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PC operating systems links page

An operating system is the master control program that enables the hardware by abstracting it to the application via drivers. It is the first "program" that loads when a device boots. Its main part, the kernel, is loaded whenever the device is on. An operating system can be viewed as the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. At the core of an operating system is the kernel. The kernel is the most fundamental program on the computer and does all the basic housekeeping and lets you start other programs.Examples of operating systems are Microsoft Windows CE, Windows CE .NET, Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, Windows 98, and Microsoft Windows NT?, MAC OS, Linux, OS/2 and FreeBSD. An operating system is an important part of a computer system. You can view a computer system as being built from three general components: the hardware, the operating system, and the applications. The operating system is the component that on one side manages and controls the hardware and on the other manages the applications. Once upon a time, not so long ago, everyone knew what an operating system (OS) was. It was the complex software sold by the maker of your computer system, without which no other programs could function on that computer. It spun the disks, lit the terminals, and generally kept track of what the hardware was doing and why. Application (user) programs asked the operating system to perform various functions; users seldom talked to the OS directly.Today those boundaries are not quite so clear. The rise of graphical user interfaces, macro and scripting languages, suites of applications that can exchange information seamlessly, and the increased popularity of networks and distributed data--all of these factors have blurred the traditional distinctions. Today's computing environments consist of layers of hardware and software that interact together to form a nearly organic whole.


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