You will be familiar with lots of different operating systems from the different computing devices that you use from Windows on the computers in school to Android or iOS on your mobile phones. There are lots of different operating systems available and their job is to manage the resources of a computer system.
Manages the User Interface – the first thing people notice when they use an operating system is the user interface. This is the method used to allow humans to interact with the system. Common GUIs use windows, icons, menus and pointers (WIMP) to allow users to interact with the system.
Manages input and output devices – facilitates communication between the computer and any peripheral devices.
Manages printing – Spooling is where files that are to be printed are stored in a queue and printed in order when the printer is ready. This allows the user to continue working rather than waiting for the individual files to print out.
Manages file storage – a filing systems is created to allow users to save files and access them later. Files are saved in a hierarchal directory structure.
File compression – the size of files are reduced to save storage space.
Disk de-fragmentation – files are often broken up to use up empty space on a hard drive – these are fragmented files. Disk de-fragementation in the process of rearranging all of these pieces of files to make them accessible more quickly.
Manages RAM – ensures that data is stored securely on RAM and that data is not overwritten by other programs.
Manages Processes – ensures that multiple programs or processes can use the CPU at the same time; this facilitates multitasking.
Manages Security – allows users to create accounts including user passwords and access rights.
For more details, check out BBC Bitesize.