Functions of an Operating System
* Lesson 4 - COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEMS 4.1 - FUNCTIONS OF
AN OPERATING SYSTEM  Functions of an Operating System
An operating system controls how programs work with each other and how
they interact with the computer hardware. It also creates the file system
that determines how your data is stored within a storage device.
The performance of an operating system depends on the number of bits that
it can transfer at a time. Early operating systems could transfer only 8
bits of data at a time and were called 8-bit operating systems. However,
with the introduction of the GUI interface, 16-bit operating systems were
developed. Operating systems, such as Windows Vista, can transfer data up
to 32 bits or 64 bits at a time, depending on the hardware of the system.
An operating system such as Windows Vista provides a GUI that makes it
easier for you to give instructions to a computer. The following table
describes the functions of an operating system. Scroll down to read each
Provides a user interface
Many operating systems provide visual elements, such as icons and menus,
to help you interact with a computer. You can use a mouse to select icons
and issue commands. For example, you can double-click a file to open it
with the appropriate program.
[Provides a user interface]
Provides utilities to configure your system
A GUI-based operating system provides easy-to-use utilities to help you
configure your computer. These utilities are small programs that help you
perform specific functions, such as connecting to a network, managing
resources, and adding new programs to your computer. For example, Windows
Vista provides a backup program to save your important data.
[Provides utilities to configure your system]
Helps manage computer resources
An operating system helps manage hardware. Programs communicate with the
operating system to work with the required hardware, such as the CPU, to
complete the required tasks.
[Helps manage computer resources]
Helps secure data by controlling user access to a computer
An operating system allows you to secure your data. It helps you specify
authentication and authorization rights to control access to your computer
and its resources. Authentication_ is the process by which the computer
system validates a user's logon information. An operating system can help
you create a username and a password, so that only those users who know the
username and password can access the resources on your computer.In
addition, you can associate specific permissions to each username. This is
called _authorization_. For example, you can prevent users from printing
documents from your computer.
[Helps secure data by controlling user access to a computer]
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