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An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is a component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs usually require an operating system to function.

Time-sharing operating systems schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may also include accounting software for cost allocation of processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources.

For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware, although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and frequently makes system calls to an OS function or is interrupted by it. Operating systems are found on many devices that contain a computer – from cellular phones and video game consoles to web servers and supercomputers.

Examples of popular desktop operating systems include Apple OS X, Linux and its variants, and Microsoft Windows. So-called mobile operating systems include Android and iOS. Other classes of operating systems, such as real-time (RTOS), also exist.

Shielding MAC addresses from stalkers is hard and Android fails miserably...

Enlarge (credit: Christiaan Colen) In early 2015, architects of Google's Android mobile operating system introduced a new feature that was intended to curtail...

Google reports mixed progress on Android security

Android suffers from a reality-based reputation problem, with reports of malicious apps stealing user data and critical security vulnerabilities that can take over user...

How to fix 5 Windows 10 headaches

Microsoft Windows 10 has gone a long way towards fixing the problems that were endemic with earlier versions of Windows—notably Windows 8.But it’s still...

First look: Android O developer preview

For the second year in a row, Google has released the preview version of its Android mobile operating system without fanfare, announcing its sudden...

Red Flag Windows: Microsoft modifies Windows OS for Chinese government

China has long been both a huge lure and a thorn in the side for Microsoft. Massive piracy of Windows XP, a decade-long effort...

Microsoft, stop sabotaging Windows 10

Windows 10 is a good operating system, the first one since Windows 7.But Microsoft seems determined to penalize users who adopt it. The latest beta...

Pwn2Own hacking contest ends with two virtual machine escapes

Two teams of researchers managed to win the biggest bounties at this year's Pwn2Own hacking contest by escaping from the VMware Workstation virtual machine...

Virtual machine escape fetches $105,000 at Pwn2Own hacking contest [updated]

Enlarge (credit: Heather Katsoulis) Contestants at this year's Pwn2Own hacking competition in Vancouver just pulled off an unusually impressive feat: they compromised Microsoft's...

Blocking Windows 7, 8.1 updates for Kaby Lake, Ryzen chips appears...

Enlarge / A Kaby Lake desktop CPU, not that you can tell the difference in a press shot. (credit: Intel) A recently published...

Greenwave Systems Unveils Edge Analytics Integration for VxWorks

AXON Predict becomes the first integrated analytics engine for VxWorks; developer community invited to learn more at Embedded World NUREMBURG, GERMANY, March 15, 2017...

IDG Contributor Network: Is Windows 10 an operating system or an...

Is Windows 10 an operating system or an advertising platform? Windows 10 has certainly gotten its share of lumps since it was released.Some users really...

Advertising in Windows has reached an exasperating new low

Enlarge / Advertisements? In my Explorer? It's more common than you think. (credit: A reddit user with a name that's frankly distasteful in and...