What Is an Operating System?

The operating system, or OS, is the first program that begins to run when a computer is turned on. It turns computer language into a human-interpreted form that programs can understand, and it manages the hardware to allow different applications to operate in a flexible way.

OSs also provide a platform for software development. They support the use of various input devices, such as keyboards and mice, and manage output, enabling printers and monitors to operate. They manage a computer’s main memory, allocating and deallocating space for multiple processes, and they allocate and swap processor time between running applications. This ensures that each process gets enough processing power to work efficiently and prevents programs from interfering with one another.

Most modern operating systems include an user interface (UI). This allows users to interact with a computer by providing buttons and menus that simplify tasks. This can be an integral part of the OS, such as Microsoft Corporation’s Windows or Apple’s Mac OS X, or it may be a separate application that depends on an operating system, such as the X Window System for UNIX and Apple’s macOS.

Operating systems continue to evolve to address emerging needs. For example, new chip architectures drive improvements in CPU performance, and artificial intelligence (AI) can be integrated into an OS to automate or streamline functions for greater convenience. In addition, accessibility refinements enable the system to better accommodate the limitations of vision, hearing, dexterity and other potential disabilities. Operating systems

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