LIS 505 - Operating systems
Software that manages computer resources at a low level.
May also include tools used by programmers
(compilers, linkers, loaders, and debuggers)
and some utilities.
Software that performs basic tasks,
such as recognizing input, sending output,
keeping track of files and directories,
controlling peripheral devices,
making sure that different programs running at the same time
do not interfere with each other
and that unauthorized users do not access the system.
A family of operating systems from Microsoft.
It dominates the personal computer market.
A family of operating systems originating with Bell Labs in the 1970s.
Versions are widely used
and larger computers.
A freely-distributable Unix-like operating system
available for a variety of different computers,
including personal computers.
The parts of operating systems
that load first and remain in memory.
Loading software required to start the computer
(typically, the operating system).
Short for bootstrapping,
from the phrase "lifting oneself up by one's own bootstraps".
The ways users communicate with computers
and computers with users;
for example, through commands and prompts,
or mouse clicks and graphic displays.
Categories of underlying hardware or software configurations
for computer systems.
Usually defined in terms of the operating system.
Output messages indicating that a computer is waiting for input.
Messages input by a user instructing a computer or device
to perform specific tasks.
that take advantage of a computer's graphics capabilities
to make interaction easier.
They typically make use of
windows, icons, mice, and pointers
Small pictures that represent various entities such as programs
and that normally respond to mouse clicks in a graphical user interface.
Lists of options from which the user can choose.
Menus that appear just below items when they are selected,
usually by left-clicking on them with a mouse.
Menus that appear temporarily at various places on a screen,
such as those that appear in many Windows applications
when the user right-clicks on objects.
Interfaces through which users run programs.
Also referred to as shells,
especially when part of the operating system.
The ability of a computer system to configure devices automatically.
Microsoft and Intel's PnP technology
allows plug and play in Windows 95 and later versions
for devices that support PnP.
Short for Object Linking and Embedding,
A Microsoft standard
that allows the user to embed an object
created with one application program
in a file created with another application program.
The user needs to have the program that created an embedded object
in order to view or edit the object.
Linking is an option that also includes in the document
a reference to another file that contains the original object;
if that file is updated,
the object embedded in the document will be updated automatically.
in which two operating systems are installed on the hard drive;
when users start these systems,
a boot manager program displays a menu,
allowing them to choose which operating system they want.
Operating systems with special functions
for connecting computers and devices
into local area networks.
Not usually applied to general operating systems
with built-in networking functions.
Executing more than one task (program)
at the same time.
Also referred to as multiprogramming
especially when more than one CPU is used,
Concurrent use of a computer by more than one user.
Typical of larger computer systems.
An operating system feature
by which each program can be allocated a certain section of memory
that other programs cannot use.
A feature of the protected mode
that is available on Intel processors from the 80286 on.
The time between the end of a user's demand on a computer system
and the beginning of a response.
Signals informing programs
that certain kinds of events have occurred
and causing control to pass to special routines
Intel processors support only 15 hardware interrupts,
and allocating these among the devices that need them
on a given computer system can be tricky.
A combination of real memory and disk storage
that an operating system makes look like a larger real memory to software.
A technique, used by some virtual memory systems,
which divides virtual memory into pages,
some of which are in real memory
while others are on disk.
When a page is needed that is not in real memory,
a page fault is said to occur,
and the operating system tries to get the missing page from the disk.
In virtual memory systems,
spending too much time swapping pages
and not enough time doing actual work,
typically because too many programs are competing for too little memory.
Putting jobs in a special area
where a device, such as a printer,
can access them when it is ready.
Programs that perform very specific tasks.
Utilities that allow users to perform basic file functions
such as locating, copying, moving, deleting, viewing, editing,
Utilities that allow users to copy files
to and from another (backup) medium,
such as disk or tape.
Utilities that allow users to store file contents
in a format that requires less space.
Utilities that optimize disks by reducing fragmentation of files,
a condition in which pieces of a file are scattered around
in different places.
Special programs that control devices
and are often parts of operating systems.
They are needed in order for other programs
to communicate with the devices.
Windows driver files are not normal executable programs
and do not have the extension .exe or .com;
typical extensions are .vxd, .drv, and .sys.
Last updated October 30, 2003.
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Faculty of Information and Media Studies
University of Western
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