What Is An Operating System? Free & Simple Operating System Tutorial 2021

What Is An Operating System

All of us use the operating system on our computer and our smartphone, but if someone asks, what is an operating system, then it will be difficult to explain in detail.

That’s why here we are going to explain all about operating systems from beginning to present, like what is an operating system, different types of operating systems, components of operating system, functions of operating system, and all.

So, if you have questions in your mind like what is an operating system, and all, so read this post till the end, and you will get all the answers to your questions and much more.

What Is An Operating System

Meaning Of Operating System

An operating system is a program that controls the execution of all application programs and acts as an interface between the user of a computer and the computer hardware.


The operating system is the one program running at all times on the computer(usually called the kernel), with all else being application programs.

An operating system is concerned with the allocation of resources and services, such as memory, processors, devices. The operating system correspondingly includes programs to manage these resources, such as a scheduler, memory management, input/output management, and a file system.


In simple words, an operating system is system software that runs all the time, it is like a heart for the computers as it provides the interface for interaction and manages all the operations and management work such as files, memory, I/O, and so on.

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Definition Of Operating System

“A program that acts as an intermediary between a user of a computer and the computer hardware”

“Operating system is a collection of software that control and manage system resources”

“It is responsible for the management and coordination of activities and sharing of resources of computer system”

“A program that run all the time on the computer and automatically turn on when computer switch on”

Computer System Structure

Computer system structure can be divided into four major components as follows =>



Provide basic computing resources like CPU, Memory, I/O devices.

Operating System

Controls and coordinates use of hardware among various applications and users.

Application Software

Application software are used to solve the specific computing problems of the users i.e. Word processor, database system, VLC player etc.


The users include people, machine, and other computers.

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History Of Operating Systems

  • 1st Computer doesn’t have the operating system
  • Each program needed code to run on the computer

1st Generation OS(1940-50)

  • Solve simple math calculations.
  • Vacuum tubes.
  • No present OS.
  • Machine language (1,0)
  • The whole room is occupied
  • Use plugboard
  • punch card used

Working :

  • Run one program at one time.


  • Time wastage
  • Very expensive
  • CPU ideal during 1st and last step
  • Slow processing
  • Small storage capacity
  • Produce excessive heat.
  • Use lots of electricity

2nd Generation OS (1950-65)

  • Around 1955, Transistors were introduced
  • The cost and size of a computer is reduced
  • Operating systems were designed
  • Used assembly language
  • Used FORTRAN and COBOL as a high-level language
  • The programmers’ job was simplified
  • Use batch systems
  • Perform scientific and engineering calculation
  • Reliable, powerful
  • Assembly language is developed
  • Processing speed is improved

3rd Generation OS (1965-73)

  • Integrated circuits were used.
  • OS is present
  • High-level language
  • Multiprogramming
  • Memory partitions
  • Also the growth of mini computer
  • PDP-1

4th Generation OS(Present)

  • PC developed
  • Similar to minicomputer developed in 3rd generation
  • Windows OS in 1975

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Operating Systems -In the 1950s

  • 1956: GM-NAA I/O system of General Motors and NAA was the first operating system for the IBM 704 computer.
  • 1959: SHARE Operating System (SOS), based on GM-NAA I/O

Operating Systems -In the 1960s

  • 1961: Compatible Timesharing System (CTSS), the first time-sharing operating system developed at the MIT computation center for IBM 709
  • 1961: Burroughs Master Control Program (MCP)for the B5000 system
  • 1964: IBM System/360-batch processing system for IBM Mainframe
  • 1968: THE multiprogramming system that supported multitasking
  • 1969: Multics (“Multiplexed Information and Computing Service”)-time-sharing operating based on the concept of a single -level memory
  • 1969: UNIX a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating system at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson Dennis Ritchie, and others.

Operating System -In the 1970s

  • 1970: DOS-11 by Digital Equipment Corporation for Digital PDP-11 minicomputer.
  • 1972: PRIMOS by Prime computer for its minicomputer system.
  • 1973: Xerox Alto first computer designed to support an OS based on GUI
  • 1974: Multi-Programming Executive, a mainframe computer real-time operating system made by Hewlett-Packard.
  • 1977: Berkeley Unix based on the source code of the original Unix developed at Bell Labs. Widely adopted by workstation, Descendants, such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, or DragonFLY BSD,

Operating System after 1970s

  • 1981: MS-DOS an operating system for x86-based PC developed by Microsoft. Rebranding as IBM PC DOS
  • 1984: Classic Mac OS developed for the Macintosh family of personal computers by Apple Inc. from 1984 to 2001, starting with System 1 and ending with Mac OS 9.
  • 1985: Windows 1.0, by Microsoft for Apple’s January 1984 original Macintosh, the first mass-produced personal computer’s OS with a graphical user interface(GUI).
  • 1987: Minix (from”mini-Unix”) is a POSIX-compliant Unix-like operating system based on a microkernel architecture.
  • 1990: Microsoft Windows 3.0
  • 1991: GNU/Linux
  • 1993: Windows NT
  • 2001: Mac OS X
  • 2007: IOS
  • 2008: Android OS

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Different Types Of Operating Systems

After getting the answer of what is an operating system and knowing the history of the operating system now we will learn about the different types of operating systems=>

  • Batch Operating System
  • Multiprogramming Operating System
  • Multitasking/Time-sharing Operating System
  • Real-time Operating System
  • Distributed Operating System
  • Clustered Operating System
  • Embedded Operating System

Now we will discuss in detail about all different types of operating systems=>

Batch Operating System

Batch Operating System was being used in the 1960s In the batch operating system, if someone needs any computing then he needs to load his job in punch card/magnetic tap, and give it to the operator of the computer, then operator creates a batch of similar jobs, and insert it to the computer to execute those jobs.

In the batch operating system, jobs used to execute one by one, and till the completion of one job CPU keeps idle, and this was the major disadvantage of the batch operating system.

Multiprogramming Operating System

In a multiprogramming operating system user loads multiple jobs/processes at a time in the RAM and gives it to the CPU to execute those jobs, the CPU executes the first job, and after the completion of the first job, it executes the next job, and so on.

The benefit of Multiprogramming OS is if the first job goes to read any file or goes to any I/O process, so at that time CPU executes the next job, so the CPU never used to be idle, and this provided the better utilization of the CPU.

Example – If there are 10 students (jobs) in the class and each student has 5 questions, so the teacher(CPU) goes to the first student and solves his all questions and after that goes to the next student.

But, if the first student wants to rest or wants to go anywhere when the teacher was solving his questions, then at that time, the teacher goes to the next student and solves his question, so the teacher never used to be idle, same with the Multiprogramming OS.

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Multitasking Operating System

The multitasking operating system is also known as the time-sharing operating system, in a multitasking operating system CPU performs multiple processes at a time,

In this OS, the CPU performs a process for a limited time and moves to the next process, and so on, this increased the response time for the next processes, that’s why it is also called time-sharing OS.

In this OS developers emphasized responsiveness, and this was the biggest advantage of the multitasking operating system.

Example – In the example of multiprogramming operating system, the teacher was going to the first student, and after solving his all question,n he was going to the next one.

But, in a multitasking operating system teacher goes to the first student for a limited time period, and then moves to the next student and same with other,

Like all students have five questions but the teacher only solves two questions, and then goes to the next student and solves his two questions, and moves to the next one, so this increased the response time.

Real-time Operating System

Real-time operating systems (RTOS) is an operating system that process data in the real-time, real-time operating system was developed to process data as it comes in, these type of operating systems are used in time-sensitive application and process like missile systems, and so on.

Distributed Operating System

In the distributed operating system, the user creates a network of different nodes on different geolocations,

It is a system software over a collection of independent, networked, communicating, and physically separate computational nodes.

This OS handles jobs that are served by multiple CPUs and if one node stops working then the other can cover its load.

Clustered Operating System

Clustered Operating System also works as the distributed operating system, the main difference between them is clustered operating system is a collection of computational nodes that are connected on a local network like we create a local network of computers in our office and connect them to the main computer.

Embedded Operating System

An embedded operating system is system software that is developed to perform a specific task for a device like if we talk about microwave or fridge, so they are having their embedded operating system that is developed to perform a specific task they can not perform any other task and you can not make any changes in their programming.

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Operating Systems Market Share Worldwide – January 2021

Serial No.Operating SystemMarket Share
4OS X7.01%
Data taken from gs.statcounter.com

Components Of Operating System

After learning about what is an operating system and knowing the history of operating systems now we will learn about the components of operating system =>

  • Process management
  • Main-memory management
  • File management
  • I/O system management
  • Networking
  • Secondary-storage management
  • Protection system
  • Command interpreter system

After reading the list of the components of operating system now we will discus them in detail =>

Process Management

The task is executed by the CPU is referred to as a process. All process-related operations are handled by the process management. E.g. creation, deletion, suspension, resumption, process communication, synchronization, deadlock handling, scheduling process.

Main-Memory Management

Keep track of which parts of the memory are currently being used and by whom. This facility to know how much memory is free & occupied by which process.

Free the memory from the process after completion of execution. Decide which process is loaded into memory when memory space becomes available. Allocate and deallocate memory space as needed.

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File Management

A file is a collection of related information defined by its creator. The computer can store the files on the disk (secondary storage), which provide long term storage. It performs creation/deletion of files or directories, backup of files on stable storage media, files security, maintains the backup of files.

I/O System Management

I/O system management is major function of an OS which manages the I/O system inclusive of hardware.


Networking is a technology used to connect multiple computers in a network. It allows computer users to share resources and speed up computations.

Secondary-Storage Management

Following are the major activity=>

  • Managing the free space available on the secondary storage device.
  • Allocation of the storage when new files have to be written.
  • Scheduling the requests for memory access.

Protection System

If a computer system has multiple users & if it is allowing the concurrent execution of multiple processes, then the various processes must be protected from each other’s activities.

Command Interpreter System

Command interpreter is the interface between user and OS. The user gives commands which are executed by the OS. The main function of a Command interpreter is to get & execute the user-specified command.

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Functions Of Operating System

After learning what is an operating system, history, and components of operating system, now we will learn main functions of operating system=>

  1. Execute user programs efficiently and make solving user problems easier.
  2. Make the computer system convenient to use for end-user.
  3. Use the computer hardware and resources efficiently.
  4. Allows effective development, testing, and introduction of new system functions without interfering with services.
  5. provide user interface
  6. manage hardware resources
  7. Start and shut down a computer
  8. Configure system devices
  9. Manage computer memory
  10. Coordinates different tasks within a system
  11. Establish and manage internet connection

Features Of Operating System

We have learned what is an operating system now its time to learn about the features of operating system=>

  • Graphical user interface (GUI)
  • Multitasking
  • Multiprocessing
  • Multi-user

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

GUI (Graphical user interface) operating system contains graphics and icons and is commonly navigated and control by a computer mouse.


  • The operating system is capable of allowing multiple software and process to run on the system same time.
  • Multitasking increases CPU utilization and system performance.
  • The most modern operating systems of this era are multitasking.


  • Operating systems are capable of supporting multiple processors in the computer systems.
  • Multiple processors on a single chip that increases system performance.
  • Dual-core, quad-core, octa-core, and hexa-core processors are available.


The operating system allows multiple users to use the same computer system simultaneously without disturbing each other services.

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Characteristics Of Operating System

Here are the some common characteristics of operating system=>

  • User Friendly
  • Keep track of the status of each resource in the system
  • Allows sharing of system resources include software and hardware
  • Provide strong security features
  • Convenient to use

What Is A Kernel

If you use a computer or any smartphone, then you have must listen about the kernel, as we have also mentioned kernel 2-3 times in our post, so you may want to know what is a kernel, so let’s explore the answer to this question =>

The kernel is the main/central part of the operating system that works as a bridge between hardware and applications and manages & authorize all programs and processes.


Every device like android, IOS, and the computer uses an operating system that has a kernel, and if you want to capture a picture from your phone, then the application will need to access the camera, fleshlight, and storage of your phone to capture and store that picture.

So the kernel manages all these tasks and grants permission to applications to access system hardware, it also handles the memory management, allocation, deallocation, and so on.

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32-Bit VS 64-Bit Operating System

There are two types of operating systems according to their memory size, before learning the difference between them we should learn what is Bit?

What Is Bit

Computer understand binary language(1,0) and keeps all records in this 1,0 form, Bit is a measurement of the memory that indicates how much data can be stored in a device,

A bit is the smallest size of the memory, 1 Bit means the device can only store 1 word and as Bit increases, it increases the storage size of the device like shown in the image


Here we have learned what is a Bit now we will learn difference between 32 bit and 64 bit operating system

32-Bit VS 64-Bit Operating System

Serial No.Function32-Bit Operating System64-Bit Operating System
1Installation32-Bit OS can be installed on 32-bit and 64-bit processors64-Bit OS can be installed on 64-bit processors only
2StorageIt can store only 4 GB of DataIt can store only 16 EB(Exabyte) of Data
3RAMOnly 4 GB RAM can be installed on 32-bit OSUp to 16 EB RAM can be installed on 64-bit OS
4Memory UseIf you install more than 4 GB RAM on 32-bit OS then it will only use 4 GB RAM and the rest memory will be rest useless.If you install 64-bit OS on a 64-bit processor then as much RAM you will install as much it will improve the performance as the OS will utilize whole memory.

Those were some differences between 32-bit OS and 64-bit OS, and now we know that because of the limitations of the 32-bit processors and OS, 64-bit processors were invented and for those processors 64-bit operating systems were invented.


Here we have learned all about operating system like What Is An Operating System, different types of operating systems, components of operating system, and all if you like our this post then please share your views via comments and also read our other posts to get more information on other technology and blogging related topics.

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