System Software #4 (Functions of an operating system- part 2)

Starter : Retrieval Practice

The operating system allows for ‘multi-tasking’ it does this by…

Managing the processing time of all the processes that are running so they share the processor.

The operating system is responsible for memory management. This means ….

It keeps a record of where each program is in RAM so it does not overwrite existing programs​.

Operating systems are also responsible for peripheral management. This means….

They get input from devices such as mice and keyboards and send output to devices such as printers and monitors.

Today’s learning: Operating System : Functions (what do they do?)

A quick reminder of the types of operating system that are around, some of which you will have used:

•Android OS •Versions have nicknames such as Jelly Bean and Kit Kat

OS X (Apple MACs) •Versions have nicknames such as “Mountain Lion” and “Snow Leopard”

•iOS (iPhone/iPad)

•MS-DOS and Windows

•Google Chrome OS (based on Linux)


In this post (which follows on from Functions of an operating system- part 1) , we will look at the other functions that are carried out by the operating system. Here is a recap on the useful video to help us look at the other functions.

Courtesy of craigndave

Lets summarise some of the operating system functions covered in the video…..

The function of user management

Operating systems are responsible for user management. In your home your operating system may be ‘single user’, with one single log in. If you think organisations, such as your school, several users will use the computer system at the same time. To manage this the operating system manages user names and passwords which allows each user to log on to their specific data or resources. The operating system also ensures that you do not get access to other users data.

Part of ‘user management’ is something called user rights. This is where different people in a organisation have access to different things.

You can see from the graphic above there are different network locations, this will certainly be true in your school. The ‘home’ folder would be just for you to see. You may have access to the ‘shared folder’ where teachers can put work for you. There will be other folders on the network that just teachers can see – that you don’t have access rights for; for example there might be school polices or information about other students on there that you don’t need to see.

Access rights is important in any business as it reduces the risk of security breaches. The golden rule is to think carefully about what people need access to what documents. Some examples are …. in school teachers need ‘Sims’ to contact parents , do the register etc. Students do not need SIMS for this function so they do not have access to this. In businesses such as Amazon, some employees may need access to customers bank details to issue refunds etc , but the person in the warehouse responsible for shipping your product might not necessarily need this information – not allowing this can add to the security of that data.

Access rights settings

Access rights , in organisations are generally set by the network manager.

The function of file and disk management

Operating systems are responsible for file management – the organisation of data onto different drives (shown above left e.g. S, X, drives ) and in different folders (shown above e.g images, PDF ).

The operating system splits the storage into ‘sectors’ and decides which sectors to write data to. It keeps track of this so that files can be retrieved. It also keeps track of free space so new files can be written to storage.

Part of file management is to enable users to create , delete and move folders and files.

Questions based on today’s learning … have a go before you hit the drop down box for the answer!

User Management includes ‘user names and passwords’ this allows for ….

Users to have their own areas of the network and means that users cannot see other peoples data .

Operating systems are responsible for ‘access rights ‘ this means ….

Users can only see certain files/folders on a computer system, they will just see the resources that are appropriate for them.

An example of ‘access rights’ in a school is …..

Teachers will have access to student information, students will not have access to this information.

An advantage of ‘access rights’ is…

Security – by only allowing certain people access to certain information then information can be kept more secure.

Disk management allow a user to ….

Edit. move, delete folders and files.

Now take the quiz…..


Further Reading: