What is operating system in computer and its function

An operating system is the first software that gets loaded into the computer memory while booting and it acts as a medium between a user and the hardware Two of the most commonly used operating systems nowadays are Windows and Linux. Let’s discuss them.

Windows 7

Windows 7 was produced as a part of Windows NT family of operating systems. It was made available for use on October 22, 2009. It became very popular because of its user friendly environment, noticeable speed improvement, and modest system requirements. Some of its significant features are discussed below:

Features of Windows 7

  • Easy To Use
  • Multi-tasking
  • Searching Made Easier
  • Pinning To Taskbar
  • Aero Peek
  • Live Taskbar Preview

Starting Windows

When you switch on the computer, Windows starts automatically and displays a welcome message. It is followed by the first screen of Windows known as Desktop It contains some graphic symbols called icons


The word ‘Desktop is derived from the real life desktop (the top of our working table) where you may find pen stand, notepad, calculator, files, etc. The desktop of Windows also serves the same purpose . You can find various icons, like objects, shortcut icons, document icons, disk drive icons, etc., on the desktop.


Taskbar is a long horizontal bar at the bottom of the desktop. It has the Start button on the extreme left side. The middle section of the bar shows buttons with a label for each of the opened applications and allows us to quickly switch between them.You can activate the application window by clicking on its taskbar button When an application is active, its button is highlighted in a lighter shade.

The Start Button:- is probably the most frequently used component of the Windows desktop When you click on the Start button, a menu displaying the major applications appears. These headings provide access to the main programs of your computer You can start programs, open documents, customise your system, get help, and search for items on your computer through the Start button.

Let us have a glimpse at the menu of the start button:

  • Games
  • Default Programs
  • Devices And Printers
  • Help And Support
  • Computer
  • Control Panel
  • Pictures
  • Music
  • Document

Shut Down Your Computer: Click on the Start button and select the Shut down button at the bottom of the right pane. The system shuts down

Quick Launch Bar is present on the right side of the Start button on the taskbar The icons displayed on this bar help in quickly accessing programs/applications

Notification Area at the right side of the taskbar includes a clock and group of icons that provide status and notifications about things like updates, network connectivity, incoming mails, battery, volume, etc.

Show Desktop button is present on the extreme right of the taskbar .Simply placing the cursor on this button minimises all the open windows and shows the desktop.


Small graphic symbols displayed on the desktop are called icons. Windows uses many objects that have specific functions such as. Files, Programs, Computer, Folders, Network Neighborhood/Network, Shortcuts, and Recycle Bin. Icons play a very important role in Graphical User Interface.

Some Important Icons

Let’s discuss some default icons that appear on Windows 7 desktop.


Double click on this icon to explore your computer .It opens the icons to explore all your hard drives and displays a sidebar that contains Favorites, Libraries, Computer, and Network sections

Favorites:- By default, in Windows 7. Favorites for Internet Explorer are saved in the C \Users[username]\Favorites folder.

Libraries:- A Library is a reference to one or more folders on your computer and the files found inside those folders. When opening a library, Windows Explorer displays all the files and folders that are part of it, as if they are physically stored inside the Library .They can help users organize their files and folders efficiently in one place regardless of where they are stored. The default sub-folders inside Library are. Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

Computer:- Complete information regarding the system drives and other peripherals can be viewed under Computer Usually, it displays three categories of information – Hard Disk Drives, Devices with Removable Storage, Network Location.

Network:- This icon allows you to access the shared resources, such as files and printers.

Recycle Bin:– The Recycle Bin is used by Windows computers to store deleted items. It temporarily stores files and folders before they are permanently deleted. You can open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking on the icon on the Windows desktop. The Recycle Bin window allows you to delete items individually or restore them to their original location.

Permanently Deleting Files:– If you want to permanently delete the content of the Recycle Bin, follow any one of the given methods:

  • Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon and then click on Empty Recycle Bin from the context menu Or
  • Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon.
  • The Recycle Bin folder opens.
  • Click on the Empty the Recycle Bin option

Restore Files/Folder from Recycle Bin Window:- If you have deleted a file accidentally, you can recover it from the Recycle Bin.

Follow any of the given methods:

  • Right click on the file, and then click on Restore. Or
  • Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon .
  • The Recycle Bin folder opens.
  • Select the deleted file and click on Restore this item option.

Shortcut Files & Folders

The Windows desktop contains shortcut icons of various files, folders, and programs. These icons can be used to open the applications easily.

Common Desktop Operations

The Windows 7 desktop provides various features to control and manage its appearance. Some of them are:

Managing Wallpaper:- The desktop background is called the Wallpaper .To change it:

  • Right-click a blank part of the desktop and choose Personalize. The Control Panel’s Personalization pane appears.
  • click on the Desktop Background option along the window’s bottom left corner .
  • Click on any of the pictures, and Windows 7 quickly places it onto your desktop’s background.
  • Click on the Browse button and click on a file from inside your personal Pictures folder.
  • Click on Save Changes and exit the Desktop Background window when you are satisfied with your choice.

Managing Screensaver:- A screensaver is a computer application that blanks the screen of the computer when it is inactive or fills it with images or patterns to avoid phosphor burn-in on plasma and CRT monitors. To set a screensaver.

  • Right-click a blank part of the desktop and choose Personalize The Control Panel’s Personalization pane appears .
  • Choose Screensaver icon from the bottom of the screen .
  • Under Screensaver, in the drop-down list, click on the screen saver you want to use.
  • Click on Preview to see what your chosen screensaver will look like.
  • Click on OK.

Setting Up System Date/Time: Current system Date and time is displayed on the bottom right corner of your desktop To change it:

  • Click on the clock in the icon tray at the bottom right of your computer screen .
  • This should show the clock, date and calendar Click on Change date and time settingsā€¦ to get the Date and Time menu (Alternatively, use Start > Control Panel > Date and Time.)
  • Click on Change time zone and select your time zone When you have the correct time zone.
  • check that the time displayed in the Date & Time tab is correct If not, change it and click on Apply.
  • When complete,click on OK.

Volume Control:- The volume control icon is displayed on the bottom right corner of the Windows 7 desktop Use it to control the volume of all types of sound output.

Windows 10

Windows is an operating system developed by Microsoft, world’s leading software company .It provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that makes the interaction between the computer and the user easy. Windows is called so because its interface resembles a glass window through which you can see and have different views.

Windows 10 is the popular version of Windows and was released on July 29, 2015. It is more attractive than Windows 7 and Windows 8 and provides a complete set of new features, such as pictures, themes, and icons.

Features of Windows 10

The Windows 10 operating system has become very popular because of its following features:

  • Windows 10 has a very attractive transparent look with blue highlighting features.
  • The new Start menu of Windows 10 gives you a quick access to apps and services .
  • Windows 10 has a refined and powerful search tool called ‘Cortana’ .It allows you to search for information and can also be used to play music, videos, set alarms and reminders, send e-mail, give voice commands, etc.
  • Windows 10 has a new Task View’ button on the taskbar This button provides the ability to open multiple desktops at the same time.
  • Microsoft Edge is the default browser of Windows 10 It allows you to write and highlight the text directly on web pages.


Linux is the operating system that is available free of cost. It was developed by Linus Torvalds on 5 October 1991. It has become one of the most popular alternatives to other costly operating systems. Popular Linux distributions are Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, and Arch Mint.

In this chapter, you will learn about Ubuntu. It is a free and open source Linux distribution. It has a lot of educational software and tools, which can help the students in their studies.

Ubuntu Desktop

When you sign into Ubuntu for the first time, you will see an Ubuntu desktop. Let us understand each component of the Ubuntu desktop in detail.


The small labelled pictures or symbols present on the desktop are called Icons. These icons are used to open specific programs or documentS.

Top Bar

The Top Bar is a long horizontal bar located at the top of the desktop. It provides access to the activities overview, date and time, battery life, and network connectivity. It is also called Menu bar.


On the left side of the Menu bar lies the Dock, which shows various application and a shortcut to your favourite.

Activities Button

One can overview the various applications that are currently running by clicking on the Activities button in the Top Bar.

Show Applications Button

It appears at the bottom of the Dock. When clicked, it lists all the applications installed on your system. It is also known as App Drawer.

Search Bar

The Search bar appears at the top when you click on the Show Applicationsicon. You can type thename of the application that you want to open in the Search bar.

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