Updated: 11/30/2020 by Computer Hope

A system may refer to any of the following:

1. When referring to a computer, system or system unit is used to distinguish the complete computer. See our computer definition for full information about a computer.

2. When referring to an Apple Macintosh, System is the computer's operating system, or macOS. System is commonly followed by a number, for example, System 7.

Related pages

  • For additional information about Macintosh operating systems, see our macOS definition.

3. System refers to a window and menu found in Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 that displays a basic overview of your computer. The System window allows the user to customize many system settings through System Properties and access Device Manager.


Press the Windows key+Pause at the same time to open the System window.

Below are examples of how the Windows System window may look.

System window in Windows 10.
Windows 10 System window

Windows system properties
Windows 8 System window

Windows 7 system properties
Windows 7 System window


System should not be confused with System Information or System Properties.

4. When referring to software, system is sometimes used to abbreviate operating system.

Apple terms, IS, Macintosh, Operating system terms, System Properties