An operating system is a collection of system programs that controls and co-ordinates the overall operations of a computer system. Memory, processes, hardware and software of a computer are managed by an operating system. It provides an interface for the user to interact with the computer. A user can change and update the operating system. A computer needs an operating system to do work. Without operating system, a computer is like a car with no fuel.
User interface is used to interact with the computer to perform various tasks. User gives commands to computer and enters the data into computer. These are examples of user interfacing. The operating system plays the main role for interfacing between user and computer. The input devices like keyboard and mouse are commonly used for giving commands to computer.
There are two types of operating systems:
Command Line Operating system
Graphical User Interface Operating System
(1) Command Line Operating System
A command line operating system provides a command prompt on the computer screen. It provides full access to computer resources. In this system, view of multiple things at a time on computer screen is difficult. Some kind of this system supports multitasking. But the command line interface is faster than GUI to perform different tasks. In this operating system, the commands are given to the computer by typing on the keyboard. The commands are typed according to the predefined format. The users have to memorize commands and rules of writing these commands. It is not an easy way to interact with the computer. DOS (Disk Operating system), and Unix are the examples of Command Line Operating System. The command line and graphical user-interface operating systems are entirely different. This type of operating system is difficult to learn and use for users. A computer line interface enables a user to easily script a sequence of commands to perform a task.
(2) Graphical User Interface (GUI) Operating System
Graphical User interface (GUI) operating system presents commands in graphical form. It is easy to learn and use. The user gives commands to computer by clicking with mouse on the icon. The users have not to memorize command. Although a GUI offers a better control of a file system and computer resources but often users have to use command line to complete a specific task. GUI provides facility to open multiple programs each in a separate window. So it enables a user to view, and to manipulate multiple things at a time on computer screen. Pointer, pointing device, icons, desktop and menus are the basic components of GUI operating system. Application programs, commands, disk drives, files etc. are present presented in the form of icons. GUI also provides menus, buttons and other graphical objects to the user to perform different tasks. GUI is very easy to interact with the computer. Usually a command is given to the computer by clicking with mouse on the icon. Examples of GUI operating systems are Windows, Linux, and Solaris. Today Windows is commonly used in PCs. In Windows, mouse is used as input device.
Microsoft Windows Operating System:
Microsoft Windows is a series of GUI operating systems. Microsoft Windows is a popular operating system. It was developed by Microsoft Corporation. It is widely used in businesses, educational institutes, and research organizations.
The first successful series of Windows was Windows 3.x series (Windows products 3.0, 3.1, 3.11 etc.). This system supported 16 colours. This version was very popular among the users. Windows 3.x was not an operating system. It was an operating environment providing a GUI. The Windows 3.x was operated under DOS operating system.
In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95. Windows 95 supported the hardware installation with plug and play. It has a variety of colours, much more capabilities of multimedia, TCP/IP support and Direct X for gaming purpose. It was a complete operating system for personal computers.
In 1998, Windows 98 was released. Windows 98 was an improved version of Windows 95. It supported plug and play hardware supports. In the meantime, Microsoft Company added networking features in new versions of Windows. So the company released Windows NT (New Technology). It has networking features. All later versions of Windows are based on NT Technology. These versions include: Windows 2000 (server and professional), and Windows XP.
Windows XP has high rating by the users. Windows XP has very good appearance with beautiful themes and icons. Windows Vista having lot of development on appearance. After the Windows XP, Windows Vista was released. After Windows Vista, Windows 7 was introduced by Microsoft. It is more reliable than others Windows Versions. It has attractive environment and new user interface. Performance wise Windows 7 is best. Microsoft introduced Windows 8 and then Windows 10 (September, 2014) after Windows 7. Windows 8 & 10 both has responsive design, good appearance and attractive environment for users.