Types of Operating Systems PDF

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Types of Operating Systems PDF is available for download from the link at the posts’ end. An operating system is software that acts as an intermediary between a user and the hardware of a computer, smartphone, or similar electronic device. It is the backbone of the functionality and utility quality of these devices. Operating systems vary depending on the device, manufacturer, and user preferences, and understanding them is crucial for anyone working in or interested in the information technology field. The aim of this article is to define what an operating system is, emphasize its importance, and discuss the different types of operating systems in use today.

Historyof Operating Sytems

▪ The history of operating systems dates back to the invention of the first computer, the Z1, in 1936-1938.

▪ However, Z1 was a motor-driven mechanical computer designed by Konrad Zuse which runs without an operating system. The first operating system was not developed until 1956.

▪ In the 1960s, Bell Labs began work on Unix, the first multitasking operating system. It was designed to allow multiple users to run different applications at the same time on a single machine.

▪ In 1977, the Apple series was launched, with Apple DOS 3.3 becoming the first disk operating system. It enables users to save and retrieve data from a hard disk.

▪ In 1981, Microsoft purchased the 86-DOS software from the Seattle company and created its first DOS operating system. It is a command-line interface operating system that allows users to interact with the computer through text commands.

▪ The most famous Microsoft operating system, Windows, was introduced in 1985 when MS-DOS was coupled with the GUI, a graphics environment. It made it easier for users to interact with the computer through graphical icons and menus.

▪ Over the years, operating systems have undergone significant changes and advancements. Today, we have a variety of operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, each with its own features and capabilities.

What are Operating Systems?

▪ An operating system (OS) acts as a software interface that enables communication between the user and the device hardware. It allows users to interact with the device and perform desired functions.

▪ To manage computer programs and applications, the operating system uses two key components: Kernel, and Shell.

The Kernel

▪ The Kernel is the main internal component that processes data at the hardware level. It handles input-output operations, as well as memory and process management.

The Shell

▪ Shell is the outer layer that facilitates interaction between the user and the OS. The shell communicates with the operating system by accepting input from the user or shell scripts. A shell script is a collection of system commands stored in a file.

Operating System Basic Structure
Operating System Basic Structure (Photo Credit: mygreatlearning)

What are the Functions of Operating Systems

An operating system has countless functions such as booting, memory management, data security, device control, and more. In this article, we will discuss each of these functions briefly.

Booting the Computer

▪ The process of starting or restarting a computer is called booting. It can be either a cold boot, which occurs when the computer is turned on after being completely turned off, or a warm boot, which involves using the operating system to restart the computer.

Performs basic computer tasks

▪ One of the primary functions of an operating system is to manage peripheral devices like mice, keyboards, and printers. Most modern operating systems are plug-and-play, meaning that they can automatically detect and configure devices like printers without any user intervention.

Provides a user interface

▪ Another essential feature of an operating system is providing a user interface, which allows users to interact with software. There are two main types of user interfaces: command line and graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Command line interfaces involve users typing specific commands to perform tasks, while GUIs rely on using a mouse to access windows, icons, and menus.

Handles system resources

▪ Operating systems also manage system resources such as memory, CPU time, and input/output bandwidth. Programs and input methods are in constant competition for these resources, but the operating system ensures that each application gets the resources it needs to maximize the overall system’s functionality.

Provides file management

▪ Finally, operating systems provide file management services, which involve organizing and tracking files and directories saved or retrieved from the computer’s disk. File management allows users to create, rename, copy, move, and delete files. The operating system keeps track of where files are located on the hard drive using a file system, with the two main types being File Allocation Table (FAT) and New Technology File System (NTFS).

FileAllocation table (FAT)

▪ It uses the file allocation table which records, which clusters are used and unused and where files are located within the clusters.

New Technology File System (NTFS)

▪ It is a file system introduced by Microsoft and it has several advantages over the previous file system, named FAT32 (File Allocation Table).NTFS also allows permissions (such as read, write, and execute) to be set for individual directories and files

Functions of Operating System
Functions of the Operating System (Photo: mygreatlearning)

What are the Different Types of Operating Systems?

▪ There are different types of operating systems to support the computer system. Each operating system type offers distinct facilities appropriate to the computer system in which it is used.

Single-user, single-task Operating System

▪ An Operating System can be classified into different categories based on its functionality and design. The first type is the Single-user, single-task Operating System. It is designed to allow one user to perform a single task at a time. An example of a modern single-user, single-task operating system is the Palm OS for handheld computers.

Single-user, multi-tasking Operating System

▪ The second type is the Single-user, multi-tasking Operating System, commonly used in desktop and laptop computers today.

▪ Examples of this type include Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s MacOS platforms.

▪ This type of operating system allows a single user to run several programs at the same time. For instance, a Windows user can write a note in a word processor while downloading a file from the Internet and printing the text of an e-mail message.

Multi-user operating System

▪ The third type is the Multi-user Operating System, which allows multiple users to use the computer’s resources simultaneously.

▪ Examples of multi-user operating systems include Unix, VMS, and mainframe operating systems like MVS.

▪ The operating system must ensure that the requirements of various users are balanced and that each program they are using has sufficient resources so that a problem with one user does not affect the entire community of users.

Real-Time Operating System

▪ Real-Time Operating System is the fourth type, which controls the environment with a data processing system with a very small time interval required to process and respond to inputs.

▪ The time taken by the system to respond to an input and display the result of the inputted information is referred to as response time. The main goal of a real-time operating system is not high throughput but rather a guarantee of soft or hard performance.

▪ An RTOS that can deterministically meet a deadline is a hard real-time OS, while a soft real-time OS can generally meet a deadline.

Time-sharing operating system

▪ The fifth type is the Time-sharing Operating System, which enables many people located at various terminals to use a particular computer system at the same time. This type is also known as a multitasking operating system because the processor’s time is shared among multiple users simultaneously. The main objective of a Time-Sharing System is to minimize response time, unlike multi-programmed batch systems, whose primary purpose is to maximize processor use.

Distributed operating System

▪ Distributed Operating System: Distributed systems use several central processors to serve multiple real-time applications and different users. Data processing jobs are distributed among the processors so that one can perform each job most efficiently.

Network Operating System

▪ Finally, the Network Operating System runs on a server and manages data, users, groups, security, applications, and other networking functions. It allows shared file and printer access among multiple computers in a network. This type is also referred to as a Local Area Network (LAN) or private network.

▪ Examples of Network Operating Systems include Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X, Novell NetWare, and BSD.

Stand-Alone Operating System

▪ A stand-alone operating system is a complete operating system that can function independently on a desktop computer, notebook computer, or mobile computing device. Some stand-alone operating systems are referred to as client operating systems as they can work with a server operating system. These client operating systems can function with or without a network. Examples of popular stand-alone operating systems include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Microsoft Windows

▪ Microsoft Windows is a graphical user interface (GUI) operating system developed by Microsoft. It has various versions such as Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 with Windows 11 is the latest version.

▪ Windows operating system offers a user-friendly GUI, making it easy to use. Additionally, Windows 11 provides many file management options such as opening, renaming, printing, deleting, moving, and searching for files.

Windows Version List
Sl.NoWindows Operating SystemRelease Date
1Windows 1.0November 1985
2Windows 2.0December 1987
3Windows 3.0May 1990
4Windows 3.1April 1992
5Windows 95August 1995
6Windows 98June 1998
7Windows 2000February 2000
8Windows XPOctober 2001
9Windows VistaNovember 2006
10Windows 7July 2009
11Windows 8October 2012
12Windows 8.1October 2013
13Windows 10July 2015
14Windows 11October 2021

Mac OS

▪ Mac OS is a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh line of computer systems. It is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface that Macintosh users have come to love.

Linux Operating Systems

▪ Linux is a UNIX-based operating system freely available on the World Wide Web. Various companies such as Red Hat, Corel, and Mandrake create user-friendly versions of Linux that are available for purchase.

▪ One popular version is Red Hat Linux, which comes with the GNOME desktop environment that displays images to aid task performance.

▪ Linux is an open-source code operating system that can be copied, modified, and redistributed with minimal restrictions, contributing to its popularity among users.

Embedded Operating System

▪ Embedded Operating System refers to a computer that forms part of a different type of machine, such as computers in cars, traffic lights, digital televisions, ATMs, aeroplane controls, point of sale (POS) terminals, digital cameras, GPS navigation systems, elevators, digital media receivers, and smart meters.

▪ Embedded operating systems are typically limited in function and may only run a single application, which is essential to the device’s operation. Therefore, an embedded OS must be reliable and capable of running with memory, size, and processing power constraints.

▪ Thousands of connected embedded devices are built on Windows Embedded platforms, from portable ultrasound machines to GPS devices and ATMs to devices that power large construction machinery.

▪ Working with Windows Embedded Products can help yield faster time-to-market for devices and decrease development costs due to its comprehensive features, easy-to-use and familiar Microsoft development tools, free evaluation kits, and access to a large community support network.

Mobile Operating System

▪ Mobile Operating System is an operating system specifically designed to run on mobile devices, such as mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs (Personal Data Assistance), tablet computers, and other handheld devices.

▪ It serves as the software platform on top of which other programs, called application programs (Such as Android Apps), can run on mobile devices.

▪ Operating systems for mobile devices generally offer fewer features than those made for desktop or laptop computers, and they cannot run all the same software.

▪ Nevertheless, they can still perform numerous functions such as watching movies, browsing the web, managing calendars, and playing games.

▪ Examples of mobile operating systems include Apple iOS, Windows Phone, and Google Android.

Features of Operating Systems

Here is a list of some important features of operating systems:

  1. Provides a platform for running applications
  2. Handles memory management and CPU scheduling
  3. Supports application development
  4. Provides user interface
  5. Provides file system abstraction
  6. Provides utilities and system services
  7. Provides networking support
  8. Provides security features

Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Operating Systems

Features32-bit OS64-bit OS
MemoryCan address up to 4 GB (4,294,967,296 bytes) of RAMCan address more than 4 GB of RAM (usually up to 128 GB or more)
PerformanceMay be slower and less efficient when running resource-intensive applicationsGenerally faster and more efficient, especially when running resource-intensive applications
CompatibilityA 32-bit processor system will run only on 32-bit OS and not on 64-bit OS.A 64-bit processor system can run either a 32-bit or 64-bit OS
SecurityLess secure due to limitations on addressable memory and fewer security featuresMore secure due to increased addressable memory and more robust security features
ApplicationsCan run 32-bit applications, but not 64-bit applicationsCan run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications
CostOften less expensiveMay be more expensive due to increased capabilities and performance
Operating System RequirementsRequires a 32-bit processorRequires a 64-bit processor

Advantages of Operating System

There are several advantages of operating systems. We have listed some of them below:

  1. Ensuring correct and efficient use of the computer’s hardware.
  2. Allowing different applications to run concurrently.
  3. Managing files and folders.
  4. Providing a user interface.
  5. Managing security.
  6. Managing resources.
  7. Managing to print.
  8. Providing a platform for software development.

Disadvantages of Operating System

There are several disadvantages of operating systems. We have listed some of them below:

  • They can be complex and difficult to use.
  • They can be expensive to purchase and maintain.
  • They can be vulnerable to attacks from malicious users.


To conclude, with the increasing demand for technology in the future and the entry of younger generations such as Gen Alpha into the workforce, businesses will prioritize having an efficient and reliable operating system. The type of computer required will vary depending on the user’s or organisation’s specific needs and requirements. As technology continues to evolve, new types of computers may emerge to address emerging needs and applications. It is important to stay updated on the latest advancements to make informed decisions about the type of computer and operating system that will best suit the business’s or individual’s needs.

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