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5 Important Jobs Your Operating System Handles Without You Knowing


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Managing Memory
The operating system has to oversee memory usage to keep things running smoothly.
The operating system has to oversee memory usage to keep things running smoothly.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

How can you make your computer work faster? You might think that a more powerful CPU will get the job done. But sometimes, all you need is a little more memory to get things moving at a quicker pace.

Memory is where your computer stores information that it will need when the processor performs calculations. Think of it as a temporary storage facility. As you execute programs, your computer's operating system allocates a certain amount of memory to each task. Data stored in your computer's memory can transfer to and from the CPU quickly. If the CPU needs data that isn't in your computer's memory, it has to look for the information in other places, such as a hard drive. This takes longer than pulling data from memory and slows everything down.

The operating system manages memory allocation to minimize computer delays. There's only a finite amount of memory available at any given time. Depending upon how many programs you're running simultaneously, this can be a demanding and dynamic job. The operating system has to weigh each process's requirements and make adjustments as they change. Ideally, it all goes so smoothly that everything seems to run without a hitch.