Have you ever wondered how you are able to control the various parts of a computer system? i.e. Mouse, Keyboard, etc. according to your wish.
The operating system plays a major role in linking the two major parts of a computer system. i.e. hardware and software. So, that end-user can perform the function they intend to.
In this article, we are going to learn about the operating system, its advantages, and disadvantages of operating systems. Before moving ahead it’s good to have a basic understanding of Operating systems, then we will proceed further with its advantages and disadvantages.
What is an Operating System?
An Operating System (OS) is system software that acts as an interface or inherits the communication between end-user and system. An operating system is an essential part of a computer system that helps the user to run various other software. i.e. MS Office, calculator, Games, Notepad, etc.
Operating System helps us to communicate with machines without knowing machine language. Without an operating system, it is impossible for the user to run a computer system or a mobile device.
Examples of the Operating System
Microsoft Windows is a graphical user interface operating system. The oldest of all Microsoft operating systems is MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system).
Microsoft windows have mostly dominated the space of personal computers.
The features of the windows operating system are-
- Controls data storage.
- Allows the interaction of end-users with the help of various peripherals.
The Mac-OS is designed and developed in 1984, by Apple Inc. to be installed and operated on the Apple series of desktops. It’s a graphical user interface operating system.
The features of the Mac-OS operating system are-
- iCloud users can sync and access the content via different devices.
- Users can communicate with each other using messages and face time.
Linux is an open-source operating system. It is one of the most popular and widely used kernels.
The features of the Linux-OS operating system are-
- Free of cost.
- Portable to any platform.
- Linux is scalable.
- Linux OS and Linux applications have very short debugging time.
Features of Operating System
Booting Process – Whenever we turn on the computer it starts the booting process the OS is the first system that is loaded on the computer.
User Interface – An operating system provides a basic user interface for users to control several types of activities on the computer. It has two types of user interfaces.
- Graphic Interface
- Command Interface
Security – The OS prevents unauthorized access to the various programs and user data installed on the computer. It does so by using password protection techniques.
Memory Management – The operating system handles the memory management of the computer system such as Main Memory, Virtual Memory, and Primary Memory.
I/O Device Management – Operating System is one that handles various input devices and communicates with them through their respective drivers.
Error Detection – Operating System continuously monitors the system to look for major bugs and errors.
Coordination – The operating system manages the coordination between various software and users.
Various other roles of the operating system include:-
- Device Management
- Files Management
- Resource allocation
- Printing Accountability
- Deadlock Presentation
- Virtual Storage Space
Components Of Operating System
The operating system has two components that are used to perform the above-mentioned tasks these components are-
Shell – It is the outermost layer of the operating system and handles the user interaction. Shell helps the user to communicate via computer system via taking commands from input devices.
Kernel – Kernel is the core component of an operating system and it provides the basic level of control to all the peripherals of a computer system. It is responsible for computer resources and memory management.
Advantages of Operating System
- User Friendly – With the advent of GUI (Graphical User Interface) the operating systems have become user-friendly. It helps the user easily in understanding, communicating, and interacting with the system.
- Multi-tasking – An operating system is very useful in multitasking.
- Versatile – An operating system is versatile as it can be installed on several other computers.
- Helps to run programs – With the modern operating systems users can easily run their choice of software without learning to code. Unlike in DOS or UNIX operating where users need to write commands to perform their tasks pr run software.
- Prevents Unauthorized Access – As the operating system is password protected thus it helps in preventing unauthorized access and thus safeguarding the user data.
- Resource Sharing – The operating system helps in managing the resources such as RAM, ROM, Harddisks, etc. It also helps users to perform direct tasks such as arithmetic calculations, processing of data, and many more.
- Easily Upgradable – The operating system is easily upgradable thus meeting the users day to day demands. Even if there is a bug or error the developers are keen to fix them and a new update is released which is easily downloadable and updates the OS.
Several other advantages of operating systems are:
- It is adaptable to change.
- Easily affordable
- Easy to configure hardware
- Makes computer a useful machine
- Cloud Sharing
- Hide Complexity
- Batch Processing(Eases multitasking).
Disadvantages of Operating System
- High Price – Until and unless it’s an open-source system all the other operating systems are considered expensive. The closed source operating system comes with various pre-loaded and handy features. i.e. Microsoft Windows Operating system.
- Requires Training – Although it is easy to use, but in case of a crash or troubleshooting the user needs to have some knowledge and skills of the operating system as well as computer.
- Difficult to install – The installation of the operating system requires a series of steps and settings, thus the users having knowledge of computers and OS can install them.
- Virus Threats – OS has a high threat to a virus attack as many users tend to download malicious software from the internet without proper knowledge thus making the OS slower.
- Complexity – Operating Systems are highly complex in nature and the language used to develop them is not clear and well defined. The language can not be understood by a basic user thus making them difficult to troubleshoot in case of any problem.
- Reliability:- An operating system is a very important component for any computer. Without OS the computer is just a piece of hardware. Thus, any kind of error or failure in the operating system will affect the whole computer.
- Non-Transferable:- Operating Systems are non-transferrable.It means that you cant take the OS on a hard disk and install it on another computer. To do so requires uninstalling the OS in the previous system.
- Fragmentation:- It is an unwanted problem where storage memory is broken into small sizes and these blocks remain unused. And if a process or task requires more space it can get allocated causing insufficient storage space.
Various other disadvantages of Operating System are-
- Large size thus requires more space.
- Need inner fracture.
- Has broadened memory access time.
- Needs Improvement using TLB (Translation Lookaside Buffer).
That’s all about the operating systems with their advantages, disadvantages, and features. Hoping that the article will help you in learning some new things and refreshing your knowledge if you are well known of operating systems(OS).Thanks for reading.
Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.