Types of Operating Systems

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Types of Operating Systems

Vinay Khatri
Last updated on June 10, 2022

    An operating system is an important part of a computer system. It does not matter whether it is a personal computer or a robot working in a manufacturing factory, every computer needs an operating system so the specific program gets an environment to run. When a program runs and executes on the operating system, the hardware works according to it.

    Here in this article, we will discuss the most important types of operating systems.

    What is an Operating System?

    An operating system is a software that provides an environment to the other programs so they can run and execute. The main purpose of an OS is to provide an interface between the user and the system hardware. With an operating system, a user can take control of the hardware and make it work according to a specific program.

    Some Main Functions of an Operating System

    The operating system performs many functions to make it easy for a user to control a particular device. Some of the important ones are:

    • Memory Management: It is the key feature of any operating system. An OS always keeps track of the memory usage as well as allocates and deallocates the memory to programs, according to their demands.
    • Processor Management: It can control the use of the processor and allocates and deallocates the processing power.
    • Device Management: The operating system keeps track of all the connected devices. Here, the OS decides which device should get which process.
    • File Management: It keeps track of all the stored files. An OS allows the user to delete and modify files, and generate a new file.
    • Security Management: An OS protects the device or computer from unauthorized activities and also provides privacy to the user in the form of passwords.
    • Error Detection: It shows the error messages and different debugging notifications if there is any problem in the system.
    • The Connecting Link Between the User and Hardware: It provides an interface so the user can directly approach the hardware.

    Types of Operating Systems

    Though there are many types of operating systems, here we have mentioned only those which are most important and yet in use:

    1. Batch Operating System
    2. Interactive Operating System
    3. Real-Time Operating System
    4. Multiprogramming Operating System
    5. Multitasking/Time-sharing Operating System
    6. Multiprocessing Operating System
    7. Distributed Operating System

    1. Batch Operating System

    The first OS on our list of the most important types of operating systems is the Batch OS. In a Batch operating system, the user does not have direct access to the computer and cannot directly interact with it either.

    In this type of OS, jobs are prepared for each user, and all those jobs have been imprinted or stored in the punch card-like structure, which is submitted to the computer operator.

    This kind of operating system mostly works on offline devices and once the punch card is submitted to the computer operator, the computer works according to the code or program is written on the card.


    • The performance of the Batch mode increases as the new job starts.


    • No direct interaction between the user and the system.
    • Difficult to debug.
    • Lack of protection.

    2. Interactive Operating System

    In an Interactive operating system, there is a direct interaction between the user and the computer. Mostly, all personal computers use Interactive operating systems. In this kind of operating system, the user enters some command in the system and the system works according to it.

    3. Real-Time Operating System

    An RTOS is a data processing system whose response time to the input is very short. RTOS is also known as the brain of the real-time system because of its immediate response to the input. The response to the input in RTOS is displayed in a specific time period. Though the time period is very short it does not show any kind of disparity. There are 2 types of Real-Time operating systems:

    1. Hard Real-Time System : In a Hard Real-Time system, if the response takes more time than the specified time interval, the system will show fail. The secondary storage is also limited in these systems.
    2. Soft Real-Time System: The Soft Real-Time system does not fail the program even if the response takes more time than the specified time. It would just show the output, however, it can compromise the accuracy of the response.

    4. Multiprogramming Operating System

    Multiprogramming operating systems can execute different programs at once. Though the computer cannot execute all the programs at once because of switching between the jobs, it seems that it does. It stores all the jobs in the main memory and spontaneously works on each.

    The speed is so fast that it feels as if the computer is executing all the jobs at once. In a Multiprogramming OS, the CPU switches the processing from one job to another so fast it could process each job. This operating system is an ideal approach to resource management with maximum resource utilization.

    5. Time-sharing Operating System

    It is similar to the multiprogramming system with some additional extensions and also known as Multitasking OS. In a Time-sharing OS , the system is capable of handling multiple jobs simultaneously and here the processing time is shared among all the users.

    With the Time-sharing OS, users at different locations or terminals can access the same computer at the same time. Here, the CPU uses the switching mechanism that helps it to switch from one job to another so that each job gets equal processing time.

    6. Multiprocessing Operating System

    A Multiprocessing operating system consists of multiple processors to execute the programs and all the processors are connected to the main peripheral. With the help of multiple processors or CPUs, the program can execute simultaneously on the main memory of the system.

    Because of multiple CPUs, this kind of operating system does not follow the switching method. Instead, it performs parallel execution. We use this kind of operating system when we have many jobs to perform and the single CPU switching takes much more time to execute all the processes. These days all the systems use this type of operating system, such as octa-core processors and dual-core processors.

    7. Distributed Operating System

    In this operating system, different computers interact with one another and communicate in order to exchange data. Internet works on this system where everyone is linked with each other to communicate. It can also be termed as the Networking operating system, which supports a high level of communication.

    A Distributed OS uses multiple processors to perform multiple real-time applications on the user terminal. In this system, the processor does not share the memory because each CPU has its own local memory.


    Although there are many types of operating systems, these are the most important ones. Each one has its own way of doing things and thus, each one is suitable for meeting a different set of requirements.

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