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why does a computer need an operating system

What is an operating system? An operating system is the most important software that runs on a computer. It manages the computer's
memory and processes, as well as all of its software and hardware. It also allows you to communicate with the computer without knowing how to speak the computer's language. Without an operating system, a computer is useless. Watch the video below to learn more about operating systems. Your computer's operating system ( OS ) manages all of the software and hardware on the computer. Most of the time, there are several different computer programs running at the same time, and they all need to access your computer's central processing unit (CPU), memory, and storage. The operating system coordinates all of this to make sure each program gets what it needs. Operating systems usually come pre-loaded on any computer you buy. Most people use the operating system that comes with their computer, but it's possible to upgrade or even change operating systems. The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Modern operating systems use a graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced gooey ). A GUI lets you use your mouse to click icons, buttons, and menus, and everything is clearly displayed on the screen using a combination of graphics and text. Each operating system's GUI has a different look and feel, so if you switch to a different operating system it may seem unfamiliar at first. However, modern operating systems are designed to be easy to use, and most of the basic principles are the same. Microsoft created the Windows operating system in the mid-1980s. Over the years, there have been many different versions of Windows, but the most recent ones are Windows 10 (released in 2015), Windows 8 (2012), Windows 7 (2009), and Windows Vista (2007). Windows comes pre-loaded on most new PCs, which helps to make it the most popular operating system in the world. Check out our tutorials on and for more information. Mac OS is a line of operating systems created by Apple. It comes preloaded on all new Macintosh computers, or Macs.

All of the recent versions are known as OS X (pronounced O-S Ten), and the specific versions include El Capitan (released in 2015), Yosemite (2014), Mavericks (2013), Mountain Lion (2012), and Lion (2011). According to, Mac OS X users account for less than 10% of global operating systemsвmuch lower than the percentage of Windows users (more than 80% ). One reason for this is that Apple computers tend to be more expensive. However, many people do prefer the look and feel of Mac OS X over Windows. Check out our tutorials on and versions for more information. Linux (pronounced LINN-ux ) is a family of open-source operating systems, which means they can be modified and distributed by anyone around the world. This is different from proprietary software like Windows, which can only be modified by the company that owns it. The advantages of Linux are that it is free, and there are many different distributions вor versionsвyou can choose from. According to, Linux users account for less than 2% of global operating systems.

However, most servers run Linux because it's relatively easy to customize. To learn more about different distributions of Linux, visit the, and websites, or refer to our. For a more comprehensive list, you can visit MakeUseOf's list of. The operating systems we've been talking about so far were designed to run on desktop and laptop computers. Mobile devices such as phones, tablet computers, and MP3 players are different from desktop and laptop computers, so they run operating systems that are designed specifically for mobile devices. Examples of mobile operating systems include Apple iOS and Google Android. In the screenshot below, you can see iOS running on an iPad. Operating systems for mobile devices generally aren't as fully featured as those made for desktop and laptop computers, and they aren't able to run all of the same software. However, you can still do a lot of things with them, like watch movies, browse the Web, manage your calendar, and play games. To learn more about mobile operating systems, check out our tutorials.

The main contenders are Mac and Linux, though a Mac system is only an option if you buy a new computer. Linux is a large family of operating systems; it is Open Source software, which basically means that it is mostly free, and being constantly refined and developed by its users; this also means that there are lots of different versions, or distributions, which is where it can become a bit of a minefield for novices. However, several popular distributions have a Windows-like appearance I would definitely shortlist one called Zorin -- and a there is a very good selection of specially adapted versions of the most popular programs and applications, including Google Chrome and excellent office suites, like LibreOffice. However, be warned that Linux is not an easy alternative to Windows and there can be fairly steep learning curve but it is well worth the effort and it has a number of advantages, including a very high immunity to viruses. It also runs faster and more efficiently than Windows on many PCs and can give older computers a new lease of life.

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