Understanding Operating Systems

The operating system

It serves as an intermediary between the software and the hardware. It accepts commands from the user and reserve the resources necessary for their use.


There are several operating systems on the market which are: Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android.

Regardless of their diversity, they all share the same basic features and we will explore in the following lines.

The file Explorer

To facilitate the life of the user, the operating system organizes data in folders and files.

A folder, it is a virtual directory that serves as a container for files. The nearest analogy in our real world is a binder.

A file, it’s a data that can take many forms: executable program, text, sound, video, etc.

The characteristics of a file

Each file has 2 main elements that set it apart from another – the name and the type.

Visually, each file type is represented by an image (icon), but its main property is its extension.

Among the the most common file extensions are:

  • txt (text document)
  • exe (executable program)
  • docx (Microsoft Word document)
  • xlsx (Microsoft Excel document)
  • pdf (PDF document)
  • jpeg (JPEG image)
  • png (PNG image)
  • mp3 (MP3 audio file)
  • mp4 (MP4 video file)
  • avi (AVI video file)

Now let’s see an example of the Explorer in action.


Control Panel

It is the dashboard which provides the tools to change the various properties of the operating system and manage installed applications.

Thus can be to configure display settings, sound, input devices, install and uninstall programs, manage security.



It is the intermediate interface between you and the machine. This is your virtual desktop that displays the most common information and gives you access to everything else.


Storage management

Program files, the operating system, and your personal data are stored on the internal hard disk of your computer.

Additional storage devices can be connected as required, such as the CD-ROM, external hard disk drive or USB stick.


The Organization of data is fairly simple. It creates a folder and you drop files inside.

In our next lesson we’ll see common operations on files and folders.

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