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Chapter 11. Computer Software > Operating Systems

Operating Systems

An operating system is the underlying software that allows other programs— such as word processors, databases, and spreadsheets—to operate with similar menu choices, processes, and functions. The operating system, sometimes called an OS, is a set of rules that other programs must follow. The operating system serves as an intermediary, handling communications between your software and the computer's hardware.

Microsoft Windows is the most widely used computer operating system. There are several alternative operating systems including:


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