functions of an operating system

10 Basic Functions of an Operating System

functions of an operating system
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Knowing the functions of an operating system is important so that you can know what to do when you have any software problems. The definition will help you understand what they mean when you see them in this post. By the end of this article, you will know all the basic operating system functions.

This post will enumerate 10 functions of an operating system. We will equally give you some of the basic work of an operating system.

Let us start.

What is an Operating system?

According to Arcus Pro. dictionary, “operating system is software that controls the execution of computer programs and may provide various services”. You might want to see our post on the advantages of using Windows Operating system to enlighten you more.

Basic Functions of an Operating System.

The computer operating system helps you to speak to the computer without knowing any coding or machine language. You may search for more information on the functions of the operating system and even get pdf documents online.


What is software? Arcus Pro. dictionary said, “It is a written program or procedure or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in the read and write memory”.

From this definition, you see that system software refer to the programs that manage how the computer works.

10 Functions of an Operating System?

Now that we know what operating system means, we can go on to find out the functions of an operating system. They are listed below:

  1. Detects and Control Errors

The operating system detects and controls errors that occur in the system. It also enables you to recover your system when any hardware fails. Finally, with its help, you can back up data for use in case there is a system failure.

  1. Booting

Booting means to start the computer operating system. This operating system will check all the resources of the computer to get it ready to start work.

  1. User Interface

The operating system manages the computer user interface. The user interface is where you input or type instructions and it will show up as output on the computer screen or desktop monitor. There are two types of user interface. You have the graphics line and the command interface.

In Graphic Line Interface, you give commands for example in Windows, Mac, Chrome menus and icons, scroll bars, which you can see displayed on your monitor. It is purely a visual interface.

Command Line Interface is where you can type commands telling the computer what it must do. For example, Digital commanding language, UNIX shells, Windows exec files etc.

  1. Managing Computer Memory

The computer is only able to manage the memory of the system when the operating system starts working.

This is one of the major functions of all operating system in a computer since the operating system is the tool that manages different programs working simultaneously inside the memory of the computer once you start it. Therefore, if the operating system of the computer is not functioning, there will be a mix up of programs and this will cause the computer system not to work well.

  1. Starting and Carrying out Programs

All programs that run a computer must first load in the memory before the computer can carry out the instructions.

The operating system gives you the resources for loading of all programs that run in a computer memory. It enables the computer to carry out the instructions of different programs that run in the memory.

  1. Data Safety

Data is the life of a computer system so, you must protect it.

The internal security man of the computer is the operating system. It makes sure no data in the system is changed by an unauthorized person. It also stops people from using data without permission or even deleting it without meaning to do so.

Functions of an operating system - Data Safety

  1. Managing the Computer Disk

It is the operating system that checks and controls the disk space properly. It also cares for all files stored in the system and all folders in the computer system.

  1. Manage all Hardware Devices

You are aware that a computer has many devices which you can attach to it at any time. Some devices like printer, the keyboard, mouse, etc. These are hardware devices.

It is the operating system that controls these hardware devices using software inside the operating system called device drivers.

  1. Management of Printing

It is the role of an operating system to control how the printer will receive and carry out the printing instructions which you send from any word processing software or other devices.

You can send one print command or ten to your printer. The operating system will make sure the print jobs which get to the printer as separate files so that they do not mix up.

  1. Control of Computer Processes

The computer processing unit (CPU) can only carry out one task at a time.

It is the operating system that selects the most important task that the system will carry out at any time. No matter the number of tasks sent to the computer, it is the task approved by the operating system that will run on the computer. All the list I gave above is an example of an operating system and its functions.


This post gave you 10 functions of an operating system starting with the basic work of the operating system, definition of software and operating system.

These facts can help you use your computer better and know what to do when you suspect there is a problem in the system.

Check this out: General Features of Windows 10

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