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About this article: Types of Operating Systems

There are different types of operating systems depending on the type of computer you use. Learn how they differ and what each is capable of.

Types of operating systems.

We all know that the operating system is the most important software running on your computer without which one cannot run even the application software's which are designed to communicate with the hardware through the operating system. Are you aware that there are many types of operating systems available in the market to suit various needs and machines?

The types of the operating systems can be classified as single program and multi tasking. A single program operating system allows only one program to run at a time. This was the operating system that was improved on to as multi-tasking operating systems as it was not practical to close one application to open another, example, close a word document to open power point, especially if you are required to copy some texts from word to power point.

Multi tasking operating systems enables a single user to have two or more applications open at the same time. It gives the computer the option to decide on how many time slices each program is allocated. The active program gets the most, and the rest is divided according to the factors of which programs are doing tasks although not active, and the last priority is given to programs and applications that are left open but are not doing anything.

Multi tasking operating systems can be divided into three general types depending on the type of computer and the type of applications that will be run. These are Real time operating systems, Single user-Multi tasking, Multi user operating systems

Real time operating systems (RTOS) are mainly used to control machinery, scientific instruments, industrial systems, etc. Here the user does not have much control over the functions performed by the RTOS.

Single user, multi tasking operating systems are the systems that allow a single user to run different applications at the same time. Windows of Microsoft and Macintosh of Apple are the most commonly used single user, multi tasking operating systems.

Multi user operating systems give access at the same time to the resources on a single computer to many users. Unix is one such operating system.

The most commonly used operating systems that fall under the above categories are, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP (Which is an upgrade of all the earlier and comes in two versions as Home and Professional. The professional version is the same as the home edition but has additional features, like networking and security features.), Windows Vista, Windows CE, Apple Macintosh, Unix, etc.
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