What is the operating system?

A modern computer consists of the following −

  • One or more processors

  • Main memory

  • Disks

  • Printers

  • Various input/output devices

So, in order to manage all these components, we require a layer of software in the computer system, that layer we call the Operating System (OS).


An Operating System is a program that acts as an intermediary or interface between a user of a computer and the computer hardware. It is the most important type of system software in computer systems.

Without an operating system the user cannot run application programs on the computer system.

Generally, a computer system consists of four main components, called hardware, application programs, operating system, and users.

These components of a computer system are shown in the figure below −

The operating system acts like a government in a country, just like the government controlling, monitoring, helping the country, the operating system managing all the computer components and helping to execute programs correctly.

Moreover to avoid conflicts that occur when users use the same resource, the operating system regulates which users can access a resource.

Goals of Operating System

The main goals of Operating system are as follows −

  • Control user or application programs.

  • Execute user or application programs.

  • Make the computer system convenient to use.

  • Ease in solving the user problems.

  • Using the computer hardware in an efficient manner.