operating system

A program or suite of programs that controls the entire operation of the computer. It is normally provided by the manufacturer and deals with the basic functions of the computer, such as detecting what has been typed in, displaying data on the screen and loading and saving to backing store. Operating systems include utility programs which make the operation of the computer easier, such as a program to format a disk. At a technical level the operating system handles the basic and central functions such as input and output operations and interrupts. Examples are DOS, Linux, Windows and MacOS.