Unit 3A Applied Information Technology

Week 2


Hardware and Software - Choosing an operating system.



An operating system or OS is the core of all the software on any computer. Without an OS the computer could not access files, installed programs, the internet and all other important information stored on it. Essentially, the OS is the most important piece of software installed on a computer because it is absolutely necessary to run any of the other programs that are installed on the computer.


Currently, the major operating systems available on the market are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Unix. Considering the importance of the OS, you should take great care in choosing the right one for your computer.
When deciding which OS is the right one for you, there are a few things you should evaluate first:

  1. What Will It Be Used For?
    • First, think about what the OS will be used for. For example, a computer being used for business would require an OS that can handle important business data with ease. If the computer is being used for home and/or school, then an OS designed for gaming with a good word processor would be best. Or if the computer were for a new use, then the best choice would be a simple, user-friendly OS.
    • Typically, most new computers come with an OS pre-installed on them - Apple computers come with Mac OS X whereas most PCs come with Windows 7 or 8. So, it is also important to consider the operating system even when choosing a new computer.

  2. What Level Of Security Do I Need?

      Security, especially these days, is one of the highest priorities whether it's for home or business. Not surprisingly, each OS has a different level of security that it provides. Microsoft Windows and Linux are widely viewed as the easiest operating systems for computer hackers to get into while the Mac OS X and Unix are labeled the most secure operating systems around. Microsoft does try to make their OS safer by consistently providing security updates but hackers still manage to find their way through.


  3. Which OS Is The Best One?

    • A perfect operating system does not exist. Every OS has positive and negative points associated with it. Microsoft Windows is the OS used by the majority of computer users despite its security flaws. The reason behind that is because it is easily the most compatible OS and it also comes with other very useful software like Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer. Mac OS X is probably the top choice for graphic design, but the biggest problem is that it can't run many programs that Microsoft Windows can.
    • Unix has been around for a long time and it's a good choice for networking but it can be very expensive, not to mention that it's complex, which would discourage new computer users. The greatest benefit to Linux is that is free. It is also completely customizable. However, very few software vendors release any products to run on it.  

Regardless of which operating system you choose, you should select the one that suits your needs the most. Before making your final decision, you should always do some research to understand how each operating system works and to know the pros and cons of each. Doing so will provide the greatest satisfaction as the end result.


Read more about Operating Systems in Chapter 8 of Discovering Computers



You will be asked to write an essay in class on the topic of Benchmarking as related to the computer industry.

Your essay should answer the following points;

1. What is benchmarking?
2. What is the purpose of Benchmarking?
3. What are some of the challenges of benchmarking?
4. What are the different types of benchmarking?
5. What are some of the common benchmarks used?

Your homework this week is to research the topic of benchmarking.

You may bring one A4 page of notes with you to assist in writing the essay.


In answering each point include detailed examples to illustrate your understanding of the topic.

As well as covering the points you will also be marked on neatness and legibility of your writing along with spelling and grammar.

If you are quoting from or paraphrasing another document this should be correctly referenced.

You are expected to take the whole of the period to complete the essay.

Link to Benchmarking

Example pic