Types of operating systems

Types of operating systems are understood to be the classification of operating systems according to their certain characteristics.


That is, depending on the characteristics of an operating system (hereinafter, OS), it can be grouped into one or more typologies.

Classification of operating systems

This list will show the typologies by which the OS can be defined, either by its functionality, objective or architecture, among other factors. So, let’s see the information in detail:

  • Architecture. This characteristic is given by whether the OS is built with a 32-bit or 64-bit architecture. In this sense, the larger the architecture, the more workload the OS can manage. The natural next step will be to go from 64-bit to 128-bit.
  • Single or multitask. As its name suggests, it is a question of whether the OS performs a single task until its completion, and then starts with a different one, or whether it is possible to entrust the OS with several tasks at the same time, adjusting resources as needed.
  • Single or multi-user. In this case, what is meant is whether the OS should be run by a single user or if, on the other hand, it can be run by several at the same time.
  • Centralized or distributed. It is a question of whether the resources of a single PC can be used or whether resources can be obtained from several PCs simultaneously.
  • Device targeting. It consists of classifying the OS according to where it is hosted. The most popular are PC, tablet, smartphone or consoles, among others.
  • Free or paid. Like a software Anyone, an OS, can be free (for public use, without owning any license) or paid (in exchange for a payment you get a permanent or temporary license of the software)
  • Recessed. These types of SO are typical in large companies, where they are necessary in certain phases of production in factories or in other sectors, such as the service sector or the primary sector. These OSs are in charge of very specific tasks in real time where they normally require little direct human intervention.
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Although practically all the aspects that an OS can show have been covered, it is also true that the technology industry, as it advances in this type of technology, will be able to add functions and, therefore, new ways of filtering and classifying OS.

Operating system example

Based on the types explained, the characteristics of the Microsoft OS for professional PCs, Windows 10 PRO, will be broken down:

  • Architecture: 64 bits.
  • Single task or multitask: Multitask.
  • Single user or multi user: It can be multi user.
  • Centralized or distributed: Depending on the type of license, it can be held in more than one device and its function can be derived from being distributed.
  • Device orientation: PC.
  • Free or paid: Paid.
  • Built-in: Not in standard conditions. It can be derived by specific applications or programs that work in real time.

In short, although an OS can be classified in one way or another, as it is software, it can be manipulated or configured to adapt to the needs of the user, so being in one typology or another can sometimes be relative.

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