Computer Operating Systems

Operating systems manage the tasks and resources on your computer. Learn how they work and about specific OS’s, such as Windows Vista or Linux.

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What operating system are you running these days? Windows 7? Windows 8? Windows 10? We'll show you how to quickly find out.

By Andrew Silver

Is your computer achingly inept these days? Doing a factory reset of Windows 10 might get it humming smoothly again if you can set aside a few hours.

By Andrew Silver

You want to share what's on your screen with someone on email or through social media. But how do you do it? Microsoft Windows has several easy ways.

By Chris Pollette

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Device Manager is a central hub that lets you configure every component of your Windows operating system on your computer. Here's how to use it.

By Nathan Chandler

It has a few other default settings that some users may take issue with, too.

By Jonathan Strickland

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system works on computers and some mobile devices, too. It also brings big changes from earlier versions of Windows. What can you expect if you upgrade your computer?

By Jonathan Strickland

We're happy to help you get the latest, tastiest version of the Android operating system. Here's how.

By Eric Seeger

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When desktop computers crash, they often have a screen with information about the crash and what to do next. But tablets work differently -- is there a crash screen that lets you know that your device needs a reboot?

By Jonathan Strickland

Operating systems help computer hardware and software communicate with each other. Although you're seeing some of what your OS does, it manages many more tasks. What's going on behind the scenes?

By Jonathan Strickland

There used to be a time when touching your computer screen would just lead to some smudgy fingerprints. Now, lots of computer users are carting around tablets that use touch-screen interfaces.

By Jeff Harder

For your average computer user, operating systems like Windows or the Mac OS are par for the course. But what if there wasn't an OS? Would the computer still, well, compute?

By Kate Kershner

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The days of the great divide between Mac and Windows operating systems are over, thanks to Boot Camp. What does it take to install Windows on an Apple computer, and how does Boot Camp help you do it?

By Stephanie Crawford

Linux is a free computer operating system that has been increasing in popularity. The same can be said of Ubuntu. There's a relationship between the two, but what is it?

By Jonathan Strickland

Do you use the Linux operating system and wonder how to print from a Linux? Learn how to print from a Linux in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

You'd like to learn how to make the background image on your computer screen bigger. Read here to learn how to make the background image on your computer bigger.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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You'd like to learn how to reinstall Windows without losing your data. Learn about how to reinstall Windows without losing data in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Google's new operating system is designed to be faster and to require less maintenance than existing OSes. What will you give up in return? Will you be running it on your everyday machine?

By Nathan Chandler

Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has had a successful career – to put it mildly. He’s also had all sorts of adventures along the way, like jamming out with Slash during a session of Guitar Hero. Keep up with the mastermind in this image gallery.

What if you could access all your software and files from any computer? If you use a Web operating system, all you need is a Web browser and the Internet.

By Jonathan Strickland

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After lengthy delays, Microsoft finally released the much-anticipated first version of the graphics-heavy Windows Vista. Check out what's new.

By Tracy V. Wilson

While Windows is a versatile and powerful operating system, there are times that it can be frustrating. Safe Mode is a special way for Windows to load when there is a system-critical problem that interferes with the normal operation of Windows.

The operating system controls every task your computer carries out and manages system resources to optimize performance. Learn how your operating system handles it all so you can multi-task without a crash.

By Curt Franklin & Dave Coustan

What would you do if you could customize the software on your computer? Learn about open source code and how applications might be more useful and error-free in the long term.

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Linux is as much a phenomenon as it is an operating system. To understand why Linux has become so popular, it is helpful to know a little bit about its history.

Even though there is nothing you can do with the cryptic error messages your computer gives you during a problem, it might be nice to at least know what they mean! Find out what the three most common ones error messages mean.