What Do I Need to Know About Computer Operating Systems?

Operating Systems 411

Without its operating system, your smart phone isn’t much more than a paperweight.

If you have a computer or a smart phone, you have an operating system. Operating systems are the most important component to the technology that you use every day. They manage memory, processes, hardware and software. They run everything from the programs on your phone to the components of your computer like its hard drive, monitor, mouse, printer, keyboard and software. They also allow you to “speak” your computer’s language with the touch of a keystroke or the click of mouse.

Your operating system is like the conductor of an orchestra, making certain that all your programs run together like sweet music. It gives each member of the band, or in this case, parts of your computer or phone what they need to perform to the best of their ability. It’s the head of the band.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Types of Operating Systems

Depending on what kind of phone, tablet or computer you have, you’ll have a different type of operating system. The most popular operating system in the world is Windows and it’s what runs your PC.1 If you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer, you have an iOS or OS X operating system. Linux is another operating system used in small technologies like navigation systems and DVRs and mega computers like those that run New York Stock Exchange.

How they’re different

Since operating systems must all perform the same job, how are they different? Aside from cost (Apple products tend to cost more than PCs) it’s about the look and feel, and user experience. Committed Apple users often hate switching to a PC. PC users sometimes get confused by the way apps are launched through OS X. The truth is that all modern operating systems are fairly user-friendly. The best way to find out which one you like is to try them out and compare.

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1 http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-federal-government-on-what-are-the-most-popular-us-end-user-operating-systems/



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