Q:

What are the characteristics of an operating system?

A:

Quick Answer

The defining characteristic of operating systems is the connection it provides between the hardware, the software and, in some cases, the user interface. Computers require an operating system in order to be used.

  Know More

Full Answer

All modern computers require some software to control, and the operating system is the most basic software available. While operating systems used on small devices may be relatively small and simple, popular operating systems like Windows, OSX and Linux provide drivers for a wide range of devices and a user interface.

The core part of an operating system is its kernel. Today, monolithic kernels are the most popular. These kernels provide a way for different computer processes to send messages to each other, and they manage the RAM that stores program information. Most kernels also provide device drivers to control monitors, input devices, disk drives and other peripherals.

In the past, software could only target a specific operating system, and programs had to be adjusted and compiled to run on different platforms. However, modern programs are designed to run on a range of supported platforms. Java is largely crediting as starting this trend, but Python, Ruby and other high-level programming platforms make it simple to port programs to new systems.

Learn more about Software

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you dual boot two operating systems?

    A:

    To dual-boot two operating systems in Windows 7, access the Disk Management settings window via the Control Panel, and create a separate hard drive partition. Insert the installation disc of the secondary OS you wish to install, and use the Custom option to modify and complete the installation process.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems?

    A:

    The main difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems is the type of processors they support, which determines the number of calculations per second they are able to perform. Furthermore, 32-bit operating systems can utilize only up to 4 gigabytes of RAM, whereas 64-bit systems support amounts over 4 GB.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the classification of an operating system?

    A:

    The classification of an operating system is a grouping that differentiates or identifies the operating system based on how it works, the type of hardware it controls and the applications it supports. The basic function of an operating system is to make the hardware usable and enable user applications to run as they are designed to.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a multitasking operating system used for?

    A:

    Multitasking operating systems delegate different computing processes and tasks access to the central processing unit in an efficient manner. This allows multiple jobs to be performed in conjunction with one another, with minimal impact on overall performance.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore