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4.2: Operating System Software Module

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    Learning Objectives

    • Explain the role of the operating system.
    • Compare various operating systems and determine which one suits a specific situation.
    • Identify utility programs included with an operating system and describe their purpose.

    • 4.2.1: Overview
      Every general-purpose computer in whatever form—mainframe, workstation, desktop, laptop, tablet, iPad, smartphone—requires an operating system (OS). The OS is the heart of the computer, enabling all the other components (hardware and software) to perform the functions assigned to them.
    • 4.2.2: What Is an OS and What Does It Do?
      The OS is software that is stored almost entirely on the hard drive in your computer. It is the software component that manages the hardware pieces and all of the other software, enabling both parts to perform the functions for which they are designed. For example, the OS recognizes input from your mouse, your keyboard, or a touch of the screen and performs whatever action is requested by the mouse, keyboard, or touch.
    • 4.2.3: Compare Various Operating Systems
      How many different operating systems exist? The number is quite extensive. We will compare only a handful of the most widely used systems, such as those found on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Those for desktops used at home are typically the same as those found on laptops, notebooks, ultrabooks, tablets, and touch PCs. Operating systems for more complex business platforms involve other operating systems that we will not be able to cover here.
    • 4.2.4: Utility Programs
      A utility program is a system software package that is designed to assist in the analysis, configuration, optimization, or maintenance of a computing system. A utility program may be packaged along with the OS, or it might be purchased separately. The utility programs are specific to the OS and the platform on which the OS is running. There are similarities in some of the tasks that these utilities perform, but some operate with only one type of OS.
    • 4.2.5: Operating System Software Wrap-Up

    4.2: Operating System Software Module is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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