Basic Computer Terms Defined | Computer Accessories - The Basic Necessities | Computer Operating Systems - The Basics| Computers - Build Your Own or Buy?
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Computer Operating Systems - The Basics
An operating system is the basic software element of your computer. Your operating system performs many functions and is what allows your computer to communicate with the world outside. The operating system installed on your computer is what makes your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and many other parts work properly. Operating systems use a driver to communicate with the various components installed on your computer. This is the reason you are often asked to install additional drivers onto your computer when installing a new component, such as a printer.

A driver is a program designed especially to understand the operation of the component it interfaces with, such as a printer, CD-ROM, or sound or video card. The commands from your operating system are translated by the driver, which makes the specific device function properly. Absent the correct driver, your components would not function. Your operating systems also provides for various other functions such as your system tools and your libraries.

Operating systems are notorious for containing bugs and other mistakes that cause them, and your computer, to function improperly or fail to function at all under certain circumstances. Failure of your operating system or one of its components can cause your system to crash, leave you with a security breach that could allow outsiders to access your personal information, or cause your printers and other external devices to fail to perform correctly.

No matter what type of computer or operating system you use, make sure to check frequently for updates and security patches. You will spend far less time downloading these fixes and updates than you will trying to fix problems caused by a flaw in your operating system. There are several operating systems from which to choose, with most computers having the operating system installed before it is purchased. Your operating system is the lifeline of your entire computer. Make sure you check for updates and patches often. Your entire computer could fail due to breaches in the security of your operating system.

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