2.4 - Operating Systems

The General Reference
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Operating systems are pieces of software that control the processes within a computer

Operating systems have many different functions: 

  • Manage memory usage 

  • Control the CPU 

  • Manage and prioritise tasks 

  • Monitoring inputs and outputs 

  • Receive data from storage devices 

  • Manage printing 

Operating systems can be single user or multi user: 

  • Single user is an OS where only one user can access the computer system at a time 

  • Multi user is an OS that allows more than one user to access the computer system at a time 

Operating systems can use a single processor or multiple processors: 

  • Single processor contains only one processor in the system. Tasks will be allocated to a single processor and the CPU will get shared between users 

  • Multi processor contains two or more processors in a system. Tasks will be allocated to multiple different processers. In a multi-user system, each user can use a different processor resulting in better performance 

Operating systems can be off the shelf, open source or bespoke: 

  • Off the shelf operating system is a ready-made OS that has full functionality upon download 

  • Open-source operating system is an OS that can be edited with the source code available to view and edit. This means the OS can be adapted by the company to it can align with their needs 

  • Bespoke operating system is an OS that has been specially made in order to fit the client’s needs 

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