Unit 2: Computer Systems P2/M1: The Purpose of Operating Systems

What are operating systems:

The actual definition of an operating system is a widly used word. I can be explain in a very simple term as in it is the core software of you computer system which actully gives you the ability to run other applications that you want to use the computer for, example games. On the other hamd you can explain what an operating system is in so so sooooooo much more detail. Below is a more detail desciption of what an operatin system is starting from the basics all the way down to the more “nitty gritty”.


An operating system is a core piece of software which allow users to run other softwares that are compatible with the OS which them allow the user to use there computer for the purpose the user intended them for. This intended use can stretch from one side to another from games to school work the OS you have installed will essentially give you the backbone to your computer system and then allow you to perform these intended actions.


Graph of Videos Operating System placement on ...

Graph of Videos Operating System placement on computer usage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An operating system (OS) is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is an essential component of the system software in a computer system. All computer software based on the application layer of your computer system will require some sort of OS in order for it to run, for example a game like Crysis 2.Other operations that the OS will come with is managment software which will work with the hardware of your system using a string of input and output processes to actully make you system run like it should. This inculdes accessing data from your hardrive, using your RAM to run the OS, and reading the different data that you may place in your CD Drive.Input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware,although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and will frequently make a system call to an OS function or be interrupted by it. Operating systems can be found on almost any device that contains a computer—from cellular phones and video game consoles to supercomputers and web servers.

The different types of operating systems:

MAC 0S: (Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, mountain Lion)

Windows OS: (Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000)

Linux OS: (Ubuntu, Mint, Puppy, Pear, Fedora, ect. – Linux is the biggest distrucbuter of mostly free OS’s — CHECK OUT HOW MANY THERE ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Games consolse OS: (PS3, XBOX, Wii)

Phone OS: (Android (Gingerbread, Icecream Sandwhich, Jelly bean, kikkat) Apple IOS (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) Nokia, Blackberry)

Server OS: (Microsoft server 2010, 2008, IBM Server, Linux server, Apple server)

English: All type of IT Support especially Net...

What are the key differences in the operating systems?

Each operating system that you come into contact with weather it be Linux, Mac, or Windows will all be different in some sort of way. This can inculde its looks, functionality, background applications, and even the partition it is wrote on can be different.In this section we are going to be comparing Windows 7, Mac OSX mountain Lion, and Linux Puppy. One of the key difference between these three operating systems is the partitioning tables. All three use different table formats, windows 7 uses NTFS, linux uses EXT4, and Mac OSX uses Mac Extended Jounel. From this we then know then that the way that these operating systems are created and built are completly different as there ending formats are different which means the language and coding the progammers use to create them are different. Other differences that can be seen from the images is that the overall layout of the 3 OS’s are different. The icons used are different the way the task bars are layout are also different and the software that is dislpayed on those taskbars are also different. A lot of utilities these days will be able to support all three different types of operating systems however all the different shortcuts and icons that lead to the main system ultilties are all different. Also the file formats that each individual OS supports is diffwerent MAC for example uses file formats like DMG, PKG, MPKG, where as windows uses file formats like MSI, EXE, BAT, and CMD. (Linux will suport some of these formats like BAT, CMD, and EXE, however it will not support most of the MAC files formats and neither will windows).

Windows 7 Beta

Puppy Linux 2.16

Mac OS X Mountain Lion on VMware!

What are the similarities?

However between the 3 of them there are some similarities. For example they all use a basic user interface which concists of the user having to click on a range of icons either on the desktop or taskbar to run certain applications. They all have a systems folder where all applications install to and also where the main OS and other system files are stored. They all contain very similar systems utitilties like parition edititors, and also have very similar way of actully navigating the user around the system files.

Magnificent 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Managing System Resources

Windows: Overall all three OS allow you to manage there own system resources in there own way either through means of the system or different software utilites already on the OS hwne installed. For windows OS the main console for monitoring the systems reasources can be found in the control panel. This allow you so see all you systems devices, software, networking options, OS updates, firewalls, power options and many many more.

Mac: The Mac OS also has a range of different options for managing its own system resources. These can be found mainly in either the utilities folder in the launch pad or in the system preferences shortcut which can either be found in the lauch pad again or on the dock or desktop.

Linux: Finally the Linux OS much like the windows and Mac OS allows you to manage its system reasources in its own way and is different depending on which Linux version you have. A lot of Linux opertating system come with built in utilities to access these options so that user can see how much of the system they are using and then from those figures monitor the rest of the system using other utilties provided by the OS, some of the utilites are as follows: Disk Health, Partition editor, Test Disk, System profiler, Netwokring monitoring, GPU test, CPU test ect.

Communicating between hardware and Software

Windows: In a windows OS it is very easy to comminicate bewtween the hardware and software providing you have installed the device drivers correctly. The way you can check this by looking in the windows device manager which displays all the devices currently connected to the system. If you want to alter the configurations on these devices connected to the system you will need some sort of software to do so. Some pieces of hardware will not be able to altered if the devices does not support it. For example if you want to overclock you CPU you need to have a cpu that is able to be overclocked. Other more simple devices can be altered like the volume on the speakers connected to your system which can be altered from the windows control panel.

Mac: Mac OS’s again prodive very good comminication between is hardware through different types of software, for exmaple when USB are hard drive devices are plugged into the system running a Mac OS that device comes up on the systems desktop within seconds. Other features that the OS inculdes is its system profiler which can display all the information about the Mac and all the devices and hardware currently connected to it. Other utitlites that can configure of edit these devices can be found in the systems pereferences application or in the utilities folder located in the launch pad.

Linux: The Linux OS is much like the Mac OS in this subject as it too has a systems profile where we can view all the different devices and hardware connecte to the system. Also the OS has built in software which will allow it to communicate with this hardware and allow you to alter and configure it. However compared to the Mac OS and depending on which version of Linux OS you have the Linux OS allows you more access to a wider range of utilities that allow you to alter and communicate with your systems hardware and software.

Monitoring performance:

Windows Experience Index

Windows: Within windows operating systems there are normally built in software to monitor performance and also to log errors with the system in general. Windows 7 for example has a simple benchmarking software build into the OS which display simple performace statistics about your system. These rating are normally based on things like your systems, CPU, Graphics, RAM, and your hard drive. These rating increase everytime you upgrade these particular parts in your system below is a picture of these figures shown in the windows 7 OS:

Windows 7 Ultimate beta; Windows Task ManagerOther monitoring tools within windows 7 is the task manager, which allow you to see all running applications, services, proccesses, performace, networking and users. This also allows you to end tasks, proccesses and services from the command centre:

Mac: In a Mac OS the monitoring of the system is a little different. The OS contains different application which the user cvan use to monitor all application and activities on the system. These tools like Activity monitring does what the name intales it monitors all activities being performed on your Mac and allows you to end start and create new ones. Other monitoring utilites inculde the network utility which will monitor your network activity and also the disk utility where you can see your different Mac partitions and manage there different sizes and format tpyes.


Linux: In linux systems there are an erray of different monitoring utilities that can be used depending on which linux OS you are using. For example in Linux Parted magic which is a linux utility based OS contains as many monitoring applications that your brain could think of. Below are some of the examples:


Operating Utilities and Applications

Windows: Within windows 7 there are an array of different utilities and application that can either manage the system various device like speakers, screen size, and other exsternal and internal media, or run simple or more advanced systems application for the main user to use, for example a computer game. These can be access very easily from the OS the systems utilities are assesible from the control panel, and other application can be obtained from the start menu in the bottom left hand corner. However other means of accessing application on the system are available like shortcuts on the desktop and accessing shortucts in the C drive/program files.

Mac: The Mac os is also very similar to the Windows OS in terms of accessing systems utilities and applications. Mac application are normally found through either the launch pad Mac’s own version of the windows start menu where all installed applications and utilities can be found and run by the user. Other than this the Mac os has a dock located at the bottom of the desktop which can display all different types of shortcuts like on the windows and linux OS’s.

Linux: Linux OS’s depending on which one you install come with a lot of build in application already installed. For exmaple Linux Ubuntu Studios comes with loads of different creative software for people who want to compose, create, record music, as well as create, edit, and alter images with other pre-installed software like GIMP for example. On the other hand Linux is best OS in my opinion for software utilities, as discusses in the previous point Linux Parted Magic comes with some of the most useful software utilities currently used in the world today.


Windows: Windows in terms of multi tasking is very static unlike the other 2 OS’s it works on the tile system where you would need to minimise and maximise windows from different application and tasks you are performing. This means that somtimes your desktop can look very clutered and if you want to see loads of different windows open at the same time it is very hard unless you have duel monitors running on your system. However other good little features that i like with the windows OS is that you can perform simple actions with you keyboard and mouse to maximise, minimise, and also resize windows in miliseconds. For example if i drag a window in windows 7 and shake it it will minimise all other windows on screen so that you can just focus on that one window.

Mac: Mac OSX is much like the Linux OS in this section of the magnificent 7, it provides very flexable options when if comes to multi tasking, as just like in the Linux OS you can create different windows so that you can perform different tasks in different windows and then switch between them with just the click of a button. Also another good little feature with the Mac hardware is the mouse. The mouse is very useful when it comes to multi tasking as it allows you to record different clicks with your mouse and assign them to different tasks. For example if you squeeze the mouse it will bring up some basic utilities like a calculator.

Linux: Linux OS’s depending on which one you have give the user a very flexable way of multitasking on there own computer system. Most linux systems allow the user to create their own windows much like in the Mac OS, the user is able to switch between different desktop windows containing different tasks that the user is performing. Switching between these windows is very simple and can be edited to switch with a cwertain command the user chooses, for example it could be double right click for example.

Networking, Security Management

Windows: The windows OS comes with build in security as standard. Also know as windows defender the windows OS also has standard security software also know as windows microsoft security essential which comes down with windows updates. Other than this the networking options you have with a windows 7 OS is very flexable, as you are able to edit and configure you systems networking options right from the get go. This can either be done through the main systems control panle, device manager, or even through the command prompt.

Mac: Mac OS security is much less refined. This is because it is know that the number of viruses created for Mac is very very very very very very very low compared to windows OS which is why Mac OS’s dont really need an sort of security software depending on what you are doing on your Mac. On the networking side of things the Mac OS much like the windows and linux OS are very flexable in what you can do with there options. The Mac OS allows you to go straight into the systems pereferences application to view your networking configurations and also edit them to suit you.

Linux: Linux is inbetween the Mac and windows OS’s in this subject as the OS isnt as vaunrable as a windows OS but isnt as difficult to create a virus for like a Mac OS. This means that like the windows OS you are always good taking precausions with your computer system and its data. Networking options on the other hand are a different story like discusses in other points about Linux OS’s it really depends on what OS you choose. From this then you would then be able to find a Linux OS that provides the best in network monitoring and altering. Parted Magic has been a good exmaple to use this far and in this subject it is also another good example to use as it can monitor you system devices and check to see what there information is, for example MAC addresses and also what IP they are recieving to access the internet.


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