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Chapter Review 8

What Are the Types of System Software?

System software consists of the programs that control or maintain the operations of a computer and its devices. Two types of system software are operating systems and utility programs. An operating system (OS) contains instructions that coordinate all the activities among computer hardware resources. A utility program performs maintenance-type tasks, usually related to managing a computer, its devices, or its programs.

What Is the Startup Process on a Personal Computer?

Booting is the process of starting or restarting a computer. When a user turns on a computer, the power supply sends a signal to the system unit. The processor chip finds the ROM chip(s) that contains the BIOS, which is firmware with the computerís startup instructions. The BIOS performs the power-on self test (POST) to check system components and compares the results with data in a CMOS chip. If the POST completes successfully, the BIOS searches for the system files and the kernel of the operating system, which manages memory and devices, and loads them into memory from storage. Finally, the operating system loads configuration information, requests any necessary user information, and displays the desktop on the screen.

What Are the Functions of an Operating System?

The operating system provides a user interface, manages programs, manages memory, schedules jobs, configures devices, establishes an Internet connection, and monitors performance. The user interface controls how data and instructions are entered and how information is displayed. Three types of user interfaces are a command-line interface , a menu-driven interface, and a graphical user interface. Managing programs refers to how many users, and how many programs, an operating system can support at one time. An operating system can be single user/single tasking, single user/multitasking, multiuser, or multiprocessing. Memory management optimizes the use of random access memory (RAM). If memory is insufficient, the operating system may use virtual memory, which allocates a portion of a storage medium to function as additional RAM. Scheduling jobs determines the order in which jobs are processed. A job is an operation the processor manages. Configuring devices involves loading each deviceís driver when a user boots the computer. A driver is a program that tells the operating system how to communicate with a specific device. Establishing an Internet connection sets up a connection between a computer and an Internet service provider. A performance monitor is an operating system program that assesses and reports information about computer resources and devices.

How Can Operating Systems Help Administrators Control a Network and Manage Security?

A network operating system , or network OS, is an operating system that organizes and coordinates how multiple users access and share network resources. A network administrator uses the network OS to add and remove users, computers, and other devices to and from the network. A network administrator also uses the network OS to administer network security. For each user, the network administrator establishes a user account that enables the user to log on, or access, the network by supplying the correct user name and password.

What Is the Purpose of the Utilities Included with Most Operating Systems?

Most operating systems include several utility programs. A file manager performs functions related to file and disk management. An image viewer displays and copies the contents of a graphics file. An uninstaller removes a program and any associated entries in the system files.

A disk scanner detects and corrects problems on a disk and searches for and removes unnecessary files. A disk defragmenter reorganizes the files and unused space on a computerís hard disk. A diagnostic utility compiles and reports technical information about a computerís hardware and certain system software programs. A backup utility is used to copy, or back up, selected files or an entire hard disk. A screen saver displays a moving image or blank screen if no keyboard or mouse activity occurs for a specified time.

What Are Features of Several Stand-Alone Operating Systems?

A stand-alone operating system is a complete operating system that works on a desktop computer, notebook computer, or mobile computing device. Stand-alone operating systems include DOS, Windows XP, Mac OS X, UNIX, and Linux. DOS (Disk Operating System) refers to several single user, command-line operating systems developed for personal computers. Windows XP is Microsoftís fastest, most reliable Windows operating system, providing better performance and a new GUI with a simplified look. Mac OS X is a multitasking GUI operating system available only for Apple computers. UNIX is a multitasking operating system developed at Bell Laboratories. Linux is a popular, multitasking UNIX-type operating system that is open source software, which means its code is available to the public.

What Are Various Network Operating Systems?

Network operating systems include NetWare, Windows Server 2003, UNIX, Linux, and Solaris. Novellís NetWare is a network OS designed for client/server networks. Windows Server 2003 is an upgrade to Windows 2000 Server and includes features of previous server versions. Linux, like UNIX, is a multipurpose operating system because it is both a stand-alone and network operating system. Solaris, a version of UNIX developed by Sun Microsystems, is a network OS designed for e-commerce applications.

What Devices Use Embedded Operating Systems?

Most PDAs and small devices have an embedded operating system that resides on a ROM chip. Popular embedded operating systems include Windows CE .NET, Pocket PC 2002, Palm OS, and Symbian OS. Windows CE .NET is a scaled-down Windows operating system designed for use on communications, entertainment, and mobile devices and on handheld computers. Windows Mobile 2003 is a scaled-down operating system from Microsoft that works on a specific type of PDA, called the Pocket PC. Palm OS is an operating system used on Palm-powered PDAs. Symbian OS is an open source multitasking operating system designed for smart phones.

What Is the Purpose of Several Stand-Alone Utility Programs?

Stand-alone utility programs offer improvements over features built into the operating system or provide features not included in the operating system. An antivirus program protects computers against a virus, or potentially damaging computer program, by identifying and removing any computer viruses. A personal firewall detects and protects a personal computer from unauthorized intrusions. A file compression utility shrinks the size of a file so that it takes up less storage space. A personal computer maintenance utility identifies and repairs operating system problems or disk problems, and improves a computerís performance.

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