The layer between your hardware and software. It manages disk input/output, memory allocation, graphic acceleration, hosting device drivers and various other resources.

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153
votes
19answers
27k views

32-bit vs. 64-bit systems

What are the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit systems? If you have used both of them, what kind of sharp differences have you experienced? Would it be a problem to use 32-bit programs on ...
57
votes
3answers
82k views

How can I reinstall Windows 7 if I lost my installation DVD? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where do I download Windows 7 (legally from Microsoft)? I have lost my Windows 7 installation DVD, but I do have the license key. How can I get a Windows 7 DVD? Can I ...
19
votes
5answers
53k views

What would happen if I take my hard drive out of my current PC and put it in a new PC?

Basically, I want to get a new PC, but I have so many software/games installed on my current hard drive, that I don't want to waste the time to re-install/re-configure. Would it work if I just take ...
8
votes
7answers
10k views

How to install Ubuntu, Windows XP and Windows 7 from scratch as triple-boot system

I'm currently running Windows XP, but have ordered Windows 7. I want to keep Windows XP on a separate partition, and install Ubuntu as well. In which order should I install the OSs, and is there ...
47
votes
6answers
17k views

Using UDF on a USB flash drive

After failing to copy a file bigger than 4G to my 8G USB flash drive, I formatted it as ext3. While this is working fine for me so far, it will cause problems if I want to use it to copy files to ...
28
votes
5answers
25k views

Why can't a 64 bit OS run a 16 bit application?

Why is it that a 32 bit OS which is installed on a 64 bit CPU can run old DOS 16 bit applications, but if you install a 64 bit OS it can't run those applications directly and need some sort of ...
15
votes
3answers
30k views

Can a 32 bit OS run in a 64 bit processor?

What's the difference between 32 bit OS and 64 bit OS? Can a 32 bit OS run in a 64 bit processor?
47
votes
3answers
69k views

How can I upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and keep my files and applications?

I want to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. How can I do this while keeping all of my files in-tact? Is it possible to retain all of my applications and user settings, too?
33
votes
7answers
8k views

Other benefits of 64-bit OS apart from memory expansion?

I'm trying to convince somebody of the benefits of switching to a 64-bit OS but I'm having a hard time finding arguments other than "you can use more than 3GB RAM". Are there any other ...
18
votes
5answers
48k views

What is the maximum number of partitions that can be made on a hard drive?

What is the maximum number of partitions we can make on hard disk in Windows? If it is limited to some particular number, why can we assign all the letters C through Z to drives? If it is a special ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Installing Windows 8 pro on a built PC

I'm planning on building my own PC with the help of a friend, and after reading through this article, it seems that I need to purchase a System Builder licence. Does this mean that I should not buy ...
36
votes
10answers
2k views

Should I install 64-bit versions of operating systems?

With the release of Windows 7 coming up, 64-bit operating systems have caught my attention. What are the main advantages and disadvantages of installing 64-bit Windows 7? What type of compatibility ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the difference between 64-bit and 32-bit Operating systems? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 32-bit vs. 64-bit systems I know that there are 2 types of OSs, 64 bit and 32 bit What is the main differences between them? And if I am buying a new laptop, which one ...
41
votes
19answers
35k views

Is it still necessary to shut down computers?

Nowadays with our modern operating systems, is it necessary to fully shutdown computers instead of choosing to stand-by or hibernate computers (desktops and laptops)? Would there be any side-effects ...
11
votes
5answers
9k views

Does low disk space affect SSD performance?

I was wondering if having less than 5-10GB of free space on an SSD would affect performance. Is it specific to SSD or is it more of an operating system aspect? For example, on an Intel X-25 G2 that ...
8
votes
6answers
8k views

Windows 7: Should I Install 64-bit or 32-bit Version? (x64 vs x86)

Deciding which Windows 7 version to install can be a difficult decision and can really limit what you can do with your system. Do you have any practical hints which could help decide which version to ...
64
votes
11answers
16k views

Does every OS need RAM?

Is there an OS which can be used without RAM, specifically the kind I can create a bootable pendrive from and use it in the computer? This gets awkward, since booting is essentially loading OS in ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

Difference between x86_64 and i386

What is the difference? I have intel core 2 duo 32 bit. Under what category my system fall into? I want to download fedora12. It shows me these options. Which one should I download? I have sony vaio ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the difference between Unix and Linux? [duplicate]

I want to know what the actual difference between Unix and Linux is. Do they share the same kernel? Is Linux built on Unix? Do programs written for Linux work on Unix and vice-versa?
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Theoretically possible to run two operating systems simultaneously?

A friend of mine asked a question that got me thinking. Is it possible (theoretically, I assume it hasn't been done) to run two operating systems simultaneously on the same computer? Not in the sense ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

External hard drive how to format it?

I just bought a hard drive of 500GB that I want to use on Mac OS X and GNU/Linux but be able to use some file on Windows. Basically I have to deal with FAT32 (That doesn't support file over 4GB), ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

Legally downgrade Windows Vista Home OEM license?

Last year I bought a laptop that included Windows Vista Home Premium, OEM version. As I bought it for my linux work and am not fond of Vista, I would like to replace it by Windows XP or make a Virtual ...
52
votes
6answers
22k views

Does Windows still rely on MS-DOS?

I am just about to start an OS course and as an Apple user I am not very familiar with the underlying details of Windows OS. I was wondering, is MS DOS still used with Windows running on top or is ...
41
votes
11answers
7k views

What is the relationship between Unix, Linux, Ubuntu and Debian?

What is the relationship between Unix, Linux, Ubuntu, and Debian? I suspect they are all Operating Systems that are based upon one another - similar to how Windows is based on DOS. Is my suspicion ...
80
votes
3answers
5k views

How does the computer know that the PC was not properly shut down?

Actually, this question struck me because of power cuts in my house. When there is a power cut, there is a sudden loss of power from the computer. How does the computer know that the shutdown was ...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

How computers display raw, low-level text and graphics

My ever-growing interest in computers is making me ask deeper questions, that we don't seem to have to ask anymore. Our computers, at boot, as far as I understand it, are in text mode, in which a ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

What are the technical differences between Windows Vista and Windows 7?

I'm interested in finding an unabridged technical manual documenting all of the differences between the two operating systems. In Tanenbaum's latest edition of Modern Operating Systems (3rd Edition), ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What happens when you install > 4GB of RAM in a computer with a 32-Bit OS?

So I'm a programmer and I'm not a complete idiot so I know exactly why you can't access memory where you can't have pointers. But I've never tried this and I don't think I ever will because it seems ...
3
votes
2answers
919 views

Windows Recovery Console - forgot password

I upgraded to Windows XP SP3, which immediately "broke" the laptop - it never booted with SP3 on it. I put in the Windows XP install disk I had originally used to set up the laptop, and it ran for a ...
56
votes
8answers
15k views

Why is “Everything is a file” unique to the Unix operating systems?

I often hear people say "Unix's unique philosophy is that it treats everything as a file" or "In Unix, everything is a file". But I've never heard anyone explain why it is unique to Unix. So, why is ...
35
votes
2answers
2k views

What is there in an Operating System other than the kernel

As I understand it, the kernel does all the interaction with the hardware, and manages the memory, the I/O devices, etc. So the kernel is doing everything, yet it is just a part of the operating ...
13
votes
3answers
26k views

What's the difference between an Application, Process, and Services?

How are these fundamentally different "things" on Windows? Aren't all running things Processes? It seems that every Application has an associated process that shuts it down if it is shut down. ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

How does an OS communicate with other hardware components?

How can a program running on a CPU (mostly OS) access other PC hardware? Such as Graphic card, HDD and so? From what I read, in DOS, this was done using BIOS calls, specifically the INT instruction. ...
16
votes
2answers
15k views

A Dark Theme for Windows 8

Is there any way for me to use Windows 8 in a dark environment? For a long time I had headaches that I couldn't fid their cause. Now, I'm using a dark visual style for my Windows 7 and since then, I ...
13
votes
4answers
22k views

How do I know my laptop is 64-bit compatible?

I recently plan to buy a new laptop to run a 64-bit OS, but a friend told me that my current laptop is already 64-bit. How can I verify if my laptop is ready to load a 64-bit OS or not? Here is the ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Who loads the BIOS in RAM during computer bootstrap

When the computer starts up, the code in BIOS is executed first. However, how is the code in BIOS loaded into the RAM for execution ? I have referred to this question - Is BIOS read from the BIOS ...
0
votes
1answer
330 views

What GUI systems let you copy text with formatting preserved, via clipboard?

If you select and copy a text from Internet Explorer and paste it in Miscrosoft Word, the formatting is preserved. If you do that in Opera or Firefox in Windows, it's lost, IIRC. I use Gnome desktop ...
9
votes
5answers
9k views

How to safely delete stuff from %SystemDrive%\Windows\Installer? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it safe to delete from C:\Windows\Installer? Not Duplicate: The link mentioned above talks about Windows XP. I am talking about Windows 7. The behavior of the ...
4
votes
1answer
8k views

How to reduce Windows 8 system size?

Windows 8 consumer preview version is released. Anybody try out to reduce Windows 8 size? I have verified the method for Windows 7 is cannot workable on Windows 8.
2
votes
3answers
36k views

What is the exact command to restart a Redhat linux system?

I am new in linux. I want to know the exact command to restart a red hat linux server 6.3. and it has to start network drivers etc. I am using VPN to connect to remote machine using VNC. Can anyone ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does Windows not recognize files inside Linux partitions?

I dual booted my Windows XP, installing Linux Mint. I found out that when using Linux Mint, I could see and open files installed on Windows XP, but when using Windows XP, I can't see and open files ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Running Operating System from memory

Assuming SSD's are extremely prone to faliure how economical would it be to load an OS into main memory and run it from there? I can think I can deal with a few obvious drawbacks (I've survived ...
2
votes
3answers
722 views

How does a computer tell a video card what to display?

How does a computer communicate pixel values to the screen? Is there a certain command in the processor's instruction set architecture, that will make the processor communicate directly to the ...
1
vote
4answers
934 views

How should i setup my PC partition?

I want to clear out my PC and setup the partitions. Right now i have it as XP, Win-7, Vista, XP/Test/Spare I notice my PC is pretty good at virtualization, at least virtualizing linux. I also rarely ...
9
votes
3answers
33k views

Should I install my operating system on my SSD or HDD?

I'm currently deciding whether to install my Operating System on my SSD (solid state drive) or HD (hard drive). Will I be having programs on the HDD and the OS on the SSD or vice verca? Which will ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Install Chromium OS, but not from a USB

How can I install Chromium OS on my PC? I do not mean in a virtual machine, but actually a dual boot. I know you can boot from a USB, but that is not what I'm looking for. I really want to install ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

Problems with uninstallation of windows 8

I installed windows 8's developer preview version dual boot with win 7 ultimate. I put my win 8's partition to 11 GB (almost), but now when I try to uninstall the win 8 it dont allow me to uninstall ...
3
votes
1answer
964 views

How to create bootable USB flash drive with more than one installation O.S.? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to make a multiboot USB key? What I want to do is to get Windows 7 installation (both x64 + x86) XP installation SP3 HBCD All together in 1 USB flash drive. Is ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Do I need more RAM for programming if I switch to a 64 Bit OS?

Given that today (for performance reasons?) variables are usually aligned to the "bit-width" (I wanted to use "word-width" here, but on x86 a "word" is still 16 bits right?) of the processor, would ...
1
vote
1answer
702 views

Operating system not found after downloading skin pack

My brother has downloaded a executable file from Skin Pack — I believe it was the Mountain Lion IO6 skin pack. He's using an Acer Aspire 553G. And now his operating system won't start (Windows 7). ...