Ultimate Guide To Operating System Types, Examples, and Functions

Definition: An operating system (OS) is a set of software applications that performs machine operations in a computer. An OS manages hardware and software resources and provides common services for software applications to use. OS always manages the state of a computer’s components such as input/output devices, files, and storage devices.

The operating system is the heart of any computer; it controls all of the hardware components. It has a primary function of running programs, which are instructions that tell the computer how to perform tasks. The operating system can be either open source or proprietary software such as Linux or Windows OS.

Table of Contents

  1. Types of Operating Systems
  2. Features of Operating System
  3. Functions of Operating System
  4. Examples Operating System
  5. Summary

Types Of Operating Systems

1. Batch processing operating system

Batch processing operating systems are designed to handle large amounts of data. They require a great deal of memory, and they tend to be slow. They are useful for doing things like keeping track of inventory or controlling machinery.

2. Network operating system

A network operating system (NOS) is computer software that controls and manages the network devices on a network. It is used to control communication between multiple computers, networks, and applications. It provides basic functions such as network setup, routing, traffic management, security, and management of devices on the network.

Network operating systems are generally classified into two types: server-based NOS and client-based NOS. Server-based network operating systems are designed for large enterprises, such as Internet service providers (ISPs) or corporations, while client-based network operating systems are designed for smaller networks that consist of personal computers and other networking devices.

3. Multitasking Operating System

A multitasking operating system is a computer operating system that allows multiple tasks to be performed at once. Multitasking allows a user to switch between tasks and applications, accessing data or performing other functions in the middle of one task without disrupting any other running processes or programs.

4. Multiprocessing Operating System

Multiprocessing operating systems allow multiple processing units to run multiple applications at the same time on a single machine. This is important because it allows users to share resources such as disk space, RAM, and processors more effectively than with a single-user system.

Multiprocessing operating systems are often used in combination with virtual memory or paging. These features provide high availability for mission-critical applications that require reliability and predictability from their environment.

5. Real-Time Operating System

Real-time operating systems are categories of operating systems that attempt to provide guarantees about the timing of system behavior. They guarantee an accurate response to interrupts and therefore provide for a high degree of performance in real-time applications, such as industrial control and robotics.

Real-time systems often have strict deadlines; if a process does not complete its task by its deadline, it will be terminated by the operating system.

6. Distributed Operating System

Distributed operating system (DOS) is a type of computer operating system that distributes the processing tasks of the system among several computers. Such systems are typically used for large networks or for processing tasks that cannot be done by a single computer. The term also refers to any network-based operating system.

Distributed systems may use a variety of different protocols to distribute data and control information. These protocols may include TCP/IP, HTTP, UDP/IP, and Gnutella protocols.

7. Mobile Operating System

A mobile operating system (OS) is software that has been developed for use on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

They typically include support for input methods such as touchscreen and stylus input, while they may also include handwriting recognition, camera phone photography, video recording, and playback capabilities.

Features Of Operating Systems

Following are some of the features of the OS;


Operating systems can support a large number of users and devices simultaneously without crashing or hanging up on any particular user or device.


The operating system performs correctly and efficiently in all possible situations. It does not crash or suffer from any type of error during normal operation. It allows the user to modify it easily, allowing for future enhancements or additions.

User friendly

Operating systems are designed to be simple, allowing the user to get up and running quickly without having to spend much time learning how to use the software.

Functions Of Operating System

Below are the functions of the Operating System:

a) Memory Management

The operating system provides several services related to memory management. It maintains a list of all allocated blocks, called a block map (or block table), which contains information about each block’s size and location in memory. The operating system also maintains the list of free blocks, which indicates where available memory can be found. Each time a new page is needed for an application, it must be marked as free in this list before the program can use it.

b) Device management

The OS component ensures that each hardware device on the computer supports the correct version of the software in use and that it has the correct driver installed.

c) File management

Helps manage file systems, networks, printers, etc. used by applications running on top of the operating system.

d) Security

The operating system prevents users from accessing any information or resources that they are not authorized to access. The operating system also keeps track of all processes and services running on the computer at all times, so that it can ensure that no process has enough privileges to access any other resource.

e) Resource management

It allocates resources to applications, such as computing power and storage space. This includes allocating processor time, managing memory, facilitating communication between users, and providing common services for applications.

f) Process Management

It manages processes or applications by creating, destroying, renaming them, etc.

g) Input/output Management

It controls what is written to the disk or input device and what is read from the disk or output device of the computer.

Examples Operating Systems

There are many different examples of operating systems. Some of them include:

1. Windows OS

Microsoft’s most widely used operating system. It is used on PCs, laptops, and desktops. Windows has been around since 1985 and has gone through many changes over the years.

2. MacOS

Apple’s operating system. It is used on Macs computers.

3. Linux

Another open-source operating system that is free to download and use. It is also free to develop and use in many different ways.

4. Android

Android OS
Android OS

A mobile operating system developed by Google. The OS popularity is growing rapidly due to its wide range of apps that can be downloaded from the play store (Google Play).

5. iOS

It is the mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. It powers iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. iOS is the successor to the iPhone OS series of operating systems.

6. Chrome OS

The Chrome operating system is the default operating system for Google Chrome that powers the Chromebooks.


An operating system is an important software that works as an interface between hardware and the user. The software works on different computers, servers, handheld devices, mobile phones, and many more.

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