Operating Systems

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What is an operating system?[edit]

An operating system is software that manages and organises that computer's resources and basic functions, including:

  • User interface
  • Memory
  • Processing time
  • Security
  • Peripherals (e.g. printers, hard drives)
  • multi tasking
  • manages arrors


Examples of operating systems include Linux, Windows and Mac OS.

Mobile phones and hand-held devices have different operating systems, designed specifically for them, e.g. Android, Apple iOS and Windows Phone. They don't contain all the features of a traditional desktop or laptop computer, but perform a similar role, linking the user to the software and the hardware.

Ideas for the classroom[edit]

Ask students to consider the similarities and differences between operating systems - they could make a poster/fact sheet/presentation to illustrate.