William Kerbs 10/10/10 Computer Forensics
Application software includes a variety of programs that can be segregated into general purpose and application-specific categories. General-purpose application programs perform common information processing jobs for end users. Examples are word processing, electronic spreadsheet, database management, telecommunications, and presentation graphics programs. Application-specific programs accomplish information processing tasks that support specific business functions or processes, scientific or engineering applications, and other computer applications in society. As others have said, an application is software that serves a specific function. It allows you to communicate, create and modify documents, play games, etc.
An operating system (OS) is software that acts as an interface between you and the hardware. It not only contains drivers used to speak the hardware's language, but also offers you a very specific graphical user interface (GUI) to control the computer. An OS can also act as an interface (from the hardware) to the other software. A complex OS like Windows or Linux or Mac OS offers the services of an OS, but also has applications built in. Solitaire, Paint, Messenger, etc. are all applications. An operating system is an integrated system of programs that supervises the operation of the CPU, controls the input/output storage functions of the computer system, and provides various support services. An operating system performs five basic functions: (1) a user interface for system and network communications with users, (2) resource management for managing the hardware resources of a computer system, (3) file management for managing files of data and programs, (4) task management for managing the tasks a computer must accomplish, and (5) utilities and other functions that provide miscellaneous support...
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