By any standard of measure, an operating system is the most critical software installed on a computer. Not only does an operating system act as the administrator of many computer processes, but it also allows users to harness the power of the various sound, graphics and memory assets within the computer's hardware infrastructure. For the vast majority of users today, a computer would be useless if it did not include some form of an operating system.
Popular technology culture has introduced most of us to one of the two major operating systems in use: macOS and the Windows operating system. Although these systems function in uniquely different ways, the services they provide to users are relatively similar. With that in mind, taking the time to understand the importance of an operating system can help ensure that you have the information you need to find the right computer for your needs.
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Operating System Basics
On a fundamental level, an operating system manages virtually every aspect of the user experience. From the moment you start your computer to the final second before it shuts down, the operating system is playing a fundamental role in its functionality. Far from simply acting as a conventional software package, the operating system connects with your computer's CPU, as well as various memory and storage. Just as the motherboard acts as the central hub between all hardware parameters within your computer, the operating system acts as a liaison for software, hardware and user.
Operating System Options
Although macOS and the Windows operating system are the most popular operating systems, they are not the only options users have. Other operating systems that can be installed, each of which provides its own unique benefits for users. Many computer users consider the Linux operating system to be a compelling alternative to Mac and Windows options. Unlike Mac and Windows, Linux is an open-source program, which means that users can download it free of charge and enjoy the support of a thriving developer community.
If you plan on using some of the popular computer applications that are currently available, it is in your best interest to use a standard operating system. Support for third-party operating systems among software developers drops off rather quickly and can result in unnecessary headaches when you try to accomplish even some of the more basic tasks that you take for granted in a mainstream operating system.