Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope
Small pile of corn kernels.

When referring to an operating system, the kernel is the first section of the operating system to load into memory. As the center of the operating system, the kernel needs to be small, efficient, and loaded into a protected area in memory, to prevent overwriting. It can be responsible for such things as disk drive management, interrupt handler, file management, memory management, process management, etc.

Mach kernel, Microkernel, Operating system terms