Types of operating systems (Part 1) compare single-user and multi-user operating systems compare one-task and multitasking operating systems

Types of operating systems 

Multi-user vs. Single user

Single user OS

Single-user operating systems can only be used by one user at a time.

A few example single-user OS: – DOS – Windows – Linux

Don’t be confused with multiple accounts on a computer...for someone else to use their account you have to log off yours first!

These systems are also known are single application OS. As one application is concentrated at a time. These systems require less resources and can do processing in a queue. The recurring tasks are performed well in these systems. For example making payroll or salaries of employees.

Advantages Disadvantages

Supports one user at a time

Easy to maintain

Less chance to damage

Concentrate on one task

Tasks take longer time to complete

Idle time is higher

Multi-user OS

Allow lots of users to share data and resources at (apparently) the same time. This is called a network. 

A server controls how the computers run and communicate.

The server needs a Network Operating System (NOS), for example, Microsoft Windows Server, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X, Novell NetWare, and BSD etc..

  • A multi-user operating system allows multiple users to access a computer system concurrently.
  • Time-sharing system can be classified as multi-user systems as they enable a multiple user access to a computer through the sharing of time.

Advantages Disadvantages

Highly stable centralized servers

Security concerns are handled through servers

Server access are possible remotely from different locations and types of systems

Servers are costly

User has to depend on central location for most operations

Maintenance and updates are required regularly


Multi-tasking vs. Single-tasking


  • When a single program is allowed to run at a time, the system is grouped under a single-tasking system.
  • One of the most popular single-tasking (single-user) operating systems: DOS.

Advantages Disadvantages

This operating system occupies less space in memory

It can perform only a single task at a time

No protection between the OS and user programs

Files have no "ownership"



Multitasking is when multiple jobs are executed by the CPU simultaneously by switching between them.

  • While in case the operating system allows the execution of multiple tasks at one time, it is classified as a multi-tasking operating system. Many single-user operating systems allow users to run multiple applications.
  • For example, you can work with the table, licten to music and check for viruses your computer at the same time. 
  • In multitasking switches occur so frequently that the users may interact with each program while it is running.

Advantages Disadvantages


Handle multiple users

The user can use multiple programs

Efficient virtual memory

CPU idle time can be reduced

Limitation of memory

Limitation of the processor

CPU heat up

Reliability problem




  1. There are common functions of different types of operating systems, such as ...
  2. A PC is a multitasking machine. What does it mean? Is it the same thing as multiprocessing?
  3. What are the advantages of multitasking?
  4. Difference between single-user and multi-user operating systems is ... 
  5. Difference between  one-task and multitasking operating systems is ... 


Ex. 1

Ex. 2

Категория: Operating system | Добавил: bzfar77 (02.09.2020)
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