What is Operating System

Everyone is familiar with the computer system and other electronic gadgets in this advanced technology world. Also, everyone is familiar with the term "Operating System" (OS) through which computers run. A computer, laptop, or mobile can only work with an OS. So, a computer system or a mobile must have an OS to perform well and run any other application. Moreover, it controls and tracks the performance of all the programs inside the computer. These include applications and system software that exists in the computer.

In this blog, we will discuss an Operating System, its history, types, features, and many other aspects. But before you dive into this blog, you must know what an operating system is in brief.

What is an Operating System?

An Operating System or OS is software and a collection of programs loaded into the computer through a boot program. It manages all the apps and programs within a device. Also, the OS is an interface between the user and the computer's hardware. A computer or a laptop must have atleast one OS to execute other applications and make them run properly.

Many apps, such as MS Office, Notepad, MS Teams, MS Paint, Browsers, etc., need an environment to run. OS is the environment that allows them to run and execute various tasks. A user cannot speak a computer's language, so the operating system is the only medium to communicate with it. Without the OS, no user can interact with the computer or a laptop.

Today, multiple operating systems are available in the market, such as Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, Android, etc. These are the leading OS that runs computers, laptops, and mobiles worldwide.

Operating System History

It is essential to know the history of Operating Systems, from where it started, and how it is evolving.

  • The first-ever OS in this world was developed around the 1950s.
  • Then in the late 1960s, the Bell Labs started the development of the first edition of Unix OS.
  • Later the software giant Microsoft developed DOS in 1981.
  • But the currently popular Windows OS came into existence in the year 1985 after the development of GUI and pairing it with the MS-DOS.

In this way, we can see how the Operating Systems existed and ruled the world. Now, let us know the various features of an OS.

Features of Operating System

The following are the multiple operating system features.;-

  • It provides an excellent platform for running software applications.
  • An Operating System executes various programs.
  • It helps to allocate various resources.
  • An OS supports CPU Scheduling, Memory management, App Development, etc.
  • An OS offers high-level security.
  • The OS acts like a UI between the computer system and the user.
  • An operating system also provides system services and networking support.
  • It helps in identifying errors and their management.
  • An OS supports file management.
  • An OS manages system performance and processor very easily.

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Operating System Types

The following are the various types of Operating System.

  • Batch OS
  • Network OS
  • Distributed OS
  • Real-time OS
  • Time Sharing OS
  • Mobile OS
  • Multiprocessing OS

Batch OS

Some processes in a computer are very lengthy and take much time to complete. So, to speed up the process, similar jobs are batched together and run in groups. In the Batch OS, the user doesn't interact with the computer system directly. Further, access is given to more than a single person within the Batch OS who submits their jobs to the system for execution.

Network OS

It is one of the operating systems that run on a server and offers the ability to manage data, security, apps, and users, along with networking functions. Further, they enable sharing various apps, files, security, network functions, and others through LAN or VPN. The primary benefit of this OS is that it facilitates access to servers from different remote locations and computer systems.

Distributed OS

The Distribute OS results from technical changes in which multiple computers are connected through a single channel. These distributed systems use multiple processors placed in different scenarios, offering users faster computations. Hence, these OS are developed to operate on various computer networks.

Real-time OS

A real-time OS (RTOS) serves the systems in real time. Moreover, the RTOS is designed for systems that need predictable and timely response times. These include embedded systems, industrial automation, and control systems.

Further, Real-time OS can be divided into two categories: hard real-time and soft real-time. Hard real-time OS follows strict deadlines and must respond within a fixed time frame. Soft real-time systems have a deadline, but they can tolerate periodic delays without causing a system failure. It means these OS are best suitable where the time constraint is less strict.

Time Sharing OS

The time-sharing operating system is an OS that allows multiple users to access a single computer system at a time. In this system, each user gets a small amount of time to use the computer's resources. These include CPU time, memory, and storage, before passing control to another user. Also, these OS always provide error-free service.

Mobile Operating System

The mobile OS is popular with smartphones and tablets. It offers a platform to run apps on mobile devices where Android and iOS are the popular operating systems used on mobile devices.

Multiprocessing OS

A multiprocessing OS is an OS that supports using multiple processors to perform tasks at a time. It allows the allocation of the workload among the available processors. Therefore, it results in faster and more efficient processing of data. Further, it helps to enhance the performance of multiple CPUs within one computer system.

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Functions of Operating System

The following are the essential functions of an Operating System. Let us discuss them in detail.

  • Memory Management
  • Process Management
  • Device Management
  • File Management
  • Networking
  • Security
  • Resource Management
  • Job Accounting
  • I/O Management

Memory Management

In OS, memory management involves managing the primary or main memory. An operating system manages the distribution and deallocation of memory to different programs. It ensures that each program has enough memory to run without interfering with other programs. Further, it always keeps track of the primary memory.

Resource Management

The OS helps to manage the allocation of various computer hardware resources. It includes CPU, memory, disk space, and network bandwidth among multiple apps and processes that run on a machine.

Process Management

An OS looks after the multiple processes inside the computer system. The OS manages the creation, scheduling, and termination of methods and programs to ensure they run efficiently. Also, it looks after them so they don't interfere with other processes.

File Management

An operating system is responsible for creating, deleting, and accessing files and directories. It also provides protection and security by controlling access to files and directories. It is one of the visible services of an OS where a file renders data, source and objects, programs, etc.

Input / Output Management

The OS manages the input and output (I/O) data to and from peripheral devices like keyboards, printers, and disk drives.


The OS provides high-security features to protect the system from unknown access, viruses, and malicious software. It offers various techniques and tools that keep user data and integrity confidential. Also, it keeps the firewall always active.


The operating system provides effective network management services. It allows computers to communicate with each other over a network. Also, it keeps the network safe and secure from any hacks and intrusions. However, the network management features include maintenance, security, operation, etc.

Job Accounting

Job accounting is a function of OS that keeps track of various resources and time by multiple users and tasks.

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Advantages of Operating System

The following are the various advantages of an Operating System.

  • The OS acts as an interface between the users and the computer hardware. It facilitates connectivity between them to execute multiple tasks.
  • With the advent of Windows OS, it became user-friendly and allowed users to interact and connect with the systems quickly.
  • An OS frequently updates to meet the user's requirements in daily life.
  • The primary benefit of OS is that it allows sharing of resources like data and information with multiple users in different ways. Networks help in sharing information between various users and systems quickly.
  • It doesn't need to write any coding to access the system hardware as it became easy with the GUI.
  • The OS also secures the data and manages it very safely.
  • It is multitasking, which means it can manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • An OS provides users with an environment to run their apps and programs well.
  • It also manages memory allocation across the computer system.

Disadvantages of Operating System

  • The major disadvantage of the operating system is that if any failure occurs in the OS, we will lose all the data.
  • Developing and deploying a personal OS can be very expensive.
  • Some OS may only be compatible with software or hardware systems. They may require users to invest additional resources or upgrade their systems.
  • Some OS can be resource-intensive, requiring vast amounts of memory, processing power, and storage space to work effectively.
  • OS may be very complex, and the language used to develop them. It may need to be clarified to understand.

Bottom Line
Thus, an operating system plays a key role in operating a computer system or a mobile device. Without an OS, we cannot work on a computer or mobile, and no application or program will run. Therefore, an OS is essential to complete any task using a computer or mobile. The multiple features and functions of OS help us to manage various tasks within a stipulated time. Also, OS updates frequently to meet the user's needs.

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Research Analyst
As a content writer at HKR trainings, I deliver content on various technologies. I hold my graduation degree in Information technology. I am passionate about helping people understand technology-related content through my easily digestible content. My writings include Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Python, Salesforce, Servicenow and etc.