An Introduction to Operating System

An Operating system forms the core of any computer device. The functioning and processing of a computer system can come to hold without an operating system.

In this article, we shall discuss in detail the Operating System, along with its various types and functions. The different features and history of the development of OS have also been discussed. For the reference of competitive exam aspirants, some sample questions have also been given further below in this article. 

To comprehend Computer Knowledge and its key features, understanding this concept becomes a key factor. Thus, one must carefully go through the various aspects related to this topic to understand it well.

Table of Contents:

  1. History of the Operating System
  2. Types of Operating System
  3. Functions of Operating System
  4. List of Common Operating Systems
  5. Sample Questions on Operating System

Before moving forward, let us first know What is an Operating System?

An Operating System is the interface between the computer hardware and the end-user. Processing of data, running applications, file management and handling the memory is all managed by the computer OS. Windows, Mac, Android etc. Are examples of Operating systems which are generally used nowadays.

All modern computing devices including Laptops, Tablet, mobile phones, etc. comprise an Operating System which helps in the smooth working of the device.

To strengthen your command over Computer Awareness, refer to the links below and learn more about the various terms, programs and applications:

History of the Operating System

It took years to evolve the Operating Systems and make them as modernised and advanced as they are today. Given below are the details about the evolution and history of Operating systems.

  • Initially, the computers made did not have an Operating system and to run each program a different code was used. This had made the processing of data more complex and time taking
  • In 1956, the first operating systems were developed by General Motors to run a single IBM computer
  • It was in the 1960s that IBM had started installing OS in the devices they launched
  • The first version of the UNIX operating system was launched in the 1960s and was written in the programming language C
  • Later on, Microsoft came up with their OS on the request of IBM
  • Today, all major computer devices have an operating system, each performing the same functions but with slightly different features

To read more about MS Windows, the Operating system released by Microsoft, visit the linked article. 

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Types of Operating System

Given below are the different types of Operating System along with  brief information about each of them:

1. Batch Operating System

  • There is no direct communication between the computer and the OS
  • There is an intermediate, the Operator, which needs to distribute the work into batches and sort similar jobs
  • Multiple users can use it
  • Can easily manager a large amount of work

2. Real-Time Operating System

  • It has a data processing system
  • The processing time is very small between the user’s command and the output
  • Used in fields where the response needs to be quick and rapid

3. Time-Sharing Operating System

  • Multiple people at various terminals can use a program at the same time 
  • The main motive is to minimize the response time

4. Distributed Operating System

  • When two or more systems are connected to each other and one can open files which are not present in their system but in other devices connected in the network
  • Its usage has now increased over the years
  • They use multiple central processors to serve real-time applications
  • Failure of one system does not affect the other systems connected in the network

5. Embedded Operating System

  • These special Operating systems are built into larger systems
  • They generally are limited to single specific functions like an ATM

6. Network Operating System

  • They have one main server which is connected to other client servers
  • All the management of files, processing of data, access to sharing files, etc. are performed over this small network
  • It is also a secure operating system for working with multiple users

7. Mobile Operating System

  • With the advancement in the field of technology, smartphones now are released with an Operating system. 
  • They are designed in a manner that they can help a small device work efficiently

To read in detail about the Fundamentals of Computer, visit the linked article.

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Functions of Operating System

Given below are the various functions of an Operating System:

  • It helps with memory management. It keeps a track of the files being saved in the Main memory and the primary memory of the computer device
  • Whenever a computer is turned on, the Operating system automatically starts to work. Thus, the booting and rebooting process of a computer device is also an important function of the OS
  • It provides a user interface
  • Managing of basic peripheral devices is done by the operating system
  • Using the password protection option of an operating system, the data in the device can be kept secure
  • It coordinates with the software and the user
  • Easy navigation and organisation of files and programs are managed by the OS
  • Any kind of program which needs to be run through the system is done by the operating system
  • If any kind of error or bug is found during the program is detected using the operating system
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List of Common Operating Systems

Given below is a list of commonly used Operating systems along with their year of release. 

List of Operating Systems
Name of the OS Release Date
Android 2008
iOS 2007
Windows 1985
Mac OS 2001
MS-DOS 1981
Chrome OS 2011
Windows Phone 2010
Blackberry OS 1999
Firefox OS 2013
UNIX 1969

To know more about Microsoft Windows and its features, candidates can visit the linked article.

Government Exam 2023

Sample Questions on Operating System

Computer Awareness is an important part of the syllabus for major Government and competitive exams conducted in the country. Questions in the form of MCQ are generally asked in these examinations and candidates must prepare themselves well enough to score more.

Given below are a few sample questions on the topic of Operating System and aspirants can refer to these to apprehend the type of questions and the pattern in which they may be asked.

To get the best Preparation Strategy for Competitive Exams, candidates can visit the linked article.  

Q 1. The __________ connects applications to the actual processing of data and manages all communications between software and hardware components. It is the core of any OS.

  1. Central Processing Unit
  2. Main Memory
  3. Kernel
  4. Systematic Multi-Processing
  5. Cluster Unit

Answer: (3) Kernel

Q 2. Which of the following options is not an Operating System?

  1. MS-DOS
  2. Blackberry OS
  3. Windows
  4. Oracle
  5. UNIX

Answer: (4) Oracle

Q 3. Which of these is not a type of Operating System?

  1. Network Operating System
  2. Distributed Operating System
  3. Embedded Operating System
  4. Batch Operating System
  5. All are a type of Operating System

Answer: (5) All are a type of Operating System

Q 4. The first Operating System was developed by _____

  1. IBM
  2. Microsoft
  3. Blackberry
  4. Mac
  5. General Motors

Answer: (5) General Motors

Q 5. A program that automates the translation of assembly language into machine language is called _________

  1. Assembler
  2. Interpreter
  3. Compiler
  4. Processor
  5. None of the above

Answer: (1) Assembler

The information given in this article will help aspirants comprehend the Operating System and its users in a much easier and understandable manner. 

Furthermore, to get the latest exam information and the best study material for competitive exams, visit BYJU’S.


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