An operating system or OS is a software that enables the computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer and software programs would be useless. The picture to the right is an example of Microsoft Windows XP. a popular operating system and what the box may look like if you were to purchase it from a local retail store.
Operating System types
As computers have progressed and developed, so have the operating systems. Below is a basic list of the types of operating systems and a few examples of operating systems that fall into each of the types. Many computer operating systems will fall into more than one of the below types.
GUI - Short for Graphical User Interface, a GUI operating system contains graphics and icons and is commonly navigated by using
a computer mouse. See the GUI definition for a complete definition. Examples of GUI operating systems are:
Multi-user - A multi-user operating system allows for multiple users to use the same computer at the same time and different times. See the multi-user definition for a complete definition. Examples of operating systems that would fall into this category are:
Multiprocessing - An operating system capable of supporting and utilizing more than one computer processor. Examples of operating systems that would fall into this category are:
Multitasking - An operating system that is capable of allowing multiple software processes to run at the same time. Examples of operating systems that would fall into this category are:
Multithreading - Operating systems that allow different parts of a software program to run concurrently. Examples of operating systems that would fall into this category are: