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What Is an Operating System?

Operating systems are the software that runs behind the scenes of computers, governing the hardware components, such as memory, file systems, and input/output devices like keyboards, monitors printers, modems, etc. It also controls access to the central processor unit or CPU.

An OS allows multiple programs to be running simultaneously, a practice known as multitasking. This is because the OS allots system resources to a program, such as memory space and CPU, during execution. It tracks the program’s use of these resources and ensures that the program does not interfere with other programs using these same resources.

Operating systems keep track of where files are located and their status on the computer’s disk. They create the virtual directory structure and store the location of each file, and other metadata, such as the date it was created or modified. Drivers allow an application to easily access the hardware of computers. These drivers convert the hardware’s proprietary language into a standard the operating system understands.

If an application has to save an image, it shifts to the operating system kernel. This is because the application can’t directly access the disk drive, and requires a driver in order to communicate with it. The operating system then creates and transforms the request for files into a rational operation, and then the hardware is then utilized as instructed.

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