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An operating system is a system software that provides an interface between the user and computer hardware and manages application software and resources.

Every computer system needs an operating system (OS) to run various programs. It comprises system software that manages the hardware units, primary and secondary memory, processor, software resources, and application software. OS acts as a platform or environment to run various application programs such as MS Office, games, and browsers to perform their tasks easily.

The vital functions include the management of memory, processes, peripheral devices, and allocation of resources. Without an operating system, no device can work; every desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and even smart watch needs an operating system to run. An OS is primarily loaded into the computer system by a boot program to control all other programs or services.

An operating system helps the users to communicate with the computer or any other device. Microsoft Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and OS X are desktop computer operating systems that provide advanced GUI to manage files and folders. Various mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets operate on Apple macOS, iOS, and Android operating systems which also provide smart GUI functionality and can run multiple applications.

As an operating system is a virtual user interface, it considerably affects how users can interact with the device. It depends on users' choice whether they prefer Windows-based OS on desktops or OS X; even they have options to choose an OS for mobiles to use Android or iOS. While designing software applications, developers code them for a specific OS because every operating system interacts with hardware differently. Also, specific application program interfaces (API) define how an application interacts with its OS.

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