What Is An Operating System?

Definition of an operating system

An operating system, abbreviated sometimes as SE (or Operating System in English, which one often meets under the abbreviation OS) represents all the programs which pilot the various components (hard disk, screen, processor, memory etc …) of the computer device and allows it to work.

It thus makes it possible to interface between the user and the computer hardware. It is also loaded first when starting the device.

The operating system allows operating the various devices (sound card, graphics card, mouse, keyboard etc …). The use of drivers allows the operating system to communicate and give instructions to devices that could not work without them.

We find a pre-installed operating system on any type of computer device: the personal computer, smartphone, tablet, reading, game console etc …

How to identify my operating system and version?

So, you do not know which operating system you are using?

This question may seem strange to many (well, especially to the geekiest) but, deep down, it may not be so much …

The average user just needs to use his device and is not necessarily interested in the technical aspects. Everyone does not necessarily know the power of the engine of his car and all its technical characteristics, it does not prevent this said to drive his car.

However, you may need to know which operating system you are using. For example to download a software (identify its operating system is then necessary to download the right version of the software that will work on its OS). Or give details to technical support that tries to solve your computer problems (such as an Internet Service Provider or a website on which you have problems).

So, how to identify the version of your OS?

It is normally possible to recognize at startup which operating system is installed on your device. But if you are not sure or if you do not want to complicate your life, you can go to one of these sites below which gives you a lot of information like your operating system, your browser, your IP address, your screen resolution …

The main operating systems

There are dozens of operating systems with their specificities. The goal here is not to list all but rather to talk about the most used!

Computer operating systems


Developed by Microsoft since the mid-80s, Windows is the most used operating system on personal computers (or PC for Personal Computer). It is indeed pre-installed on more than 90% of the personal computers sold in the world. Which is not without raising some questions at the level of competition law …

Many versions of Windows have been developed (including Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10) and have followed one another over the years.

The last OS of Microsoft is Windows 10, launched in July 2015. Very popular but still disparaged (like every OS of Microsoft), the launch of Windows 10 has been surrounded by controversy (on advertising in Windows 10, on the update almost forced to Windows 10 since the old versions of Windows etc …). Many people have been forced to reset Windows 10 after updating.

Are you new to IT? And you do not know what version of Windows are you using? Read our article to discover a simple trick to identify the version of Windows installed on your computer

Mac OS

This is the name of the operating system developed by Apple for its personal computers. Macintosh was one of the first to have a graphical interface (with menus, windows etc …).

The latest version of the OS is Mac OS X.


GNU / Linux is the free operating system based on the Linux kernel created in 1991.

It can be used on a personal computer but requires a minimum of knowledge and experience. Although it has become much easier with the years: it is now possible to install a version of mainstream Linux, turnkey. And without necessarily having to open a console! Linux is also very present and used for servers.

There are many Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, OpenSuse, etc …) that do not have the same GUI, are free or paid, with a commercial purpose or not but which have in common the Linux kernel.

Operating systems for smartphones and tablets


It is the open source operating system based on the Linux kernel and bought by Google which equips in 2015 more than 80% of smartphones.

It is also present on touch tablets, televisions, computers, and connected watches. Every version of Android brings a lot of improvements and fixes. Unfortunately, only the most recent devices can benefit from developments in the OS.


An operating system developed by Apple for its smartphone, the iPhone, and its touchpad, the iPad. Operating system very stable but very close (as usual at Apple).

Windows 10 mobile

The successor to Windows Mobile and Windows Phone, it is the operating system that equips smartphones developed by Microsoft including through its Nokia brand. Quite little used and with far fewer applications than its direct competitors, Android and iOS.

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