Types of Operating System

Types of Operating System

The operating system (or OS) is a set of special programs that run on a computer system that allow it to work properly. They help it to load and save data; to communicate; and to run other programs (applications software). Because there are different types of computer, and different uses for them, there are different types of operating system.

Batch Operating Systems

a batch of serial commands

Some computer systems, especially some of the early ones, only did one thing at a time. They had a list of instructions to carry out - and these would be carried out, one after the other. This is called a serial system.

Sometimes, if there was a lot of work to be done, then collections of these instructions would be given to the computer to work on overnight. Because the computer was working on batches of instructions the type of operating system was called a Batch Operating System.

Batch operating systems are good at churning through large numbers of repetitive jobs on large computers. Jobs like: working out the pay of each employee in large firm; or processing all the questionnaire forms in a large survey.

Multitasking Operating Systems

Multi-tasking operating systems are now very common. They enable the computer to run more than one piece of software at the same time. It is quite cmmon to sit at your computer and have a word-processor open and running, as well as an Internet browser, and an audio CD player all at the same time.

The operating system allows you to switch between the applications and even transfer data between them (for example, it helps you to copy a picture from an internet site shown on your browser application and paste it into your DTP application).

Multitasking operating systems allow a user to do more than one thing at the same time.

two applications running at the same time

Multiuser Operating Systems

setting up a network for many users

Multiuser operating systems are used on networks of computers and allow many different users to access the same data and application programs on the same network. It also allows users to communicate with each other.

There are many different types of Network Operating System, each one suited to a different type of network.

Now answer these questions:

  1. What sort of system runs sets of commands one after the other ?
  2. What is a collection of instructions called ?
  3. What sort of OS would you use to run more than one program?
  4. What sort of OS would be best to work out a lot of pay-slips ?
  5. What OS would you use on a network?

You scored out of 5 on that test