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Multitasking Operating System

Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Prepbytes

As we are aware, in the 1960s and 70s, computer systems were created to efficiently solve real-world problems. However, during that time, computer systems were comparatively slow and were capable of executing only one task at a time, resulting in resource wastage. Additionally, the CPU utilization was minimal as it remained idle for most of the time. To solve this problem, Multitasking Operating Systems were introduced. The Multitasking Operating System enables the simultaneous execution of multiple applications or processes, allowing users to work efficiently and productively. Let us study about multitasking operating systems, their types, and their benefits in detail.

What is Multitasking Operating System?

The term "multitasking" is commonly used in modern computer systems. It is an advancement of multiprogramming systems, which enables the execution of several programs concurrently. A multitasking operating system enables a user to perform multiple computer tasks simultaneously. These tasks are referred to as processes, and they share processing resources such as the CPU. The operating system maintains a record of the progress of each process and enables users to switch between them without losing any data.

Why Multitasking Operating System?

Early operating systems were not fully equipped with multitasking capabilities, and they could only run a limited number of programs simultaneously. As a result, a single software program would utilize the entire CPU of the computer to complete its task, and users could not perform other operations such as opening and closing windows because the basic operating system functions like file copying were suspended. However, modern operating systems have multitasking capabilities, allowing several programs to run simultaneously without any hindrance. Additionally, multiple operating system processes can execute concurrently. This is the reason why we need Multitasking Operating Systems.

Types of Multitasking Operating Systems

Multitasking Operating Systems are of the following two types.

  • Preemptive Multitasking Operating System
  • Cooperative Multitasking Operating System

Now let’s delve into the detailed analysis of both types of multitasking operating systems.

  • Preemptive Multitasking Operating System
    In a preemptive multitasking operating system, the operating system has complete control over the execution of tasks or processes. The operating system allocates time slices to each task, and each task runs for a specific amount of time before the operating system switches to another task. The operating system also has the power to interrupt a task in the middle of its execution and allocate the CPU to another task. This ensures that no single task can hog the CPU for an extended period of time, and all tasks get a fair share of the CPU.

  • Cooperative Multitasking Operating System
    In a cooperative multitasking operating system, the tasks or processes themselves are responsible for giving up the CPU to allow other tasks to run. The operating system does not forcibly interrupt a task to allocate the CPU to another task. Instead, it relies on the tasks to cooperate with each other and yield the CPU voluntarily. This approach is less efficient than preemptive multitasking because a single task can hog the CPU for an extended period of time if it refuses to yield the CPU voluntarily.

Advantages of Multitasking Operating System

The Advantages of a Multitasking Operating System are given below.

  • Multitasking operating systems allow multiple applications to run concurrently without affecting CPU performance, making them suitable for multiple users working simultaneously.
  • Multitasking operating systems possess a robust virtual memory system that eliminates long wait times for program execution by shifting applications to virtual memory if necessary.
  • Additionally, to prevent CPU wait times, all jobs in Multitasking Operating System are given a predetermined duration.
  • Multitasking operating systems can efficiently manage computer resources such as I/O devices, RAM, hard disks, and CPUs.
  • Users can concurrently run several programs, such as internet browsers, games, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and other utilities in a Multitasking Operating System.

Disadvantages of Multitasking Operating System

Multitasking Operating Systems suffer from the following disadvantages.

  • Due to the slower pace of the processors in a Multitasking Operating System, the computer system may perform slowly and experience longer response times when running multiple programs. In order to fix this issue, additional processing power may be required.
  • Running numerous programs concurrently in a Multitasking Operating System can overload the main memory, leading to slow system performance and increased reaction times since the CPU cannot allocate sufficient time for each program.
  • In a multitasking operating system, multiple processors work simultaneously to complete tasks, resulting in increased CPU heat generation.

In this article, we learned about Multitasking Operating Systems in detail and why we need them in modern computing. A multitasking operating system is essential for modern computing, as it allows users to perform multiple tasks simultaneously and improves overall system efficiency. A preemptive multitasking Operating System is more efficient than a cooperative multitasking operating System because it ensures that no single task can hog the CPU for an extended period of time, and all tasks get a fair share of the CPU. We have also discussed various advantages and disadvantages of the Multitasking Operating System.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Here are some questions that are frequently asked on the topic of Multitasking Operating Systems.

Ques 1. What is the difference between a multitasking Operating System and a multiprogramming Operating System?
Ans. Multiprogramming operating systems allow multiple programs to run on a single processor. Multitasking Operating System extends this capability to multiple processors, allowing several tasks or processes to run simultaneously.

Ques 2. What are the benefits of multitasking operating systems?
Ans. Multitasking operating systems allow users to run multiple programs at the same time, increasing productivity and efficiency. They also allow for faster response times and better resource utilization.

Ques 3. What are the disadvantages of cooperative multitasking Operating Systems?
Ans. A Cooperative multitasking Operating System can result in resource starvation or system crashes if tasks or processes do not yield control properly.

Ques 4. What do you mean by Context Switch in Multitasking Operating Systems?
Ans. A context switch is a process of saving the current state of a task or process and restoring the state of another task or process in a multitasking operating system.

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