Understanding an Operating System

An operating system is the most important software on a computer. It is responsible for running most of the essential tasks on the computer, like controlling the peripheral devices and memory needed for processes that the computer does. It manages things like disc space and how the user can communicate with the computer without them needing to know all of the technical ins and outs on how everything works. A computer would be useless and not able to do anything useful without an operating system.

The operating system controls how the computer will function when it turns on and boots up. It will manage all of the computer’s resources, serving as the central hub that makes sure all of the hardware and software is getting what they need to function properly. The operating system will be managing how the programs are using memory and how the peripheral devices like a printer or a mouse receive information from the computer.

An operating system makes everything more “uniform” so that when programmers create new software and applications they will know all the details they need to make sure it works on a user’s computer. Everything is consistent, and it will not matter about the kind of computer or memory because the application will work on the operating system the computer uses.

Most operating systems are already preloaded onto a computer when the user buys them, although they can be changed and new systems installed, with the three most popular being Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X and Linux. Each system uses a graphical user interface that users can learn in order to communicate and give commands to their computer.

An operating system is the driving force on a computer, but it isn’t important for people to understand exactly how it works. Users only need to learn how to use the operating system that their computer has installed in order to do the tasks they need their computer to do.