Often abbreviated as OS, an operating system is a powerful, and usually large, program that controls and manages the hardware and other software on a computer.
All computers and computer-like devices have operating systems, including your laptop, tablet, desktop, smartphone, smartwatch, router… game console.. you name it.
Examples of Operating Systems
Laptops, tablets, and desktop computers all run operating systems that you’ve probably heard of.
Some examples include versions of Microsoft Windows (like Windows 10, Windows 8,Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP), Apple’s Mac OSX, Chrome OS, and flavors of the open source operating system Linux.
Your smartphone runs an operating system too, probably either Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.
Both are household names but you may not have realized that they are the operating systems being utilized on those devices.
Servers, like those that host the websites you visit or serve the videos you watch, typically run specialized operating systems, designed and optimized to run the special software required to make them do what they do. Some examples include Windows Server, RedHat Enterprise Linux, and FreeBSD.
Software & Operating Systems
Most software programs are designed to work with just one company’s operating system, like just Windows (Microsoft) or just Mac OSX (Apple).
A piece of software will clearly say which operating systems it supports and will get very specific if necessary. For example, a video production software program might say it supports Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, but does not support older versions of Windows like Windows Vista and XP.
Software developers also often release additional versions of their software that work with other operating systems. Coming back to the video production program example, that company might also release another version of the program with exactly the same features but that only works with Mac OS X.
Microsoft Windows Operating Systems
The operating system that I deal with most here on my site is Windows. I personally have used almost every version of Windows out there. From Windows 3.11 (for workgroups) and NT 4.0, all the way up to Windows 10 right now. I also have various other machines in my home office that are Ubuntu Linux, and virtual machine environments where I use Red Hat, CentOS, Mint for testing issues. I have a Apple computer, and a iPad 2, but I am not necessary a un-fan of Apple, I just have far less customers with issues, that are Apple related.