9 Types of Operating System.11 Functions, Pros/Cons, Definition, History, Etc.

Types of Operating System

In this article, we are going to read about what is an operating system of a Computer. Functions, types of operating system, history, needs, and examples of OS used in computers.

What is an Operating System (OS)?

An operating system (OS) is the most important software or program, designed to run other programs on a computer.

An operating system is a program (system software) that acts as a Manager or bridge between the user and computer hardware.

You can also say that this is the backbone of a computer because it can manage both software and hardware resources.

An OS can manage files on a computer’s hard drives and control systems, like printers and scanners.

OS checks and monitors different programs and users, making sure everything runs smoothly, without interference, despite the fact that many devices and programs are used non-stop.

A Computer system can be logically divided into four components: Computer Hardware, Operating system, Application programs, and Users.

An operating system controls and coordinates the hardware components (CPU, Memory, I/O devices) among various application programs for different users.

An OS has two main objectives:

  • Convenience: An OS makes a computer more Easy and convenient to use.
  • Efficiency: An OS allows computer resources to be used in an efficient manner.

This is similar to a government, Like a Government, it performs no useful work by itself. It only gives you an environment to do your work.

The operating system is also called a Resource Manager. OS manages all computer resources and allocates, them to a specific program, and uses them as required to complete its task, So they are also called Resource Allocator.

Needs of Operating System

  • OS is mainly famous because of its Multitasking feature, which means you can do multiple tasks at a time without having any problem.
  • The file Management feature is also important to organize your data in a systematic way.
  • Today, it is not possible to use a computer without having an operating system, because no one wants to do coding for opening their file manager or something else. So, This is the most important software for all Daily users who works at their computer.
  • It also helps other software to perform easily and smoothly.
  • You can easily manage all tasks performed on your system with just a few clicks, this is the power of an OS.

Can a computer run without an operating system?

It is not necessary to have an operating system to use a computer. Some special-purpose computers do not have an operating system.

But in each computer, the duties of the OS are taken by the application code. A computer system has the ability to run various programs.

If we are not using the operating system then each application performed on a computer would have to program its own OS services.

An OS is useful because it contains a library of reusable services.

It implements many necessary features that are used by nearly every program.

So, it is a good approach to implement them once, in the operating system, rather than in each application program.

History Of Operating System

In 1950, the first Operating system was developed to manage tape storage. In the later 1950, IBM 701, is the first system where OS is implemented by the general motors research lab.

After 10 years later OS started using Disks and in the same year (1960) the first version of UNIX OS was invented.

Types of Operating System of computer

In this article you can read about 9 types of operating systems (examples of operating system), to understand the key requirements for an OS and the significance of the major features of an OS, it is useful to consider how OS has evolved over the years.

Serial Processing

In earlier computers from the 1940s to the mid-1950s, the programmer was only able to interact directly with the hardware. There was no operating system.

These machines are called with the computer as Bare Machine. Resources of these systems are dedicated to a single program until its completion.

Every computer system is programmed in its machine language which was a cumbersome job.

Programs were developed by manually translating sequences of instructions into binary or some other code whose base is an integral power of 2.

Programs are started by loading the program counter ( PC) with the base address (address of first instruction).

Data was entered through a hexadecimal keyboard. Results can be obtained by examining the contents of registers and memory locations. As a result, programming on the Bare machine results in low productivity.

Batch Processing

Early machines were very expensive so it was important to maximize machine use. The wasted time caused by scheduling and set up time was unacceptable.

To improve the usage, the concept of batch processing was evolved. A batch is defined as a group of jobs with similar needs. The operating system allows users to form batches.

The computer executes each batch sequentially, processing all jobs of a batch considering them as a single process is called batch processing.

The main idea behind the batch processing scheme was the use of software called Monitor. With the use of this type of OS, the user does not have direct access to the machine.


A single program cannot keep either CPU or I/O devices busy at all times. Multiprogramming increases CPU utilization by organizing jobs in such a manner that the CPU has always one job to execute.

If the computer is required to run several programs at the same time, the processor could be kept busy most of the time by switching its attention from one program to the next.

Additionally, I/O transfers could overlap the processor activity i.e., while one program is waiting for an I/O transfer, another program can use the processor. So CPU never sits idle or if comes in an idle state then after a very small time it is again busy.

Multitasking or Time-Sharing System

In such systems, more than one user interacts with the system at the same time.

The switching of CPU between two users is so fast that it gives the impression to the user that he is only working on the system but actually it is shared among different users.

Multitasking operating systems are more complex than Multiprogramming operating systems.

Network Operating System

An OS, which includes software to communicate with other computers via a network, is called a network operating system.

This allows resources such as files, application programs, and printers to be shared among computers. Such operating systems are specialized to provide various networking services.

Client-Server OS

A Client-server machine (figure 1.8) requires some specific software components. A computer system in which a server program is installed to provide various services for their client is called a server while other machines on which

A machine that works as a server cannot provide any client functionality. On a Novell server, the user cannot run a word processing application whereas Microsoft’s NT server and UNIX server can run client programs also.

Peer-to-Peer OS

A computer in a Peer-to-peer Network can work as a server or client, i.e. it requires both server and client software. Windows NT and Windows 95 both are Peer-to-Peer operating system that includes many services and utilities that facilitates networking.

Distributed Operating System

A distributed OS easily controls and manages the hardware and software resources of a distributed system.

The basic design issue of a distributed OS is the same as in a traditional operating system, viz. process synchronization, deadlocks, scheduling, file systems, inter-process communication, memory management, etc.

But some additional features like the absence of both shared memory and global clock, and unpredictable communication delays make the design of distributed operating systems very difficult. For example, Alpha, Kernel, Amoeba, Mach are few examples of distributed operating systems.

Multiprocessor Operating System

A multiprocessor OS controls and manages the hardware and software resources such that the user can view the entire system as a powerful uniprocessor system.

The design issues of this OS are similar to the general-purpose operating system but the issues of process synchronization, task scheduling, memory management, security, and protection become more complex since the main memory is shared among many physical processors.

Real-Time Operating System

The primary objective of the Real-Time Operating system is to provide quick response time and thus to meet a scheduling deadline. User convenience and resource utilization are secondary concerns to these systems.

Real-time systems have many events that must be accepted and processed in a short time or within a certain deadline. Such applications include:

Rocket launching, flight control, robotics, real-time simulation, telephone switching equipment etc.

Real-time systems are classified into two categories:

Soft Real-Time System: If certain deadlines are missed then the system continues its working with no failure but its performance degrades.

Hard Real-Time System: If any deadline is missed then the system will fail to work or does not work properly.

Modern Operating System

A modern operating system cannot use a uniform strategy for all processes. It must use a strategy that is relatable for each individual process.

For example, a user may open a mail handler, edit files, execute some programs, and may watch a video at the same time. Here, the execution of a program may be interactive and may involve activity in another node of a distributed system and video watching is a soft real-time activity.

Thus, a modern operating system uses most concepts and techniques that we discussed in connection with batch processing, multiprogramming, time-sharing, real-time, and distributed operating systems.

Functions of Operating System

The 11 functions of an operating system are used to organize and control hardware and software.

Regardless of the size of the computer, however, most of the OS provides similar functions. Below we discuss the functions of the operating system

Starting a Computer

Starting the computer is the first and main function of the operating system. Without starting the system you can’t able to do any kind of work.

The process of starting or restarting a computer is called booting.

 When a computer is turned on after its complete shutdown, you are performing a cold boot.

A warm boot is a process of restarting a computer that already is powered ON.

Each time when you boot your computer, the kernel and other frequently used operating system instructions are loaded, or copied from the hard disk to Random Access Memory(RAM) called computer’s memory

Shut Down Options

After starting option this is also an important function, Some users never shut their system because of their heavy work, some users shut down their system, and some only sleep their system.

Whenever you press the Power button on a desktop computer, it may place the computer in sleep mode or hibernate it.

Pressing and holding down the Power button may remove all power from the computer.

Closing the lid on a notebook computer may place the computer in a low-power state.

The operating system also usually presents shut down options in menus, dialog boxes, or other means.

The User Interface

A user interface controls the procedure of your data entry and instructions entry as well, as the display of information on the screen.

You can interact or connect with software because of its user interface, There are two types of user interfaces.

  • Command-line User Interface
  • Graphical User Interface

Approximately all operating systems use this combination of these two interfaces to define how you can able to interact with your computer.

Typing with the keyboard to enter data and instructions in the computers are because of the command-line interface.

Advanced users work with a command-line interface To configure devices, manage system resources, and troubleshoot network connections, network administrators.

Managing Programs

Systems having single-user functionality can support only one running program. Others can handle thousands of users running multiple programs.

Your productivity may be directly affected, depending on how an operating system handles programs.

A single user or single-tasking operating system allows only one user at a time to run one program. You must quit one program before you can run the other program.

The operating system allows a single user or person to work on two or more programs at the same time  Multitasking

You don’t have to quit one program to run other programs because both programs can run at the same time.

Operating system enables two or more users to run a program simultaneously- Multiuser

Networks, mid-range servers, mainframes, and supercomputers allow hundreds to thousands of users to connect at the same time.

An operating system can support two or more processors that run programs at the same time -multiprocessing

Multi-processing increases a computer’s processing speed.

Managing Memory

Memory management is used to optimize the use of random access memory (RAM).

Random Access Memory consists of one or more chips on the motherboard that hold items temporarily such as data and instructions while the processor interprets and executes them.

The operating system allocates or assigns, these items to an area of memory while they are being processed.

Then, it also carefully monitors the contents of memory. In the end, the operating system clears or deletes these items from memory when the processor no longer needs them.

Monitoring Performance

Operating systems typically contain a performance monitor. A performance monitor is a type of program that evaluates and reports information about the various computer resources and devices.

For example, you can easily monitor the processor, disks, memory, and network usage. A performance monitor also can check the number of reads and writes to a file.

The information in performance reports helps users and administrators to identify a problem with resources so that they can try to resolve any problems.

If your computer is running extremely slow, the performance monitor may determine that you are using the computer’s might consider installing additional memory.

Providing Housekeeping Services

File manager is a program in operating systems that perform functions related to storage and file management.

Some of the functions of operating system (Housekeeping services) are formatting and copying disks; displaying a list of files on a storage medium; checking the amount of used or free space on a storage copying, renaming, deleting, moving, medium; organizing, and sorting files.

Preparing a disk for reading and writing is known as Formatting. Most floppy and hard disk manufacturers perform at their disks.

For formatting a floppy disk, you should issue a formatting command to the operating system.

Controlling a Network

Some operating systems control the networking and are known as network operating systems.

A system that supports a network called a network operating system (network OS) This is a type of operating system.

This is a collection of computers and devices connected with each other via communications media and devices such as cables, modems, and telephone lines.

Some networks are wireless, that is, using no physical lines or wires.

A network OS organizes how (more than one) multiple users access and share resources on the network.

Resources include programs, files and devices such as printers and drives.

Administering Security

When network administrators establish user accounts, each account typically requires a user name and password to access or log on to the network.

After entering your user name and password, the operating system compares your entries with a list of authorized user names and passwords.

If your entries match the user name and password kept on file, the operating system grants you access.

If the entries do not match, the operating system denies you access. The operating system also makes a list of successful and unsuccessful log-on attempts in a file.

This process allows the network administrator to check who is using or trying to use the computer.

Accessing the Web

Web connections can be established with the help provided by the operating system.

For example, The internet connection wizard guides you through the process of setting up a connection between your internet service provider and computer.

Web browsers and e-mail programs are also provided by some operating systems, which enables you to begin using the Web and communicate with others as soon as you set up connections.

Configuring Devices

A driver also called a device driver is a small program that tells the operating system how to communicate with any device.

Each and every device on a computer, for example, mouse, keyboard, monitor, scanner, and printer, has its own specific set of commands and also requires its own specific driver.

When you boot any system, the operating system loads each device’s driver. These devices can’t able to function without their correct drivers.

In starting, installing a new hardware device required setting switches and other elements on the motherboard.

Today, installation is very easy because most of the devices and operating systems support Plug and Play.

Plug and Play mean the computer can recognize a new device and assist you in its installation by loading the necessary drivers automatically and checking for conflicts with other devices.

With this Plug and Play, anyone can plug in a device, turn on the computer and then use, or play, the device easily without having to configure anything in the system manually.

Advantages of Operating System

  • OS gives you an interface that is very easy to understand and use.
  • It is very helpful to monitor resources.
  • It responds very fast.
  • Act as a manager between all hardware and the software of the computer.
  • It can easily connect and share resources like fax, printer, etc.
  • You can easily handle your all operations like disk management, software, output, and input devices.

Disadvantages of Operating System

  • The Cost of operating software is much more expensive than some hardware.
  • You can lose your all data from the system when an error has occurred on the operating Software.
  • Need a monthly or quarterly update to stay secure from viruses, or cyber-attacks, Security is the main concern.
  • Any user can easily use your system without any permission.

But Overall It is quite worth it, you need an easy interface, to work on your system that an OS gives you.

You don’t need to learn coding languages to operate your system. Even a small child can use your system after 2-4 practices.

Most Used Types of Operating system

There are too many OS available in the market but windows & Mac OS are the market leaders in computer OS. The other one is the Linux OS, This OS is very few users all over the world.


Microsoft developed Windows around November 20, 1985, from that day they have also launched too many versions of their OS like-

MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista (2007), Windows 7 (2009), Windows 8, and the most recent Windows 10 (2015).

They are pre-loaded on most PCs which makes them very popular all over the world.

The market share of Computer OS of Windows is approx 90% and 40% share in comparison with all types of an operating system (Mobile phones).

The price of Windows OS is the main reason behind the popularity of this OS, This is affordable for all of us.


Mac OS previously Called OS X, This is developed by Apple in March 2001. Approximately 16 years later after windows.

It also comes Pre-loaded with all Apple laptops. The market share of Computer OS Of Mac OS is 10% and 4.5% share in comparison with all types of OS.

The price is the main reason behind the popularity of this OS, It is very expensive in front of other OS.


This is an open-source type of operating system available for all for absolutely free, which means anyone can install this OS in their system.

You can customize this OS according to your use, not like other OS that can be only managed by their respective authorities. But You need some Computer language knowledge to customize this.

17 September 1991 was the date when LINUX is introduced to the world after that there are many versions that come to give stability and some Improvements.

Market share of Linux r is 1% Across all OS over the world.


This is the full article on types of the operating systems, Examples, and many other details, so if you liked and found this helpful please share this with your friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Relation Between System Software and Operating System.

System software is a collection of programs designed to operate the computer and control it. Examples of system Software:-
Operating system:- Windows, IOS, MAC OS, Linux, etc.
Utility software:- File Manager, Disk Cleaner, Uninstaller, etc.

What is Shareware Software?

Copyrighted software that is distributed at no cost for a trial period. After the trial you have to pay for further use.

What is Driver?

A small program that tells the OS how to communicate and interact with a device

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