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Table of contents
What is GUI OS?
Elements of a GUI Operating System
Types of GUI Operating Systems 
Microsoft Windows
Apple macOS
Apple IOS
How Graphical User Interface Works?
Advantages of GUI Operating Systems
Disadvantages of GUI Operating Systems
Differences between GUI and CUI
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of a GUI operating system? 
What is the main features of a GUI?
What is GUI operating system?
Why windows is a GUI operating system?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

GUI Operating System

Author Nidhi Kumari
1 upvote


GUI, or Graphical User Interface, provides a visual way for users to interact with computers, making tasks easier through visual elements. It was developed by Xerox Palo Alto research lab and later popularized by the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s.

GUI contains interactive visual components for computer software. It acts as an interface between the user and the computer. 

GUI operating system

In this article, we will learn about GUI in operating systems, their working, advantages, and the difference between GUI and CUI. So let’s start, without any further ado!

What is GUI OS?

GUI Operating System is a graphics-based OS. It uses icons, menus, and a mouse to interact easily between the user and the system. A mouse is generally used to select the icon or drop the menu. We can perform GUI actions by directly manipulating graphical elements like icons, menus, and buttons.

Some of the languages used in the development of GUI Operating Systems:

  • C#
  • Java
  • HTML/Javascript
  • Python
  • C/C++

C# or Java are preferable due to their ability to execute GUIs in desktop applications and browsers.

A complete GUI includes four components:

  1. Graphics Library
  2. Toolkit
  3. Style Guide
  4. Apps
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Elements of a GUI Operating System

To create a user-friendly GUI, the user can interact with the software using a variety of elements.  Let’s discuss them.

  • Icon: A small graphic showing a file or program.
  • Button: When pressed, launches a program.
  • Menu: A list of options given to the user.
  • Dialogue Box: Asks a user for input and shows additional data.
  • Tab: A window's top clickable region displays a different page.
  • Toolbar: A row of buttons controls the operation, typically located near the top of an app window.
  • Ribbon: An alternative to the file menu and toolbar that combines program-related actions.

Types of GUI Operating Systems 

Now, we will see the types of GUI operating systems.

Microsoft Windows

It is the most widely used GUI operating system. Windows 11 is the most recent form of Microsoft Windows. It also has older versions, like Windows XP, Windows 8, Windows 7, etc. The most popular editions for home PCs:

  • Windows Home (Win Home) and 
  • Windows Professional.

It was initially released in 1985. Previously it used MS-DOS, a command-line OS, but now it uses graphics for the interaction of the user.

Microsoft Windows


Linux is a popular OS. It was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds.

It is free of any specific business or group and is open-source. LINUX is currently used by various companies, individuals, and even on mobile devices and the internet. As a result, it is one of the most widely used GUI operating systems.

It has additional functionality on top of the nearly complete UNIX OS features. It includes many user interfaces, such as

  • KDE
  • Mate
  • Cinnamon etc


It also has a variety of distributions, such as




🔶  LINUX MINT and others


Apple macOS

It serves as the GUI operating system for Apple PCs and laptops. Siri and FaceTime are two of their most used functions.

Apple macOS


It is one of the most widely used OS versions today. We mainly use 

Android on Mobile phones and tablets. The majority of it is an open-source OS.


Apple IOS

It ranks among the most popular OS after Android. It is helpful for Apple products, including tablets and phones like the iPhone and iPad.

Apple IOS

How Graphical User Interface Works?

The model-view-controller pattern is used to create GUI design principles. It separates internal items and external views for the user. A GUI uses Windows icons and menus to execute operations. It also includes the opening, deleting, and moving files. Although a mouse is typically used to browse a GUI operating system, one can use a keyboard using shortcuts or arrow keys.

For example, on a GUI system, you would move the mouse pointer to the program's icon and double-click it to open the program. If we are familiar with the commands, we can use the keyboard to

  • Go to the program's directory.
  • List the files.
  • Launch the file.

GUI testing helps to create test cases to test the design elements and system’s working. Testing tools are offered under various licenses and by several different platforms.

Advantages of GUI Operating Systems

Some of the benefits of GUI Operating Systems are-

  • A GUI OS can increase usability for the typical user.
  • A GUI operating system is more user-friendly than a text-based command-line interface like MS-DOS.
  • The GUI features make computer operations simple to use without any prior experience with computers.
  • It uses metaphors like drag-and-drop for file transfers and simple icons, like a trash bin for deleted files.
  • GUI programs are self-descriptive.

Disadvantages of GUI Operating Systems

  • GUIs require a significant amount of system resources, including processing power and memory. This can slow down system performance, especially on older or less capable machines.
  • Despite being user-friendly, GUIs can be complex to learn and understand, especially for beginners or less tech-savvy users. This is due to the multitude of options, menus, and features that they tend to offer.
  • GUIs often hide low-level details from the user, providing less control over the system compared to Command Line Interfaces (CLI). They can make it harder to automate tasks or execute complex commands.
  • A GUI Operating System generally requires more disk space due to the graphics, icons, and other visual elements. This could be a disadvantage for systems with limited storage capacity.
  • GUIs often have higher hardware requirements due to their graphical nature. Older systems without graphic cards, or with less RAM and lower processing speed, might struggle to run GUI-based operating systems smoothly.

Differences between GUI and CUI

The differences between CUI and GUI operating systems are as follows:

Key Points CUI GUI
Machine Interaction. Using commands like texts. Using graphics like icons, images, and menus.
Navigation. Difficult Easy.
User-friendly. Difficult to use. Easy to use.
Precision. High. Low.
Speed. Fast. Comparatively Slow.
Storage. Need less memory. Need more memory.
Flexibility. Less flexible. High Flexible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an example of a GUI operating system? 

Microsoft Windows is a prime example of a GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating system. It presents users with visually interactive icons, windows, and other graphical elements to interact with the computer, simplifying tasks and improving accessibility.

What is the main features of a GUI?

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) feature visual elements like windows, icons, buttons, and menus for user interaction. They provide a more intuitive and user-friendly way to interact with software than text-based interfaces.

What is GUI operating system?

A GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating system is a type of operating system that provides a visual interface for users to interact with the computer using graphical elements such as windows, icons, buttons, and menus.

Why windows is a GUI operating system?

Windows is considered a GUI operating system because it provides a graphical user interface for users to interact with the computer. It offers features like windows, icons, menus, and graphical controls, making it easy for users to navigate and perform tasks using visual elements.


In this blog, we have discussed about GUI operating system. GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating systems have revolutionized the way we interact with computers. By providing intuitive visual interfaces, GUI operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux-based distributions have made computing more accessible to users of all levels of expertise. With graphical elements such as windows, icons, menus, and buttons, users can navigate, manage files, and run applications with ease.

We hope this blog helps you increase your knowledge of GUI operating systems. Check out some more interesting articles:

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