.

Understanding the operating system is a simple task after determining what operating system that the PC has. Most operating systems are user friendly, and on the initial startup of the new PC, will introduce the consumer to the interface of the OS and how to use most of the simple tasks.

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