System software:A computer is mere a machine that knows nothing about itself. Rather it requires instructions for each and everything it performs.
Those instructions are provided through the System software. The software that controls internal computer operations ( reading data From input devices transmitting, processed information to the output devices, checking system components, converting data/instruction to computer understandable form etc. ) known as system software.
In, short system software is specially designed software that controls the hardware and helps application software run properly.
System software is a broad term and it includes Following types of software:-
- Operating system
- language processor
- Utility software
- Device drivers
1.Operating system Software
The most important system software is the operating system as it makes hardware operate as per instruction and it makes a platform that helps in running of application software.
But before you can run any Application software on your system, The operating system which contains an instruction that coordinate the activities among computer hardware devices, must be loaded From the hard disk into the computer’s memory.
an operating system Software is a program which acts as an interface between a user and the hardware.
This process of loading up of an operating system in memory known as booting Up. Let me describe booting up process in little more details.
Loading operating system files into the main memory known as booting up or bootstrapping (it means getting ready) of the computer and then loading of operating system files in main memory.
The booting Up step by step process as follows:-
- AS soon as the machine is on, POST (Power on self-test) performed which are mainly diagnostic tests that check for integrity of all components (CPU, RAM, IO devices etc.) of a computer system. If any components are found faulty, an error message will display on the screen.
- A chip Name ROM-BIOS (Read-only memory-basic input-output services) is read and execute. Then check that OS Files presence on the disk or not. If nowhere OS files are located then it will show an error message on the screen “Non-System disk or disk error”.
If OS files are found in a drive, its very first sector(called MBR-MasterBoot Record or boot sector)is read which first looks for active partition and then loads secondary boot record from the active partition.
This secondary boot record now loads and runs the bootloader program. Every OS has a specific bootloader program that loads its specific OS files into main memory. Some popular bootloaders are:
NTLDR:- Bootloader for old WINDOWS OSs like Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.
- BOOTMGR:- Bootloader for newer WINDOWS OSs like Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 as well as Windows Server 2008 and windows server 2012
- GRUB & GRUB2:- Bootloader for old and new LINUX versions.
- BOOTX:- Bootloader For MAC OS.
Types of Booting
- Cold booting
- Warm booting
is the booting process that takes place when we first turn on the computer. In cold booting all the above-mentioned steps i.e., right from step 1-POST onwards take place.
warm booting is the booting process that takes place when we reset the computer by pressing a Reset button. In this process, the first step of POST or RAM test or other diagnostic tests etc.is skipped; simply the OS files are reloaded. Warm booting can take only it computer was already running.
The advantage of a Cold reboot is that it releases anything that is stuck in memory.
If you are getting error messages or other issues, it might be because something is stuck in memory.
When you do a cold reboot, it clears the memory. A warm reboot doesn’t release items stuck in memory, only a cold reboot does. Thus, there might be some data loss or damage in a warm reboot.
The Need of Operating System Software
Hardware is nothing but finely designed machinery. A machine is ultimately a machine only, which is always made to work.
In the case of computers, it is either us if we do that or ‘some other’ which does it for us. This ‘some other’ is nothing but our very own ‘Operating System’.
User Interface of an Operating System
Once an operating system loaded into memory it activates User Interface component of it.
The user interface controls how you enter data or instructions and how information displays on the computer screen.
Many of today’s software programs have a graphical user interface. A graphical user interface(GUI)combines text, graphics, and other visual images like icons, windows, shortcuts etc.to make software easier to use.
Types of OSs
There are different types of OSs available, which require different types of hardware to run upon. The operating systems are of mainly following types:
Single User OS:-
As the name suggests, this OS is a single user operating system, so only one user can be supported by it at any point of time. There can be two subcategories of this OS type:
Single Task OS:-
This OS supports/runs single application at a time e.g., OS for mobiles, MS-DOS etc.
Single User, Multitasking OS:-
This OS supports one user but can deal with multiple applications running at a time e.g., simultaneously running a Word document, a video, Internet browsing, listening to music etc. Examples of this OS type are:-Windows Vista, Windows 7/8, Linux, MacOS Leopard etc.
Unlike single program OS, this is multiuser OS. It Supports multiprogramming i.c.,more than one user can be supported by it, therefore, more than one user programs are loaded and active in the main store at the same time.
These active programs are executed using some techniques one by one. Examples of such OS are:- Unix, Linux, IBM AS400 etc.
Time Sharing OS:-
This OS uses the time-sharing technique. Each active user program is given a fair share of CPU time,if the time elapses or an I/O operation is requested, CPU shifts over to the next job waiting and the previous program is put to wait (in case Time is over ) or handed over to I/O manager (in case I/O request is made).
- The active programs are scheduled for execution using certain job scheduling techniques.Examples are: BSD Unix,NOS/VE,GEnie etc.
Real Time OS(RTOS):–
In real time OS, the jobs have fixed deadlines and the jobs have to be completed within their deadlines. The system performance is measured by its ability to complete its jobs within the specified deadlines. Examples include:- LynxOS, OSE, RT Linux etc.
The multiprocessing OS is capable of handling more than one processors as the jobs have to be executed on more than one processor. The multiprocessing OS should be capable of load sharing in case of identical processors so that the system’s efficiency improves. In the case of unidentical processors, the multiprocessing OS should be able to control the super(main)processor and in turn control the working of slave processors. Examples include:- Unix, Linux, Windows NT etc.
This type of OS is designed to share its workload over multiple servers(mostly at multiple locations). Thus a distributed OS has a decentralized architecture.
- A distributed OS shares data and resources among its multiple servers to get maximum efficiency.
- Most reservation systems use distributed OSs.Examples include: Unix, Linux, DCE, X/Open.
These Operating Systems are interactive in nature. These provide GUI interface to facilitate the move and easy interaction to the user. Examples are today’s GUI OSs like Windows, Android iOS etc.
language processor is a special type of system software that can translate the source code into an object code or machine code. Here you should know the meaning of the terms source code or object code.
A source code refers to the program-code written by a programmer in a high-level programming language(HLL)such as in C, Java, C++ etc.
An object code refers to a code usually in machine language or binary code, a language that computer can understand easily and run on hardware.
So, you can safely say that language processors are software that converts source codes into object codes.
there are three types of language processors: assembler, compiler, and interpreter.
This language processor converts the program written in assembly language into machine language.
An interpreter is a type of system software that translates and executes instructions written in a computer program line-by-line, unit by unit etc.
A compiler is another type of system software that translates and executes instructions written in a computer program in one go.
Utility software are those helpful system software programs that ensure the smooth functioning of the computer. Utilities are meant to assist your computer.
Some utilities help you back-up data, some help remove outdated files or recover data that has been accidentally erased. Some make it easier to find and arrange the information you need And some help you avoid virus attacks or clean viruses, if any.
In other words, the utility programs perform house-keeping functions. It is an established truth that everything comes with certain pros and cons.software also are not an exception to it.
Utilities bridge the gaps by helping to solve the problems and maximize your computer’s potential.
Some commonly used utility software are being discussed below:
This utility program ensures a virus-free work environment. A computer virus is a computer program that can inject other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a copy of itself.
A virus not only copies itself but also makes the computer system behave abnormally. For instance, unknown or unasked messages may get flashed or unwanted music gets played or unwanted graphical displays might occur.
An antivirus software scans your disk for viruses and removes them, it any virus is found. Moreover, some antivirus software remains present in memory all the time so that they can detect the viruses(as soon as they occur)and counterattack them.
Some common virus types tackled by Antivirus software are:
Boot viruses infect only the master boot records(MBR)of the hard disk. This would make the computer either unable to boot or booting would take place along with virus code. All this would lead to the spread of virus attack to disks being used with the computer.
Program viruses infect only executable programs. Once executed,(File Viruses) programs load into memory, along with the virus contained within them.Once loaded in memory, now virus can infect other application programs and disks being used thereby corrupting data or making it useless.
Macro Viruses affect programs and document. This infection can only spread if infected documents are opened on another machine,e.g., affecting the default template(normal.dot)of Word thereby stopping any edit or save operations etc.
This virus attaches itself with existing files. When infected file runs, the virus gets activated and can affect other programs/files.
A worm is a special type of malicious program that keeps replicating and hence ends up eating all the storage of the computer.
Trojan horse virus comes in disguise of a useful program like games or
utilities etc.Once run, they can cause data loss, system crash or infect other programs/disks also.
Adware is a form of malware. Adware is designed to pop up advertisements. Adware can be very annoying.
Spyware is written to monitor actions on a computer.A common type of spyware is a key-logger program.This program can record every key stroke and mouse click you make.
File Management Tools
On a computer, there are multiple file extensions and types registered with operating system.In order to work efficiently, there are numerous file management tools available that can help you in tasks like browse,search,arrange,find information, quick preview etc.
one such tool is by default available to you in Windows operating system,known as Windows Explorer.Some other such popular file management tools are Total Commander,Directory Opus,Google Desktop etc.
This utility program facilitates compression of files.Large files can be compressed so that they take less storage area.
when needed ,these compressed files can be exploded back to their original form By compression,the files are stored in a Special format that takes less space.
However the compressed files cannot be directly used,they form before they can be worked upon need to be exploded back to their original Some popular file compression tools are: WinRAR, 7-Zip, PeaZiP etc.
Disk Management Tools
As the name suggests, these tools are used for efficiently managing data on disks so as to have increased performance. Most of these tools are nowadays inbuilt in operating systems.
Common disk management tools are briefly being discussed below:
Disk Cleanup Tool:- The Disk Cleanup utility allows you to free your computer
from temporary and unnecessary files.
Disk Defragmenter:- This utilities program attempts to minimize the Fragmentation on your disk. A file is fragmented when it becomes too large for your computer to store in a single location on a disk.
When this happens your computer splits the file up and stores it in pieces.
Disk Defragmenter speeds up disk access by rearranging the files and free space on your computer, so that files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block.
Backup Utility:- This utility program facilitates the backing-up of a disk. Back-up means duplicating the disk information (file/folders/drives) so that in case of any damage or data-loss,this backed up data may be used.
The backed up data may be restored when needed i.e.,if your original files are damaged or lost.
Device drivers or simply Drivers are programs or files that contain sets of instructions for the operating system Software detailing how best to operate or drive a certain hardware device.
Each device on your system has its own specific driver. Your audio device, video, device, scanner, camera, modem etc. are some of the hardware components that require drivers.
Device Drivers are the programs written for operating system as to work with different hardware devices.
When you add a new device to your computer, the operating system may not know what to do with it.
However, when you install the driver, the operating system knows exactly what it is and more importantly,it
understands how to use it.
Here we have share enough details about System software. Which will help you to understand about System software.If you have any doubts comment below and you can read other article about offshore software developments and software development outsourcing.