CS 3 - Kurtz  Santa Monica College 






Contain data



May contain files or other folders (sub-folders)

Two types of System Software

Operating Systems
Utility Programs (utilities)

Operating System

The set of programs containing instructions that coordinates all of the activities among computer resources.

Utility Programs

A type of system software that performs a specific task, usually related to managing a computer, its devices, or its programs.
Printer Drivers, Memory Manager, File Manager, Task Scheduler, Uninstaller.

Memory Manager

Optimizes use of RAM
Prevents memory conflicts between programs


Contains specialized commands for devices on computer
Necessary for the mouse, keyboard, monitor, printers, disks, etc.

Printer Drivers

Queues multiple print jobs for same printer in buffer
Interprets and formats data for printer

Single User Operating Systems

Supports one user at a time (e.g., DOS).

Multitasking Operating System

Able to run multiple jobs (programs) simultaneously
Windows, Mac OS, UNIX

Multiuser Operating System

Able to support more than one user running different jobs simultaneously
Windows NT, 2000, XP Pro, 2003
UNIX, Linux

Multiprocessing Operating System

Supports multiple CPUs in one computer
Coordinates workload and memory allocation
Windows NT, 2000, 2003
UNIX, Linux

Cross-platform Operating Systems

Able to run on different types of CPU

Memory resident software

Always present in RAM
May not be swapped

Fault tolerant computers

Contain redundant hardware
Will continue to operate despite some hardware failure
Used in “mission critical” systems such as airline reservations, communication networks, ATMs.

File Manager

Manages file “directories”
Copy and format disks
Displays files on disk
Monitors and displays free and used space on disk
Windows Explorer is a file manager


Windows Explorer 


Useful for viewing and manipulating files


Moving and Copying Files 


Easy to do in a GUI environment Dragging an icon to another folder on same disk moves file Dragging an icon to a folder on different disk copies file Shift and Control keys allow copy and move of file groups


Moving Windows


Drag title bar


Graphical User Interface 


Uses icons and a pointing device


Command-line Interface 


Commands must be typed in

Plug and Play

OS automatically recognizes new hardware, installs and configures driver.




Precise hierarchical description of a storage location within a computer system or network Tells us exactly where in a disk's filing hierarchy a file is located Example: C:\LETTERS\Old\Dave.doc


C Drive


Typically the default "hard drive" or "hard disk" on a Windows computer




A Drive, B Drive


Typically the floppy disk drive(s) on a Windows computer