An operating system or OS is a software program that enables the computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer and software programs would be useless. The picture to the right is an example of Microsoft Windows XP, a popular operating system and what the box may look like if you were to purchase it from a local retail store.
As computers have progressed and developed so have the operating systems. Below is a basic list of the different operating systems and a few examples of operating systems that fall into each of the categories. Many computer operating systems will fall into more than one of the below categories.
GUI - Short for Graphical User Interface, a GUI Operating System contains graphics and icons and is commonly navigated by using a computer mouse. See the GUI definition for a complete definition. Below are some examples of GUI Operating Systems.
Multi-user - A multi-user operating system allows for multiple users to use the same computer at the same time and different times. See the multi-user definition for a complete definition for a complete definition. Below are some examples of multi-user operating systems.
Multiprocessing - An operating system capable of supporting and utilizing more than one computer processor. Below are some examples of multiprocessing operating systems.
Multitasking - An operating system that is capable of allowing multiple software processes to run at the same time. Below are some examples of multitasking operating systems.
Multithreading - Operating systems that allow different parts of a software program to run concurrently. Operating systems that would fall into this category are:
Common questions and answers to operating systems in general can be found on the below operating system question and answers. All other questions relating to an operating system in particular can be found through its corrisponding operating system page.
Below is a listing of many of the different operating systems available today, the dates they were released, the platforms they have been developed for and who developed them.
|CH000181||Missing operating system.|
|CH000575||Linux vs. Windows|
|CH000619||Command line vs. GUI.|
|CH000643||How do I determine what operating system I'm using?|
|Q&A||See the Q&A section for a complete listing of more specific OS questions.|
|Forum||If your question is not listed here try our computer help forum.|