Q:

What are the functions of an operating system?

A:

Quick Answer

An operating system provides the connection between a computer's fundamental hardware, peripheral devices and users. It also creates a consistent development platform for programmers. Computers of all sizes, from cell phones to supercomputers, need operating systems to function.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Most computers have a processor, which performs calculations and processes information, memory, which holds program information, and a disk drive for storing programs and data. These devices need an operating system to work together. Computer RAM, for example, relies on the operating system to determine where information is held.

Operating systems also manage external devices. Operating systems typically come with drivers for graphics and sound chips and cards, and they typically support keyboards, mice and other input devices. Other devices, such as printers and scanners, often need third-party drivers to function. Most operating systems provide a driver interface to ease the process of developing hardware drivers.

Programmers rely on the abstraction provided by operating systems to make development simpler. Instead of having to work directly with a keyboard or mouse, programmers use signals provided by the operating system. Instead of having to create a graphical windowing system to display information, programmers can send relatively simple commands to the operating system, which handles much of the work. This abstraction often allows developers to target multiple operating systems with a single code base while making only small system-specific tweaks.

Learn more about Software

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you install hardware drivers for Linux?

    A:

    Most hardware drivers for Linux are included within the Linux operating system itself. If the hardware driver you require is not installed, plug in the new hardware manually, wait for the operating system to detect it, and simply wait for the system to install the driver.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you restore Windows 7 back to its normal mode?

    A:

    Restore Windows 7 back to its normal mode by disabling Safe Mode in the computer's start-up settings or restoring the operating system to an earlier point in time. Safe Mode is an advanced troubleshooting feature that only enables the basic features of the operating system. As a result, most programs do not run in Safe Mode.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What happens if I don't activate Windows?

    A:

    The Windows activation process is used to filter out any pirated copies of the operating system and will either slow down Windows or stop it from functioning on the computer. The actual process varies according to the type of Windows operating system installed on the computer.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a single-user multitasking operating system?

    A:

    A single-user multitasking operating system is an operating system that allows a single user to simultaneously run multiple applications on a computer. This type of operating system is found in personal desktop and laptop computers. The most popular single-user multitasking operating systems include Microsoft Windows and Macintosh.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore