Communicating with Peripherals:
  • The operating system (OS) manages the peripherals (ex. printer, graphics card, keyboard, etc.) using drivers
    • Driver = piece of software, that interacts directly with the hardware.
    • The OS provides a standard interface between hardware devices and applications.
    • Enables generic commands such as the 'print'-statement within the high-level programming languages to work on any PC, even if the hardware differs greatly.
    • Hardware is only able to deal with binary machine code or if a conversion between digital and analog formats has taken place (digital to analog conversion).
    • Examples of applications requiring analogue to digital conversion: speech recognition, temperature sensing, light detection
  • Plug and play is a feature of the operating system that allows devices to be used without installing extra drivers.

Coordinating Concurrent Processing
There are constantly processes running whenever the computer is turned on. The OS manages/handles the loading and unloading of processes to & from primary memory.

Resource Monitoring:
Manages what resources different processes are given, so how much processor time they can have, how much memory they are assigned, etc.This is supposed to ensure that all processes can run simultaneously.

Memory Management:
The OS organizes the memory and introduces a file management system. It controls that each process has enough memory:
  • Every process has specific space in primary memory and ensures that it doesn't override other process space (which would cause something like a "memory access violation" --> Each process operates in its own virtual memory space.
  • Manages the use of virtual memory & swap files

Accounting and Security:
  • Management and logging of user accounts and user activity
  • Provides services such as firewalls are used to control ports.
  • OS sometimes requires user authentication meaning passwords, voice recognition, or a type of biometrics (finger print, retinal scan).
  • The OS keeps logs of everything that is done on the computer.
  • Important in multi-user environments
    • Logging of any user activity to track any hacking attempts, hogging of resources, etc.
      • This process is called 'audit-trail'

Program and Data Management:
  • The OS manages processes in the background while the user is working with programs in the foreground (keeping track of which files, ports, data resources belong to which program).
  • The OS handles the transfer of data or instructions between the primary and secondary memory
  • If the program & data management breaks down, programs might write to another program's files or the system might crash

Created by Jocbe
Updated by Lucie Magister
Last updated: 19/03/2015