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AS Level ICT
Selection and use of appropriate
software: Operating systems
What is software?
• Software is the name given to all the programs that
run on computer hardware
• There are two main types of software:
– Operating software (also known as systems
– Applications software
Operating systems
• An operating system is a program that controls the
• Operating systems perform the following tasks:
– They assist applications software to
communicate/interact with the hardware (e.g.
allow a word processed document to be printed)
– They manage the system resources (e.g.
allocate Central Processing Unit time to the
tasks being undertaken)
Operating systems
– They manage the transfer of data to and from
the systems peripheral devices (e.g. keyboard,
mouse, scanner, printer)
– They manage system security (e.g. allocating
restricted rights to users to do certain things)
Operating systems
• The operating system acts a a ‘shell’ around the
• The applications software need an operating
system to work, and users need the applications
software to interact with the hardware via the
operating system
Operating systems
• Multi-tasking is the ability to do more than one
thing at a time.
• If an operating system can multi-task, it enables a
computer system to do several things at the same
time (e.g. A user can print a document whilst
reading their emails).
• A multi-user facility allows more than one user to
access data or an application program at the same
• Without a multi-user facility in an operating system
it would be almost impossible for a network to
Operating systems
• Examples of operating systems include:
– Windows Vista
– Windows XP
– Windows ME (Millennium Edition)
– Windows 2000
– Windows NT
– Macintosh OS
– OS/2
Operating systems - Windows
• Microsoft Windows is the most commonly used
operating system
• It works with a wide variety of different computers
from different manufacturers
• It has been constantly developed since it was first
introduced in 1983
Operating systems - Windows
• Windows 3.0 first went on sale in 1990
• It was followed in 1992 by Windows 3.1, which was
one of the first major PC GUI (graphical user
interface) operating systems widely used.
• Windows 3.1 allowed users to utilise several new
features including the use of a mouse to navigate
and manipulate data on the computer
• In addition, the user did not have to memorize MSDOS commands
• Windows also allowed the user to multitask
Operating systems - Windows
Windows 3.0
Operating systems - Windows
Windows 3.1
Operating systems - Windows
• Windows 95 was the next stage of development
• It introduced new features including:
– Plug and Play – this allows hardware devices to
be automatically installed into the computer
– 32 Bit Operating System – this allows the
computer to run faster and more efficiently
– Right mouse click – This allows users to
access and manipulate text by utilising both
mouse buttons
Operating systems - Windows
Windows 95
Operating systems - Windows
• Windows 98 introduced further new features
– Protection – additional protection for important
files was introduced, including automatically
backing up the registry
– Improved support – the support for new
devices (including DVD, USB, and MMX) was
– Plug and Play – the ability to detect devices
was improved
Operating systems - Windows
– Internet Explorer 4.0 – this was included within
the Windows 98 package
– Customisable Taskbar – users were now able
to customise the taskbar
– Active Desktop – users were now able to
customise their active desktop so that it looked
like the Internet
Operating systems - Windows
Windows 98
Operating systems - Windows
• Windows ME (Millennium Edition) allowed users of
Windows 95 and 98 to upgrade their operating
systems to include:
– Revert back to backup – users could
automatically restore an old backup if files
became corrupted or were deleted
– Protect system files –important system files
were protected from being modified by other
Operating systems - Windows
– Movie Editor – it became possible to edit and
combine Microsoft movie files
– Windows Media Player – enabled the use of
more advanced methods of listening to and
organising media files
Operating systems - Windows
Windows ME
Operating systems - Windows
• Windows XP (XP stands for ‘experienced’) was a
radical redesign of the Windows operating system
that included:
– New interface – the user interface looked
completely different and was capable of
– Updates – the operating system could be
automatically updated via the Internet
– Internet Explorer 6 – this enhanced web
browser was included in the Windows XP
Operating systems - Windows
– Multilingual support – support for different user
languages was included
– Reliability – the operating systems reliability
was enhanced
Operating systems - Windows
Windows XP
Operating systems - Windows
• Windows Vista is the latest development of the
Windows operating system
• It looks very different from previous versions of
Windows and has been designed to give users a
better overall experience
• Vista’s key features include:
– Windows Aero (Authentic, Energetic,
Reflective, and Open) – a completely new-look
– Basic file backup and restore facility
Operating systems - Windows
– Improved DVD support – this enables the user
to create custom DVD movies
– Easy transfer – this feature assists the user to
transfer files from an older to a newer computer
– File encryption
– Instant search – the Explorer windows permit
instant searches to be undertaken
– Support for DirectX 10
Operating systems - Windows
– Self-healing – the computer can automatically
detect and correct any problems that may be
– Shadow copy – this allows the user to recover
deleted files
– Improved photo gallery and control of
– Windows Sidebar – this feature allows the user
to add different hardware devices
Operating systems - Windows
– Improved parental control
– Improved Windows Calendar – this allows the
user to easily set tasks and appointments
Operating systems - Windows
Windows Vista
Operating systems - UNIX
• UNIX has evolved since it was first introduced in
• It is a powerful multi-tasking operating system that
was developed for use in a minicomputer
• It is still a widely used network operating system,
especially by universities and ISPs (Internet
Service Providers)
• It uses a mixture of GUIs (Graphical User
Interfaces) and command line interfaces
Operating systems - UNIX
• The main features of UNIX are:
– It is written in the programming language C
– It is a multi-programming operating system
– It is a multi-tasking operating system
– It can be used to run hundreds of terminals
Operating systems - Linux
• Linux is an open source (i.e. free) operating system
• It is mainly used as server software, although its
popularity with other users is growing
Operating systems – Macintosh OS
• The Macintosh operating system was developed by
Apple in 1979, when Apple launched the ‘Lisa’
• It was the first commercial operating system that
made use of GUIs (Graphical User Interface) – this
pre-dated the use of GUIs by Microsoft in 1983
when they launched Windows 1.0
• The Macintosh (also know as Mac) operating
system is particularly popular with users who are
involved with graphic design
Operating systems – OS/2
• OS/2 is and operating system that was developed
originally by Microsoft Corporation for IBM
• It was intended to be the operating system for IBM
PCs that used Intel's 80286 and 80386
• Microsoft withdrew from the development of the
operating system, and its further development was
managed solely by IBM
• OS/2 is compatible with DOS and Windows, and it
can run all DOS and Windows programs
Operating systems – OS/2
• However, programs written specifically to run under
OS/2 will not run under DOS or Windows
AS Level ICT
Selection and use of appropriate
software: Operating systems