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 is an example of Microsoft Windows XP, a popular operating system and what the box may look like if you were to visit a local retail store to purchase it.
When computers were first introduced, the user interacted with them using a command line interface, which required commands. Today, almost every computer is using a GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating system that is much easier to use and operate.
Tip: Some people may refer to an OS as "operating software." Although this is a valid term, it is more appropriate to refer to this software as an "operating system."
Examples of computer operating systems
- Microsoft Windows 10 - PC and IBM compatible operating system. Microsoft Windows is the most common and used operating system.
- Apple macOS - Apple Mac operating system. Today, the only Apple computer operating system is macOS.
- Ubuntu Linux - A popular variant of Linux used with PC and IBM compatible computers.
- Google Android - Operating system used with Android compatible phones and tablets.
- iOS - Operating system used with the Apple iPhone and iPads.
- Chromium - Google operating system used with Chromebooks.