A category of software that controls/manages the hardware of a computer system
Controls the workings of the connected hardware of a computer system and allows interaction between the computer system and the user. Examples include Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android
Small piece of software stored on a ROM chip that is loaded when the computer is first powered up. Allows low level input and output operations and points the system to where the operating system is located
System software that bridges a gap between the OS and the connected peripherals, allowing the OS and the peripheral to communicate. They are OS specific and have to be installed before a device can be used fully.
System software that provide 'house keeping' functions that help a device run smoothly. Not essential for the running of a device, usually part of the operating system.
The central part of the OS. Looks after the core functionality and is the first part of the OS to be loaded.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
A type of interface that uses a combination of windows, icons, menus and pointers (WIMP) to allow the user to interact with the system. Good for inexperienced users.
Command line interface
A non-graphical user interface that requires text-entry of commands and does not use a mouse. The output is also in text form. Allows for complex operations in a few commands. Not suitable for inexperienced users.
The method by which an operating system allows the user to interact (control) the computer system. Dictates how the user inputs commands and views the results.
Allocates RAM to programs that are running and ensures that each does not use too much. Makes sure that programs release RAM when they no longer need it. Also in charge or swapping programs to virtual memory and back again.
The ability to allow more than one application to run at the same time. Careful swapping of CPU usage and allocation of memory makes this possible. This is an advantage of good memory management
Managing the computer input and output requests from programs to use devices such as printers, speakers, keyboards, hard disk drives, etc. Requires the use of drivers so that the OS and device understand each other
Takes care of user accounts, ensuring that one user cannot look at or make changes to another person's files. It also looks after user security such as keeping passwords stored safely and access rights of different users. There are extra features, like: recording how long users are logged in for, logging users out after a certain amount of inactivity and identifying who is currently logged into the network.
Takes care of the system file structure on the main backing storage device. Allows creating, copying, moving and deleting of files and folders. Monitors how much space it remaining, looks after file access rights and prevents conflicts with users trying to alter the same file at the same time.
A utility software that allows the user to encrypt and decrypt their own files. Useful if the user wants to keep sensitive data that is stored on the system safe
A utility software. Parts of files are saved in different locations on the hard disk. The further they are away from each other, the longer it takes to load the file. This software aims to move parts of stored files so that they are close to each other, allows them to load more quickly
This utility software reduces the overall size of file(s), making the resulting file quicker to upload and download. The most recognisable form of this is a zip file. Also useful for grouping lots of files together into a single zip file. Another popular file type is rar
This is the act of making a copy of files so that if something happens to the original, they can be restored. Utility software can be used that automatically makes copies of selected files at set times. Must store away from the original.
Copying all the files in a computer system
Copying only the files that have changed since the last backup.