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Examples of Operating Systems

There are many different operating systems. Each do the same thing: they control all input, processing and output. Click on the links to see examples of the desktop for the operating systems listed. These examples open in their own window. Click the X in the upper-right corner of the window to return to this page.

  • DOS - Disk Operating System - one of the first operating systems for the personal computer. When you turned the computer on all you saw was the command prompt which looked like c:\ >. You had to type all commands at the command prompt which might look like c:\>wp\wp.exe. This is called a command-line interface.
    It was not very "user friendly"
  • Windows - The Windows operating system, a product of Microsoft, is a GUI (graphical user interface) operating system. This type of "user friendly" operating system is said to have WIMP features:
    • Windows
    • Icons
    • Menus
    • Pointing device (mouse)
  • MacOS - Macintosh, a product of Apple, has its own operating system with a GUI and WIMP features.
  • Unix - Linux (the PC version of Unix) - Unix and Linux were originally created with a command-line interface, but recently have added GUI enhancements.

*user-friendly is a relative term. The current GUI interfaces provided by Windows and Mac operating systems are more friendly than the previous DOS systems, but still require us to conform to their specifications (use of a keyboard or mouse instead of voice and/or hand-writing recognition).

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