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Table of contents
Types of Operating Systems
Single-user Operating System
Batch operating system
Distributed Operating System
Network Operating System
Time-Sharing Operating Systems
Real-Time Operating System 
Frequently Asked Questions
Operating System is responsible for?
What are the components of an Operating System?
Provide some examples of mobile Operating systems.
Explain Embedded Operating System.
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Types of Operating Systems

Author Jainish Patel
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Operating System


Have you ever wondered how a user and a system communicate with one another? How does system hardware comprehend a user's instructions? So, the Operating System is the answer to these questions. Hardware is simply engineered machinery, and an interface is required to establish communication between hardware and a user. It converts the user's high-level language instructions into machine language that a computer can understand. It acts as a bridge between the user and the computer hardware, providing the environment needed to run various programs efficiently. 

In this article, we’ll be learning about the different types of Operating Systems: 

Let us get started now: 

Also See, FCFS Scheduling Algorithm, Multiprogramming vs Multitasking

You can also read about, mv command in linux

Types of Operating Systems

Single-user Operating System

A Single-User Operating System, as the name implies, is one that allows a single user to perform only one task at a time. This type of OS is designed to enhance the user experience and gives less priority to CPU utilization. 

Examples include DOS, Windows 3x, Windows 95, 97, and 98.

User Interation with CPU


  • Supports only one user at a time: In these systems, only one user is active at any given time. As a result, no other user will be able to interfere with the applications. In these systems, user requests consume all computer resources.
  • Simple to maintain: Because these systems use fewer resources and have a lower level of complexity, they are simple to maintain and debug. A multi-user operating system requires more resources, and those resources are used the majority of the time.
  • Less chance of damage: Because these systems make fewer requests to hardware and software at the same time, they are less likely to be damaged. These systems also do not have a longer load time.


  • Tasks take a longer time: You might know that many tasks are waiting for the CPU if no multiple processes are running at the same time. As a result, these systems react to processes at a higher time. As a result, the system will be slower and the reaction time will be longer.
  • CPU Idle time is higher: It is able to execute only one task at a time which increases the Idle time of the CPU. 
  • It is less optimized.

Batch operating system

The Batch operating system has no direct interaction with the computer. Instead, an operator groups up similar types of jobs and converts them into batches, and afterward, they are moved forward to the CPU. It is the responsibility of the operator to sort jobs with similar needs. Some examples are Payroll systems, Bank Statements.

batch operating system

In the above picture, there are 4 users trying to perform some task/job. The jobs are diverted towards the operator and then the operators sort the similar jobs into batches and then move forward towards the CPU to execute. 


  • Usually, it is pretty difficult to estimate or predict how long a work will take to finish but Batch system processors know how long a job will take when it is queued. 
  • Multiple users can share the batch systems. 
  • The batch system has relatively little downtime.
  • In batch systems, it is simple to manage large amounts of work repeatedly.


  • Batch systems should be familiar to computer operators.
  • Batch systems are difficult to debug and can be costly.
  • If one of the jobs fails, the others will have to wait for an unknown period of time.


Must Read Evolution of Operating System and Open Source Operating System

Distributed Operating System

In the distributed operating system there are various central processors used to support multiple real-time applications and multiple users. All the computers are connected through a high-speed common communication channel. All the computers have their individual memory and processor. This type of arrangement of computers is known as loosely coupled systems. The benefit of this OS is a user can access files that are not available on his/her pc. Nowadays distributed OS is widely used all over the globe. 

Some examples like LOCUS, etc. 


In the above image, there are five computers that are connected to each other via a communication network. LAN cables or other high-speed cables are used to connect them with the network.


  • Because all systems are independent of one another, a failure in one will not influence network connectivity in the other. Electronic mail speeds up data exchange.
  • Since resources are shared, computation is extremely quick and long-lasting.
  • The load on the host machine is reduced.
  • These systems are easily expandable since they allow for the addition of other systems to the network. Data processing time is also minimal.


  • If the primary network fails, the entire communication system will come to a halt.
  • The language that is used to build distributed systems is not yet well defined.
  • Since these systems are so pricey, they are not widely available. Not only that, but the underlying software is extremely sophisticated and poorly understood.

Network Operating System

The Network Operating System runs on a server and gives the server the capability to manage data, users, groups, security, applications, and other networking functions. Over a small private network, these operating systems offer shared access to files, printers, security, programs, and other networking features. Another essential feature of Network Operating Systems is that all users are aware of the underlying configuration and the identities of all other users on the network, their individual connections, and so on, which is why these computers are referred to as tightly coupled systems.

Some examples like Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X, etc. 

Network Operating System

You might be thinking that Distributed Operating systems also have similar structures as above. But in a Network operating system, the operations are performed over the server whereas in a Distributed OS the operations are performed by the individual system. In-Network OS the computer systems are connected to the server with high-speed LAN cables.


  • Centralized servers that are extremely stable.
  • Servers are used to address security concerns.
  • The system can easily accommodate new technologies and hardware upgrades.
  • Remote server access is possible from a variety of places and platforms.


  • High-performance servers are expensive.
  • For most procedures, the user must rely on a central site. Because there is only a central server and no other processor available for the system individually. 
  • Regular maintenance and updates are required.

Time-Sharing Operating Systems

In the Time-sharing Operating System, each task is given a certain amount of time to complete so that everything runs properly. It is also known as Multitasking OS. Because they share a single system, each user gets CPU time. The task may come from a single user or multiple users. Time quantum or slice refers to the amount of time it takes for each task to complete. When this time interval has passed, OS moves on to the next job. 

Some Examples like Multics, Unix, etc.

time sharing operating system


  • Each task is given the same amount of time. As there is a specific time decided for each process for which the process will be executed.
  • There are fewer chances of program duplication.
  • CPU idle time is less. 


  • It causes a problem with reliability.
  • Data and user programs have less security and integrity.
  • The problem of data communication
  • It uses a lot of system resources.

Real-Time Operating System 

Real-time operating systems(RTOS) are used in environments where a large number of events, mostly external to the computer system, must be accepted and processed in a short time or within certain deadlines. 

When there are severe timing constraints, such as missile systems, air traffic control systems, robotics, and so on, real-time systems are used.

real time operating system

Kernel: The kernel is the essential centre of a computer operating system (OS). All the functionalities of the OS reside in the kernel. It is the main layer between the OS and hardware, and it helps with process and memory management, file systems, device control and networking and many more.

Also read - File management in operating system

There are two types of Real-Time Operating system which are as follows: 

  • Hard Real-Time Systems (HRTS): These operating systems are designed for applications where time constraints are extremely tight and even the smallest delay is unacceptable. These devices, like automated parachutes or airbags, are designed to save lives and must be promptly available in the event of an accident. In these systems, virtual memory is uncommon.
  • Soft Real-Time Systems(SRTS): Soft real-time systems, you might guess, have soft time constraints. A vital real-time task is given precedence over other tasks and remains idle until it is completed. Soft real-time systems are more constrained than hard real-time systems in terms of utility. Multimedia, virtual reality, Advanced Scientific Projects such as submarine research and planetary rovers, and so on are examples.


  • Maximum Consumption: RTOS allows us to get the most out of the system by utilizing all of the resources and keeping all of the devices active.
  • The Real-Time operating system is used in an embedded system: Because of the modest size of the programs, RTOS can be used in embedded systems such as transportation and other applications.
  • Task Shifting: In these systems, task shifting gets very little attention.
  • Focus on application: It focuses on the currently running application rather than other apps in the life cycle's waiting state.
  • Error-Free: RTOS is error-free, which means there are no risks of it making a mistake while executing tasks.
  • Memory Allocation: In these types of systems, memory allocation is best handled.
  • 24*7 systems: RTOS is ideal for applications that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week because it minimizes job shifting and maximizes output.


  • Limited Tasks: To avoid problems, only a few tasks execute at the same time, and their concentration is limited to a few applications.
  • Use a lot of system resources: System resources aren't always the best, and they're also pricey.
  • Complex Algorithms: The algorithms are extremely complicated and tough to write.
  • Device driver and interrupt signals: To respond to interruptions as quickly as possible, it requires appropriate device drivers and interrupt signals.
  • Thread Priority: Setting thread priority isn't a smart idea because these systems aren't prone to change jobs.
    Read about Batch Operating System here.

   You can also read about the - Memory hierarchy in computer network

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Frequently Asked Questions

Operating System is responsible for?

It is responsible for managing computer hardware, software resources, and other applications, hence it is known as a resource manager

What are the components of an Operating System?

The main components are the kernel, API or application program interface, user interface, file system, hardware devices, and device drivers.

Provide some examples of mobile Operating systems.

Smartphones now come with an operating system as a result of technological advancements. 
AndroidiOSWindows Phone OS, and Symbian are the most well-known mobile operating systems.

Explain Embedded Operating System.

Embedded Operating systems are designed for a specific purpose to increase functionality and reliability for achieving a specific task. These unique operating systems are integrated into larger systems. They are usually limited to a single purpose, such as an ATM.


This article discusses different types of operating systems and their advantages and disadvantages.

Recommended Readings:

Do check out The Interview guide for Product Based Companies as well as some of the Popular Interview Problems from Top companies like Amazon, Adobe, Google, etc. on Coding Ninjas Studio. You can also consider our Operating System Course to give your career an edge over others.

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