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Operating System (OS) Interview Questions And Answers - Part I.

1. What Is An Operating System?

An operating system is the most important software that runs on a computer. An operating system is a program that acts as an intermediary between the user and the computer hardware. It manages the computer's memory, processes, and all of its software and hardware. It also allows you to communicate with the computer without knowing how to speak the computer's "language". Without an operating system, a computer is useless.

The purpose of an OS is to provide a convenient environment in which user can execute programs in a convenient and efficient manner.

2. What Are The Basic Functions Of Operating Systems?

Functions of an operating system are:
  • Shield the user from the intricate low-level details and provide an easier to program and more powerful interface to the machine or network => virtual machine.
  • Manage the system resources: Protection, Scheduling, Sharing, File system, Accounting, etc. This function is obviously important for multitasking (OS2) and multi-using/multitasking (UNIX, VMS) operating systems. Even for single-user/single task, resource management is important (e.g. file system allocation and structure).

3. What Are The Various Components Of A Computer System?

A computer system has four main components. They are:
  • Hardware (I/P & O/P Devices).
  • Operating system.
  • Application programs.
  • Users.

4. What Are The Basic Purposes Of Different Operating Systems?

The three basic purposes of an operating system are:
  • To provide a convenient environment for users to execute programs on computer hardware.
  • To allocate, fairly and efficiently, the computer resources needed to execute the program safely (without adversely affecting other users or the OS itself).
  • To provide a foundation for evolution to future services, while still supporting existing services.

5. What Is A Bootstrap Program & Where Is It Stored?

A bootstrap program is the initial program that the computer runs when it is powered up or rebooted. It initializes all aspects of the system, from CPU registers to device controllers to memory contents. Typically, it is stored in read-only memory (ROM) or electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), known by the general term firmware, within the computer hardware.


6. What is BIOS?
7. What are the advantages and disadvantage of multiprocessor systems?
8. What are the main differences between operating systems for mainframe computers and personal computers?
9. What are the five major activities of an operating system in regard to process management?
10. What are the three major activities of an operating system in regard to memory management?

11. What are the three major activities of an operating system in regard to file management?
12. Discuss various types of operating systems?
13. Discuss Real Time Operating Systems?
14. Discuss Multi-user and Single-user Operating Systems?
15. Discuss Multi-tasking and Single-tasking Operating Systems?

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