Understanding Computer Operating Systems for Beginners

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Operating systems are the software that is central to the operations of a computer. Without the operating system (OS) the computer cannot run hardware or software.

You can also think of the operating system as a translator between you and the computer – it’s the way you can communicate with the computer.

The Basics

When you use your computer, you usually have more than one program running. Even if you only open a web browser or only one document, several background programs are running to show you the desktop, give you sound, give you graphics, etc.

The OS makes all this happen. All the programs work from the OS.

When you are typing a document and saving it, the OS does that too. Every time you tell the computer to open something, save something, move something, etc., you are communicating with the OS.

All of these programs and commands that you give need to access the three main things of your computer’s functions: central processing unit (CPU), memory, and storage.

The CPU or processor is the thing that determines the speed and how many programs can successfully run at the same time without making the computer slow.

The memory refers to the rate at which the computer can multitask. The storage is where you save all your files, pictures, etc.

The Options

There are many different operating systems on the market. You will find the three main ones that most computers operate on and then there also smaller or lesser known operating systems that can be used instead of or together with the three main ones.

Most computers are sold with the operating system already installed, but you can upgrade or change this if you want. You can choose which operating system works for you.

Microsoft Windows – This is the most well-known and most-used operating system due to its user-friendly nature and because it does the things people want the best.

The Windows OS comes standard with most computer brands, with the exception of Apple computers. There have been many different versions of which the latest is Windows 10.

Mac OS X – This operating system only works on Macintosh computers or Macs that are manufactured by Apple.

Fewer people use this operating system because it only works on Apple computers which tend to be quite expensive.

Some people prefer Macs, however, because of its look and feel and multi-media capabilities. Macs are generally considered to be good for people who work a lot with graphics, music, and other types of multimedia.

Linux – Linux is the least used OS in the world. It is open-source which means that it is free and that any person can make changes to it.

This means that there are many different versions of it. Linux is mostly used by programmers who do coding and create apps.

Mobile Devices

Our smartphones have also become like mini computers and we now have tablets as well. Smartphones do not use the same OS as computers, but rather similar ones that are specially designed for mobile devices.

The most used ones are Apple iOS and Google Android.

So, that is the basics of operating systems and what they are. Try out the different ones and see which one works best for you.

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How to Choose the Right Operating System

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An operating system is like the heart and veins of a computer. Without it, the computer would not be able to function. Different operating systems are available on the market and they all have their pros and cons. The three most well-known ones are Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Each of these is good and will be a good choice. Your personal choice of OS will depend on several different considerations.will be a good choice. Your personal choice of OS will depend on several different considerations.

What will the computer be used for?

The very first consideration is about the use of the computer and its operating system. For basic business and home use, Windows is the most popular and easy to use. If you are a graphic designer, music producer, or have some other type of media-related job, you may be better off with a Mac OS. Mac OS is ideally suited for graphics and multi-media use. If you are a programmer, Linux will likely be your choice of system. Linux is the operating system used by most programmers across the world.

What is your price range for computers?

The price range that you are comfortable with will also play a role in the choice of operating system. Windows runs on most computers including entry-level or low-price range models. Mac OS only runs on Apple computers. Apple computers do not have an entry-level or low-price range and their computers are generally more expensive. Linux is for free and can run on any computer.

What type of devices and programs do you want to run?

Because Windows is the most popular and most-used operating system, most devices and programs are designed to be compatible with it. With Apple computers and Mac OS, you will only be able to add software and devices that are made specifically for Apple. Most manufacturers do not consider Linux when designing their products, so very few make devices and software that are compatible with it.

What is your safety requirements?

Windows is generally seen as the operating system that is the most vulnerable. This is because of its popularity as all programs, software, and malware and viruses are designed for this system. Mac OS is generally safer because there is fewer hacker software for it. Linux is the safest as almost all of its processes require administrator permission.

These are the four things you need to answer for yourself when deciding to buy a new computer or operating system. Most computers come with an OS already installed, so you will need to consider price range. Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to choose the right operating system for you.

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