How the operating system manages computer hardware?

Operating systems work as an interface between the user and the computer hardware. It is a software which performs the basic tasks like input, output, disk management, controlling peripherals etc.

Windows, Linux etc. are some examples of operating systems.

Tasks of Operating Systems

These are some important tasks of the OS by which it manages the system hardware efficiently, which are as follows −

Memory management

Memory management refers to the management of the primary memory each executing process resides in main memory. OS keeps track of memory, allocates memory between processes, and deallocates the memory when the process does not require the memory.

Device management

OS can communicate between devices using drivers in order to use the devices efficiently the OS keeps track of devices and then allocates and deallocates these devices to different processes as per the request made by the processes.

Processor management

Like memory and devices, managing the processor is one of the important tasks of an OS. It allocates the processor to different processes in main memory to do so the OS uses some scheduling algorithms also these are like First Come First Serve, Priority Scheduling, Shortest job first, etc.

File Management

The operating system also keeps track of the file system of a computer normally the file system is divided in directories which can be handled by the OS.


I/O management is one of the important tasks of the operating system. OS manages the IO devices like mouse, keyboard, printer, display, LED's etc.

I/O devices can be of two types which are as follows −

  • Synchronous I/O − Here, the CPU waits for the i/o device

  • Asynchronous I/O − Here, the CPU execution takes place parallel to the IO device.

The operating system helps the processor in communicating to the IO devices. These communications are Special instruction I/O, Memory-mapped I/O, Direct memory access.

Fans and Cooling

In a computer system, one of the important hardware components is the cooling system. The CPU fan helps the CPU from overheating. Overheating sometimes causes permanent damage to a CPU. The operating system plays role in communicating with both the CPU and the fan which helps to ensure that the system stays cool. This process is also done by the motherboard's internal controls, called the BIOS, and can be overwritten by applications running in the OS.


Networking plays an important role in distributed system environment where a group of processors can memory, hardware devices, or a clock. The processors communicate with one another with the help of the network only.