An operating system is the software that makes your computer work. It controls the hardware and software components of your computer such as the different processes and applications and gives you a way to interact with you computer so you can use it for the various tasks you need to do such as word processing, internet browsing or saving files.
Operating systems are the most important piece of software on your computer and it is created by a software programmer who basically writes instructions that your computer can read and understand. The instructions are written in a programming language and enables your computer to do things like manage devices connected to your computer such as the mouse, keyboard and printer but also allow you to have multiple applications running at the same time such as listening to music whilst browsing the internet or creating a document. Without an operating system your computer just simply wouldn't work.Origins
In the early days there were mainframes, which didn't have an operating system. Each person who used the mainframe had punch cards and later magnetic tape. The program needed would be loaded onto the machine.
Later, symbolic languages were developed and programmers interpreted these symbols into machine code. This was the foundation of the operating systems we know today and as technology advanced and became more powerful the languages used to code them became more sophisticated.Specifics:
An operating system allows the computer to:
- Enable the user to multitask using different applications at the same time
- Manages and shares internal memory
- Handles all the peripheral devices attached to the computer
- Sends messages to the user to alert them of any errors
So you can see it's vital for your computer to have an operating system in order for you to be able to use the computer for your daily tasks. There are a variety of different operating systems and you may need to do some research to find the one that will suit your needs and requirements.
Revised January 13th, 2016
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