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

With 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. Once loaded, the kernel is responsible for disk drive management, interrupt handler, file management, memory management, and process management.

Mach kernel, Microkernel, Operating system terms