This section examines the different types of operating system that is available for a PC. The main focus is on Windows environments and the main operating system that will be used in the examples in Windows XP.
The PC was originally developed to be a stand-alone computer, but it has become, using network technology, a computer that can communicate with other computers and share resources like storage space and printers. These computers are usually called workstations and they require a more 'powerful' operating system than a basic PC so that it can control the additional resources (e.g. network programs and security features).
Computer networking was further developed by the introduction of server operating systems which added more security to the network by validating a user's log-in details with a central server (called a domain controller). These operating systems are not covered in this unit but they are worth mentioning as the configuration of the PC's operating system depends on how or if it is being connected to other computers.