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Susan Athena
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What is the importance of an operating system (OS)?

Customer Question

What is the importance of an operating system (OS)? What reasons would a computer user have to change from one OS to another? What do you like and dislike about the OS on your computer at home or at work? Explain why.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Homework
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 8 years ago.

Hi, Spoon.

Thank you so much for your question.

Your custom-written answer is here. I'd be happy to help you with other writing questions for your IT class, as I have expertise in writing and information technology.

An operating system performs many functions. It is the lowest level of software and manages all basic operations of the computer. It handles hardware resources, secondary storage such as disk drives and optical disk readers, memory, and allocates time and resources on the central processing unit. It handles system security, including direct and remote access. It manages file storage, and provides a user interface to all aspects of the computer. Without an operating system, the user would have to spend time and effort managing basic aspects of the computer; of course, modern computers are much too complex for that. All software applications are written to run on a particular operating system.

A computer user might change operating systems to be able to run new software, or to take advantage of advanced features of new versions of the same operating system. For example, a user might upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista to take advantage of improved search, safety/security, and media features. Some users switch to Linux from Windows for improved safety and reliability; some users switch to Windows from Linux in order to run off-the-shelf software that is difficult or impossible to run under Linux. The choice of operating system really depends on what the computer system will be used for, and on personal preference or business needs.

At home I run Windows XP. I like it because it is very easy to use, and I can easily find what's on my machine. It is easy to customize things like themes, colors and sounds. What I don't like about it is that it is harder to customize other kinds of functions. For example, I'd like my Recent Documents submenu on my start button to display more than 15 files, but there doesn't seem to be any easy way to change that setting. I also don't like the "My" folders (My Documents, My Pictures" that are buried so deep in the folder structure. I'd rather have an easy folder name like "c:\MyStuff", so I could get to i more easily. Some applications don't recognize those folder names, because of the spaces in the names.


Williams, B. K., & Sawyer, S. C. (2007). Using information technology: A practical introduction to computers & communication (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Susan Athena, Professional w/Adv. Degree
Category: Homework
Satisfied Customers: 4332
Experience: 10+ yrs teaching & tutoring. AP essay grader. 2 masters degrees. English, IT, business.
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Expert:  Jayendra replied 8 years ago.
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