1.1 What is Computer?
A computer is a programmable machine designed to automatically process a sequence of various arithmetic or
logical operations. The interface between the computer and the human operator is known as the user interface.
A computer consists of memory which stores information and data in the form of text, images and graphics, and
audio and video files. CPU or Central Processing Unit performs the arithmetic and logic operations with the help
of a sequencing and control unit that can change the order of operations based on the information that has been
stored in memory. Peripheral devices allow information to be entered from an external source and allow the
results of operations to be sent out. A Central Processing Unit or CPU executes a series of instructions to read,
manipulate and store the data. The control unit, Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU, memory registers and basic Input/
Output or I/O devices are collectively known as a Central Processing Unit or CPU. Devices that provide input or
output to the computer are known as peripherals. On a Personal Computer or PC, peripherals include input
devices, such as the keyboard and mouse, and output devices, such as visual display unit or monitor and printer.
Hard disk drives, floppy disk drives and optical disk drives serve as memory devices. A graphics processing unit
is used to display 3-Dimensional or 3-D graphics. Modern desktop computers contain various smaller computers
that assist the main CPU in performing I/O operations. Memory refers to the physical devices which are used to
store programs, i.e., sequences of instructions or data, in a computer system. Data is stored either in hard disk or
in secondary memory devices, such as tape, magnetic disks, optical disks, Compact Disk Read Only Memory
(CD-ROM) and Digital Versatile/Video Disc (DVD-ROM). Memory is associated with addressable semiconductor
memory, i.e., integrated circuits consisting of silicon based transistors, used for example as primary memory but
also other purposes in computers and other electronics devices.
Basic Functions of a Computer
There are three basic functions of a computer are as follows:
• Data Processing: A computer must be able to process data.
• Data Storage: A computer must be able to store data. Even if data is supplied to a computer on the fly, for
processing and producing the result immediately, the computer must be able to store that data temporarily.
Apart from short term data storage, it is equally important for a computer to perform a long term storage
function to store different files.
• Data Movement: A computer must be able to move data between itself and the outside world. The
computer operating environment consists of devices that serve as data sources or destinations. When data
is received from or delivered to a machine that is directly linked to a computer, the process is known as
input/output and the devices used for this purpose are referred as input/output devices. When data moves
over longer distances, to or from a remote machine, the process is known as data communication.
Functional Units of a Computer
In its simplest form, a computer consists of five functionally independent components, namely, input, output,
memory, arithmetic logic unit and control unit. A computer accepts information in the form of a program and data
2 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
through its input unit, which can be an electromechanical device such as a keyboard or from other computers
over digital communication lines. The information received by the computer is either stored in the memory for
later reference or used immediately by the ALU or Arithmetic Logic Unit for performing the desired operations.
Finally, the processed information in the form of results is displayed through an output unit. The control unit
controls all the activities taking place inside the computer. The ALU along with the control unit are collectively
known as the CPU or processor, and the input and output units are collectively known as the Input/Output (I/O)
• Input Unit: A computer accepts input in coded form through an input unit. The keyboard is an input
device. Whenever a key is pressed, the binary code of the corresponding letter or digit is transferred to
the memory unit or processor. Other types of input devices are mouse, punch card, joysticks, etc.
• Memory Unit: The task of the memory unit is to safely store programs as well as input, output and
intermediate data. The two different classes of memory are primary and secondary storage. The
primary memory or the main memory is part of main computer system. The processor or the CPU
directly stores and retrieves information from it. Primary storage contains a large number of semiconductor
cells capable of storing one bit of information. A group (of fixed size) of these cells is referred as words
and the number of bits in each word is referred as word length which typically ranges from 16 to 64
bits. When the memory is accessed, usually one word of data is read or written. Secondary memory is
not directly accessible by the CPU. Secondary memory devices include magnetic disks like hard drives
and floppy disks; optical disks, such as CD-ROMS and magnetic tapes.
• Processor Unit: The processor unit performs arithmetic and other data processing tasks as specified
by a program.
• Control Unit: It oversees the flow of data among the other units. The control unit retrieves the
instructions from a program (one by one) which are safely kept in the memory. For each instruction,
the control unit tells the processor to execute the operation marked by the instruction. The control unit
supervises the program instructions and the processor manipulates the data specified by the programs.
• Output Unit: The output unit receives the result of the computation which is displayed on the screen
or printed on paper using a printer.
Execution of programs is the main function of the computer. The programs or the set of instructions are
stored in the computer's main memory and are executed by the CPU. The
CPU processes the set of instructions along with any calculations and
comparisons that are required to complete the task. Additionally, the CPU
controls and activates various other functions of the computer system. It
also activates the peripherals to perform input and output functions.
The CPU consists of three major components as shown in Figure.
The register set (associated with the main memory) that stores the
transitional data while processing the programs and commands, ALU which
performs the necessary microoperations for processing the programs and
commands and the control unit that controls the transmitting of information
amongst the registers and directs the ALU on the instructions to follow.
Control Unit
The control unit not only plays a major role in transmitting data from a device to the CPU and vice versa but also
plays a significant role in the functioning of the CPU. It actually does not process the data but manages and
coordinates the entire computer system including the input and the output devices. It retrieves and interprets the
commands of the programs stored in the main memory and sends signals to other units of the system for execution.
It does this through some special purpose registers and a decoder. The special purpose register called the instruction
register holds the current instruction to be executed and the program control register holds the next instruction to
Arithmetic Logic
Unit (ALU)
Memory Unit
Control Unit
Major Components of CPU
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 3
be executed. The decoder interprets the meaning of each instruction supported by the CPU. Each instruction is
also accompanied by a microcode, i.e., the basic directions to tell the CPU how to execute the instruction.
Arithmetic and Logic Unit or ALU
The ALU is responsible for arithmetic and logic operations. This means that when the control unit encounters an
instruction that involves an arithmetic operation (add, subtract, multiply, divide) or a logic operation (equal to, less
than, greater than), it passes control to the ALU which has the necessary circuitry to carry out these arithmetic
and logic operations.
Figure below represents the basic structure of a CPU.
Arithmetic Logic
Unit (ALU)


Register (DR)
Counter (PC)

Register (IR)
Memory Address
Register (MAR)

Control Unit

Control Signals

Program Control Unit
Data Processing Unit
To/ From
Main Memory
or Input/Output
Basic Structure of a CPU
As an example, a comparison of two numbers (a logical operation) may require the control unit to load the
two numbers in the requisite registers and then pass on the execution of the ‘compare’ function to the ALU.
1.2 Evolution and Generation of Computer
The first mechanical adding machine was invented by Blaise Pascal in 1642. Later, in 1671, Baron Gottfried
Wilhelm von Leibniz of Germany invented the first calculator for multiplication. Around this time, Herman Hollerith
came up with the concept of punched cards, which were extensively used as an input medium in mechanical
adding machines.
Charles Babbage, a 19th century professor at Cambridge University, is considered the father of the modern
digital computer. During this period, mathematical and statistical tables were prepared by a group of clerks.
However, utmost care and precautions could not eliminate human errors.
In 1842, Babbage came up with his new idea of the Analytical Engine which was intended to be completely
automatic. This machine was capable of performing basic arithmetic functions. But, these machines were difficult
to manufacture because the precision engineering required to manufacture them was not available at that time.
The following is a brief description of the evolution of computers over the years.
• Mark I Computer (1937-44): This was the first fully automatic calculating machine designed by
Howard A. Aiken and the design of this computer was based on the technique of punching card
machinery. In this technique, both mechanical and electronic components were used.
4 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
• Atanasoff-Berry Computer (1939-42): This computer was developed by Dr. John Atanasoff to
solve certain mathematical equations. It used forty five vacuum tubes for internal logic and capacitors
for storage.
• ENIAC (1943-46): The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was the first
electronic computer developed for military requirements and was used for many years to solve ballistic
• EDVAC (1946-52): One of the drawbacks of ENIAC was that its programs were wired on boards
which made it difficult to change them. To overcome the drawbacks of ENIAC, the Electronic Discrete
Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC) was designed. The basic idea behind this concept was to
store sequences of instructions in the memory of the computer for automatically directing the flow of
• EDSAC (1947-49): Professor Maurice Wilkes developed the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic
Calculator (EDSAC) by which addition and multiplication operations could be accomplished.
• UNIVAC I (1951): The UNIVersal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) was the first digital computer
to be installed in the Census Bureau in 1951 and was used for a decade.
Generation of Computers
Generation Time Hardware Software Features Examples
I 1942-
Vacuum Tubes Machine
High speed electronic switching device;
memory type was electromagnetic;
bulky in size; generated a large amount
of heat; frequent technical faults;
required constant maintenance; used for
scientific purposes; air conditioning
II 1955-
Transistors High level

Better electronic switching devices than
vacuum tubes; made of germanium
semiconductors; memory type was
magnetic cores; powerful and more
reliable; easy to handle; much smaller
than vacuum tubes; generated less heat
as compared to vacuum tubes; used for
business and industries for commercial
data processing; air conditioning
III 1964-
Circuits (ICs)
made up of
transistors, resistors
and capacitors fixed
on single silicon
High level
BASIC, C, C++,
C#, Java
ICs were smaller than transistors;
consumed less power; dissipated less
heat as compared to transistors; more
reliable and faster than earlier
generations; capable of performing
about 1 million instructions per second;
large storage capacity; used for both
scientific and commercial purposes; air
conditioning required
IV 1975-
made up of Large
Scale Integration
(LSI) Circuits and
Very Large Scale
Integration (VLSI)
Advanced Java

Microprocessor had control on logical
instructions and memory; semiconductor
memories; personal computers were
assembled; used in LAN and WAN to
connect multiple computers at a time;
used graphical user interface; smaller,
more reliable and cheaper than third
generation computers; larger primary
and secondary storage memories; had
Computer Supported Cooperative
Working (CSCW); air conditioning not
V 1989-
Ultra Scale Large
Integration (USLI),
Optical Disks
PCs were assembled; portable and non-
portable, powerful desktop PCs and
workstations; less prone to hardware
failure; user-friendly features – Internet,
e-mailing; air conditioning not required
Portable PCs,

Computer Organization and Operating Systems 5
In 1952, International Business Machines (IBM) introduced the 701 commercial computers. These
computers were used for scie ntific and business purposes.
The size, shape, cost and performance of computers have changed over the years, but the basic logical
structure has not. Any computer system essentially consists of three important parts, namely, input device, CPU
and output device. The CPU itself consists of the main memory, the arithmetic logic unit and the control unit.
Table 1.1 will help you understand the generation of computers.
1.3 Types of Computer
A computer is a general purpose device which can be programmed to carry out a finite set of arithmetic and
logical operations. Computers can be classified on the basis of their size, processing speed and cost.
According to data processing capabilities computers are classified as analog, digital and hybrid.
Analog computers are generally used in industrial process controls and to measure physical quantities, such as
pressure, temperature, etc. An analog computer does not operate on binary digits to compute. It works on
continuous electrical signal inputs and the output is displayed continuously. Its memory capacity is less and can
perform only certain type of calculations. However, its operating speed is faster than the digital computer as it
works in a totally different mode.
Analog computers perform computations using electrical resistance, voltage, etc. The use of electrical
properties signifies that the calculations can be performed in real time or even faster at a significant fraction of
the speed of light. Typically, an analog computer can integrate a voltage waveform using a capacitor which
ultimately accumulates the charge. The basic mathematical operations performed in an electric analog computer
are summation, inversion, exponentiation, logarithm, integration with respect to time, differentiation with respect
to time, multiplication and division. Hence in the analog computers, an analog signal is produced which is composed
of Direct Current or DC and Alternating Current or AC magnitudes, frequencies and phases. The starting operations
in an analog computer are done in parallel. Data is represented as a voltage that is a compact form of storage.
Digital computers are commonly used for data processing and problem solving using specific programs. A digital
computer is designed to proces data in numerical form. It is in the discrete form from one state to the next. These
processing states involve binary digits which acquire the form of the existence or nonexistence of magnetic
markers in a standard storage devices, ON/OFF switches or relays. In a digital computer, letters, words, symbols
and complete texts are digitally represented, i.e., using only two digits 0 and 1. It processes data in discrete form
and has a large memory to store huge quantity of data.
The functional components of a typical digital computer system are input/output devices, main memory,
control unit and arithmetic logic unit. The processing of data in a digital computer is done with the help of logical
circuits which are also termed as digital circuits. All the circuits processing data inside a computer function in an
extremely synchronized mode which is further controlled using a steady oscillator acting as the computer’s
‘clock’. The clock rate of a typical digital computer ranges from several million cycles per second to several
hundred million cycles, whereas the clock rate of fastest digital computers are about a billion cycles per second.
Hence, the digital computers operate on very high speed and are able to perform trillions of logical or arithmetic
operations per second to provide quick solution to problems which is not possible for a human being to do
Hybrid computers are the combination of digital and analog computers. A hybrid computer uses the best features
of digital and analog computers. It helps the user to process both continuous and discrete data. Hybrid computers
are generally used for weather forecasting and industrial process control.
6 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
The digital component basically functions as a controller to provide logical operations whereas the analog
component functions as a solver to provide solutions of differential equations. Remember that the hybrid computers
are different from hybrid systems. The hybrid system is a digital computer equipped with an analog-to-digital
converter for input and a digital-to-analog converter for output. The term ‘hybrid computer’ signifies a mixture of
different digital technologies to process specific applications with the help of various specific processor technologies.
According to purpose, computers are either general purpose or specific purpose.
Micro, Mini, Mainframe and Supercomputers
On the basis of the size, computers are classified as micro, mini, mainframe and supercomputers.
Microcomputers are developed from advanced computer technology. They are commonly used at home, classroom
and in the workplace. Microcomputers are called home computers, personal computers, laptops, personal digital
assistants, etc. They are powerful and easy to operate. In recent years, computers were made portable and
affordable. The major characteristics of a microcomputer are as follows:
• Microcomputers are capable of performing data processing jobs and solving numerical programs.
Microcomputers work rapidly like minicomputers.
• Microcomputers have reasonable memory capacity which can be measured in megabytes.
• Microcomputers are reasonably priced. Varieties of microcomputers are available in the market as per the
requirement of smaller business companies and educational institutions.
• Processing speed of microcomputers is measured in MHz. A microcomputer running at 90MHz works
approximately at 90 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second).
• Microcomputers have drives for floppy disk, compact disk and hard disks.
• Only one user can operate a microcomputer at a time.
• Microcomputers are usually dedicated to one job. Millions of people use microcomputers to increase their
personal productivity.
• Useful accessory tools, such as clock, calendar, calculator, daily schedule reminders, scratch pads, etc.,
are available in a microcomputer.
• Laptop computers, also called notebook computers, are microcomputers. They use the battery power
source. Laptop computers have a keyboard, mouse, floppy disc drive, CD drive, hard disk drive and
monitor. Laptop computers are expensive in comparison to personal computers.
Personal Computers
A PC is a small single user microprocessor based computer that sits on your desktop and is generally used at
homes, offices and schools. As the name implies, PCs were mainly designed to meet the personal computing
needs of individuals. Personal computers are used for preparing normal text documents, spreadsheets with predefined
calculations and business analysis charts, database management systems, accounting systems and also for designing
office stationary, banners, bills and handouts. Children and youth love to play games and surf the Internet,
communicate with friends via e-mail and the Internet telephony, and do many other entertaining and useful tasks.
The configuration varies from one PC to another depending on its usage. However, it consists of a CPU or
system unit, a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. It has a main circuit board or motherboard (consisting of the
CPU and the memory), hard disk storage, floppy disk drive, CD-ROM drive and some special add-on cards like
Network Interface Card or NIC and ports for connecting peripheral devices like printers.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 7
PCs are available in two models—desktop and tower. In the desktop model, the monitor is positioned on
top of the system unit whereas in the tower model the system unit is designed to stand by the side of the monitor
or even on the floor to save desktop space. Due to this feature, the tower model is very popular.
Some popular operating systems for PCs are MS DOS, Microsoft Windows, Windows NT, Linux and
UNIX. Most of these operating systems have the capability of multitasking which eases operation and saves time
when a user has to switch between two or more applications while performing a job. Some leading PC manufacturers
are IBM, Apple, Compaq, Dell, Toshiba and Siemens.
Types of Personal Computers
Notebook/Laptop Computers
Notebook computers are battery operated personal computers. Smaller
than the size of a briefcase, these are portable computers and can be
used in places like libraries, in meetings or even while travelling. Popularly
known as laptop computers, or simply laptops, they weigh less than 2.5 kg
and can be only 3 inches thick (refer Figure). Notebook computers are
usually more expensive as compared to desktop computers though they
have almost the same functions, but since they are sleeker and portable,
they have a complex design and are more difficult to manufacture. These
computers have large storage space and other peripherals, such as serial
port, PC card, modem or network interface card, CD-ROM drive and
printer. They can also be connected to a network to download data from
other computers or to the Internet. A notebook computer has a keyboard, a flat screen with Liquid Crystal
Display (LCD) display and can also have a trackball and a pointing stick.
A notebook computer uses the MS DOS or Windows operating system. It is used for making presentations
as it can be plugged into an LCD projection system. The data processing capability of a notebook computer is as
good as an ordinary PC because both use the same type of processor, such as an Intel Pentium processor.
However, a notebook computer generally has lesser hard disk storage than a PC.
Tablet PC
Tablet PC is a mobile computer that looks like a notebook or a small writing slate but uses a stylus pen or your
finger tip to write on the touch screen. It saves whatever you scribble on the screen with the pen in the same way
as you have written it. The same picture can than be converted to text with the help of a HR (Hand Recognition)
A Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) is a small palm sized hand-held computer which has a small color touch
screen with audio and video features. They are nowadays used as smart phones, Web enabled palmtop computers,
portable media players or gaming devices.
Most PDAs today typically have a touch screen for data entry, a data storage/memory card, Bluetooth,
Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) or an infrared connectivity and can be used to access the Internet and other networks.
1.4 Computer Hardware
The physical components which you can see, touch and feel in computer system are called hardware.
Motherboard: A motherboard is the main PCB (Printed Circuit Board), sometimes alternatively known as a
logical board or a main board of a Personal Computer or in fact any complex electronic system. It is basically a
Foldable flat screen
Fig. 1.3 Laptop Computer
8 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
flat fibreglass platform which hosts the CPU (Central
Processing Unit), the main electronic components, device
controller chips, main memory slots, slots for attaching the
storage devices and other subsystems.
Sockets and Ports
Main Power Socket: On the top part of the rear of your
computer system, you will find the main power cable socket
which supplies power from the electric mains to the computer
system. This socket is the part of the main power supply unit
of your computer (refer Figure).
Monitor Power Socket: Right below the main power
cable socket is the socket that supplies the power from the
computer system to the computer monitor. In some computers
where you might not find this socket, you can plug in the
monitor directly in main power supply.
PS/2 Mouse Port: Next you will find a small round
green colored port with six pin connector and a small logo of
the mouse printed next to it. This is where your PS/2 Mouse
will be plugged in.
PS/2 Keyboard Port: Right next to it you will find another similar purple colored port with the keyboard
logo printed next to it. This is where your PS/2 keyboard will be plugged in.
Fan Housings: You will notice two fan housings at the back of your computer. One fan housing is a part
of the power supply unit and the other will be somewhere below it to cool off the heat generated by the CPU.
Serial Ports: It is a 9-pin connector normally used to attach the old serial port mouse, hand-held scanners,
modems, joysticks, game pads and other such devices.
Parallel Port: It is a 25-pin connector used to attach parallel port printers, modems, external hard disk
drives, etc.
Audio Jacks: There are three audio jacks in your computer system. One jack is used for connecting your
speakers or headphones, the second is used to connect the microphone and the third to connect to another audio
device, such as a music system.
Local Area Network or LAN Port: The LAN port is where the Registered Jack or RJ-45 connector of
your LAN cable is plugged in to connect your computer to other computers or the Internet.
Universal Serial Bus or USB Ports: The USB port is designed to connect multiple peripheral devices in
a single standardized interface and has a plug and play option that allows devices to be connected or disconnected
without restarting or turning off the computer. It can be used for many serial and parallel port devices, such as
mouse, printers, modems, joysticks, game pads, scanners, digital cameras and other such devices.
VGA Port: It is a 15-pin connector that connects the signal cable of the monitor to the computer.
Memory is used for storage and retrieval of instructions and data in a computer system. The CPU contains
several registers for storing data and instructions. But these can store only a few bytes. If all the instructions and
data being executed by the CPU were to reside in secondary storage, such as magnetic tapes and disks, and
loaded into the registers of the CPU as the program execution proceeded, it would lead to the CPU being idle for
most of the time, since the speed at which the CPU processes data is much higher than the speed at which data
can be transferred from disks to registers. Every computer thus requires storage space where instructions and
Fan Housing
Parallel Port
Audio Jacks
USB Ports
VGA Port
PS/2 Keyboard
A/C Power Input
Serial Port
LAN Port
PS/2 Mouse
Main Power Socket
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 9
data of a program can reside temporarily when the program is being executed. This temporary storage area is
built into the computer hardware and is known as the primary storage or main memory. Devices that provide
backup storage, such as magnetic tapes and disks are called secondary storage or auxiliary memory. A memory
system is mainly classified into the following categories.
Internal Processor Memory: This is a small set of high speed registers placed inside a processor and
used for storing temporary data while processing.
Primary Storage Memory: This is the main memory of the computer which communicates directly with the
processor. This memory is large in size and fast, but not as fast as the internal memory of the processor. It
comprises a couple of integrated chips mounted on a printed circuit board plugged directly on the motherboard.
RAM is an example of primary storage memory.
Secondary Storage Memory: This stores all the system software and application programs and is basically
used for data backups. It is much larger in size and slower than primary storage memory. Hard disk drives, floppy
disk drives and flash drives are few examples of secondary storage memory.
Memory Capacity: Capacity, in a computer system, is defined in terms of the number of bytes that it can store
in its main memory. This is usually stated in terms of KiloBytes (KB) which is 1024 bytes or MegaBytes (MB)
which is equal to 1024 KB (10,48,576 bytes). The rapidly increasing memory capacity of computer systems has
resulted in defining the capacity in terms of GigaBytes (GB) which is 1024 MB (1,07,37,41,824 bytes). Thus a
computer system having a memory of 256 MB is capable of storing (256 × 1024 × 1024) 26,84,35,456 bytes or
The primary task that the CPU performs is the execution of instructions. It executes every instruction by means
of a number of small operations known as microoperations. Thus, it can be seen that:
• The CPU needs an extremely large main memory.
• The speed of the CPU must be as fast as possible.
To understand further, let us define two relevant terms:
• Memory Cycle Time: Time taken by the CPU to access the memory
• Cycle Time of the CPU: The time that the CPU takes for executing the shortest well defined
It has been observed that the time taken by the CPU to access the memory is about 1-10 times higher
than the time that the CPU takes for executing the shortest well-defined microoperation. Therefore,
CPU registers serve as temporary storage areas within the CPU. CPU registers are termed as fast
memory and can be accessed almost instantaneously.
Further, the number of bits a register can store at a time is called the length of the register. Most CPUs
sold today have 32-bit or 64-bit registers. The size of the register is also called the word size and it
indicates the amount of data that a CPU can process at a time. Thus, the bigger the word size, the
faster the computer can process data.
The number of registers varies among computers but typical registers found in most computers include:
• Memory Buffer Register: When data is received from the memory it is temporary held in the
Memory Buffer Register or MBR.
• Memory Address Register: The memory location’s address where data is to be stored (in case of
write operations) and the location from where data is to be accessed (in case of read operations) is
specified by Memory Address Register or MAR.
10 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
• Accumulator: Interactions with the ALU are carried out by the Accumulator or AC, in which the
output and input operands are stored. This register, therefore, holds the initial data to be operated upon,
the intermediate results and the final results of processing operations.
• Program Counter: The next instruction to be executed subsequent to the execution of current instruction
is tracked by the Program Counter or PC.
• Instruction Register: Instructions are loaded in the instruction register prior to being executed, i.e.,
the instruction register holds the current instruction that is being executed.
Processors used in PCs
The Central Processing Unit or the CPU is the most important component of the computer. The CPU itself is an
internal part of the computer system and is usually a microprocessor based chip housed on single or at times
multiple printed circuit boards. The CPU is directly inserted on the motherboard and each motherboard is compatible
with a specific series of CPUs only. The CPU generates a lot of heat and has a heat sink, and a cooling fan
attached on the top which helps it to disperse heat.
The market of microprocessors is dominated primarily by Intel and AMD, both of which manufacture
International Business Machines or IBM compatible CPUs. Motorola also manufactures CPUs for Macintosh
based PCs. Cyrix, another IBM compatible CPU manufacturer is next in line after Motorola in the market, in
terms of global sales.
Types of Processors
The brands of CPUs listed are not the only differentiating factors between different processors. There are
various technical aspects to these processors which allow us to differentiate between CPUs of different power,
speed and processing capability. Accordingly, each of these manufacturers sells numerous product lines offering
CPUs of different architecture, speed, price range, etc. The following are the most common aspects of modern
CPUs that enable us to judge their quality or performance:
• 32 or 64-bit Architecture: A bit is the smallest unit of data that a computer processes. 32 or 64-bit
architecture refers to the number of bits that the CPU can process at a time.
• Clock Rate: The speed at which the CPU performs basic operations, measured in Hertz (Hz) or in
modern computers MHz or GHz.
• Number of Cores: CPUs with more than one core are essentially multiple CPUs running in parallel to
enable more than one operation to be performed simultaneously. Current ranges of CPUs offer up to eight
cores. Currently, the Dual core (i.e., two cores) CPU is most commonly used for standard desktops and
laptops, and Quad core (i.e., four cores) is popular for entry level servers.
• Additional Technology or Instruction Sets: These refer to unique features that a particular CPU or
range of CPUs offer to provide additional processing power or reduced running temperature. These range
from Intel’s MMX, Streaming Single Instruction Multiple Data Extension or SSE3, and HT to AMD’s
3DNOW and Cool n Quiet.
The various types of popular, high performing and cost efficient CPUs ranging from the last decade to the
present are given below:
Intel Processors
• Intel 8086, 80286, 80386 & 80486 ( Discontinued line ).
• Intel Pentium 1, 2, 3 & 4 ( Single Core, 32-bit ).
• Intel Celeron and Celeron D (Single Core).
• Intel Celeron D and Pentium 4 ( Pentium D – Dual Core, 2 sets of L1 and L2 caches).
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 11
• Intel Xeon, Xeon MP and Itanium (Dual / Quad-Core, 64-Bit & L1, L2, L3 Cache. Xeons currently come
in two flavours: DP and MP. DP means ‘Dual Processing’, up to 2 processors in symmetric multiprocessing.
MP means ‘MultiProcessor’, as in more than 2, up to 8.
Advanced Micro Devices or AMD Processors
• AMD Socket-7 & K6 (Single Core, 32-bit).
• Duron and Sempron (462/754 Socket, up to 1.8 GHz, Single Core, 32-Bit, L2 Cache).
• Athlon XP/XP-M Processors.
• Athlon MP Processors.
• Athlon64 ( Single/ Dual-Core, 64-Bit, Socket 754, L2 Cache).
• Athlon64 & AthlonFX (Speeds up to 4 GHz, Socket 939, Dual Channel Memory controller).
• Opteron, OpteronMP, early AthlonFX (Socket 940).
• Phenom ( AMD Socket AM2+ quad-core processor, 64-Bit, L1, L2 & L3 Cache).
• Phenom ( Socket AM3 to be released in 2009).
The eight-core, 64-bit processor that can run as fast as 3-4GHz is the most advanced processor available
today. Quad-core 64-bit chips have been released by AMD and Intel.
1.5 Computer Software
A computer cannot do any work on its own. It depends on the logical sequence of instructions to perform any
function. This logical sequence of instructions is termed as a ‘computer program’ and it is a part of the computer
software. Basically, the sequences of instructions are the algorithms that step wise instruct the computer what to
do. Hence, a computer cannot work without software. The term ‘software’ was first used in print by John W.
Tukey in 1958.
There are various types of software designed to perform specific tasks. The different types of computer
software are interpreter, assembler, compiler, operating systems, networking, word processing, accounting,
presentation, graphics, computer games and so on. The computer software converts the instructions in a program
into a machine language so that the computer can execute it.
Computer software is developed and designed by computer software engineers on the principles of basic
mathematical analysis and logical reasoning. The software once developed is evaluated and tested before it is
implemented. Thus, the programming software allows you to develop the
desired instruction sequences, whereas in the application software the
instruction sequences are predefined. Computer software can function
from only a few instructions to millions of instructions, for example, a
word processor or a Web browser. Figure shows how software interacts
between user and computer system.
On the functional basis, software is categorized as follows:
• System Software: It helps in the proper functioning of computer
hardware. It includes device drivers, operating systems, servers
and utilities.
• Programming Software: It provides tools to help a programmer
in writing computer programs and software using various
programming languages. It includes compilers, debuggers,
interpreters, linkers, text editors and an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
Fig. 1.6 Interaction of Software
between User and a Computer System
12 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
• Application Software: It helps the end users to complete one or more specific tasks. The specific
applications include industrial automation, business software, computer games, telecommunications,
databases, educational software, medical software and military software.
Types of Software
Software can be applied in countless situations, such as in business, education, social sector and in other fields.
The only thing that is required is a defined set of procedural steps. In other words, software can be engaged in
any field which can be described in logical and related steps. Each software is designed to suit some specific
goals. These goals are data processing, information sharing, promoting communication, and so on. Software is
classified according to the range of potential applications. These classifications are listed below:
• System Software: This class of software is responsible for managing and controlling operations of a
computer system. System software is a group of programs rather than one program and is responsible for
using computer resources efficiently and effectively. Operating system, for example, is system software
which controls the hardware, manages memory and multitasking functions, and acts as an interface between
applications programs and the computer.
• Real Time Software: This class of software observes, analyzes and controls real world events as they
occur. Generally, a real time system guarantees a response to an external event within a specified period
of time. The real time software, for example, is used for navigation in which the computer must react to a
steady flow of new information without interruption. Most defence organizations all over the world use
real time software to control their military hardware.
• Business Software: This class of software is widely used in areas where the management and control of
financial activities is of utmost importance. The fundamental component of a business system comprises
payroll, inventory, accounting and software that permits user to access relevant data from the database.
These activities are usually performed with the help of specialized business software that facilitates efficient
framework in the business operation and in management decisions.
• Engineering and Scientific Software: This class of software has emerged as a powerful tool to provide
help in the research and development of next generation technology. Applications, such as study of celestial
bodies, study of undersurface activities and programming of orbital path for space shuttle, are heavily
dependent on engineering and scientific software. This software is designed to perform precise calculations
on complex numerical data that are obtained during real time environment.
• Artificial Intelligence Software: This class of software is used where the problem solving technique is
non-algorithmic in nature. The solutions of such problems are generally non-agreeable to computation or
straightforward analysis. Instead, these problems require specific problem solving strategies that include
expert system, pattern recognition and game playing techniques. In addition, it involves the various types of
searching techniques including the use of heuristics. The role of artificial intelligence software is to add
certain degree of intelligence into the mechanical hardware to do the desired work in an agile manner.
• Web Based Software: This class of software acts as an interface between the user and the Internet.
Data on the Internet can be in the form of text, audio or video format linked with hyperlinks. Web browser
is Web Based software that retrieves Web pages from the Internet. The software incorporates executable
instructions written in special scripting languages, such as Common Gateway Interface (CGI) or Active
Server Page (ASP). Apart from providing navigation on the Web, this software also supports additional
features that are useful while surfing the Internet.
• Personal Computer Software: This class of software is used for official and personal use on daily basis.
The personal computer software market has grown over the last two decades from normal text editor to
word processor and from simple paint brush to advance image editing software. This software is used
predominantly in almost every field, whether it is database management system, financial accounting
package or a multimedia based software. It has emerged as a versatile tool for daily life applications.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 13
Software can be also classified in terms of how closely software users or software purchasers are associated
with the software development.
• Commercial Off-The-Shelf or COTS: In this category comes the software for which there is no
committed user before it is put up for sale. The software users have less or no contact with the vendor
during development. It is sold through retail stores or distributed electronically. This software includes
commonly used programs, such as word processors, spreadsheets, games, income tax programs, as
well as software development tools, such as software testing tools and object modelling tools.
• Customized or Bespoke: In this classification, software is developed for a specific user who is
bound by some kind of formal contract. Software developed for an aircraft, for example, is usually
done for a particular aircraft making company. They are not purchased ‘off-the-shelf’ like any word
processing software.
• Customized COTS: In this classification, a user can enter into a contract with the software vendor to
develop a COTS product for a special purpose, that is, software can be customized according to the
needs of the user. Another growing trend is the development of COTS software components—the
components that are purchased and used to develop new applications. The COTS software component
vendors are essentially parts stores. These are classified according to their application types. These
types are listed as follows:
o Standalone Software: This class of software resides on a single computer and does not
interact with any other software installed in a different computer.
o Embedded Software: This class of software refers to the part of unique application involving
hardware like automobile controller.
o Real Time Software: Operations in this class of software are executed within very short time
limits, often microseconds e.g., radar software in air traffic control system.
o Network Software: In this class of software, software and its components interact across a
System Software
They consists of all the programs, languages and documentation supplied by the manufacturer with the computer.
These programs allow the user to communicate with the computer and write or develop his own programs. This
software makes the machine easier to use and makes an efficient use of the resources of the hardware. Systems
software are programs held permanently on a machine which relieve the programmer from mundane tasks and
improve resource utilization. MS DOS or Microsoft Disk Operating System was one of the most widely used
systems software for IBM compatible microcomputers. Windows and its various versions are popular examples
of systems software today. System software are installed permanently on a computer system used for daily
routine work.
Application Software
These are software programs installed by users to perform tasks according to their specific requirements, such as
an accounting system used in a business organization or a designing program used by engineers. They also
include all the programs, languages and other utility programs. These programs enable the user to communicate
with the computer and develop other customized packages. They also enable maximum and efficient usage of the
computer hardware and other available resources.
Licensed Software
While there is a large availability of open source or free software online, not all software available in the market
is free for use. Some software falls under the category of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS). COTS is a
14 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
term used for software and hardware technology which is available to the general public for sale, license or lease.
In other words, to use COTS software, you must pay its developer in one way or another.
Most of the application software available in the market need a software license for use.
‘A software license is a legal instrument governing the usage or redistribution of copyright protected
software. A typical software license grants a permission to end user to use one or more copies of software in
ways where such a use would otherwise constitute infringement of the software publisher’s exclusive rights
under copyright law. In effect, the software license acts as a promise from the software publisher to not sue the
end user for engaging in activities that would normally be considered exclusive.’
Software is licensed in different categories. Some of these licenses are based on the number of unique
users of the software while other licenses are based on the number of computers on which the software can be
installed. A specific distinction between licenses would be an Organizational Software License which grants an
organization the right to distribute the software or application to a certain number of users or computers within the
organization and a Personal Software License which allows the purchaser of the application to use the software
on his or her computer only.
Free Domain Software
To understand this let us distinguish between the commonly used terms Freeware and Free Domain software.
The term ‘freeware’ has no clear accepted definition, but is commonly used for packages that permit redistribution
but not modification. This means that their source code is not available. Free Domain software is a software that
comes with permission for anyone to use, copy and distribute, either verbatim or with modifications, either free or
for a fee. In particular, this means that the source code must be available. Free Domain software can be freely
used, modified and redistributed but with one restriction: the redistributed software must be distributed with the
original terms of free use, modification and distribution. This is known as ‘copyleft’. Free software is a matter of
freedom, not price. Free software may be packaged and distributed for a fee. The ‘Free’ here refers to the ability
of reusing it – modified or unmodified, as a part of another software package. The concept of free software is the
brainchild of Richard Stallman, head of the GNU project. The best known example of free software is Linux, an
operating system that is proposed as an alternative to Windows or other proprietary operating systems. Debian is
an example of a distributor of a Linux package.
Free software should therefore not be confused with freeware which is a term used for describing software
that can be freely downloaded and used but which may contain restrictions for modification and reuse.
A number is an idea that is used to refer amount of things. People use number words, number gestures and
number symbols. Number words are said out loud. Number gestures are made with some part of the body, usually
the hands. Number symbols are marked or written down. A number symbol is called a numeral. The number is
the idea we think of when we see the numeral, or when we see or hear the word.
On hearing the word number, we immediately think of the familiar decimal number system with its 10
digits, i.e., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. These numerals are called Arabic numerals. Our present number system
provides modern mathematicians and scientists with great advantages over those of previous civilizations and is
an important factor in our advancement. Since fingers are the most convenient tools nature has provided, human
beings use them in counting. So, the decimal number system followed naturally from this usage.
A number of base, or radix r, is a system that uses distinct symbols of r digits. Numbers are represented by
a string of digit symbols. To determine the quantity that the number represents, it is necessary to multiply each
digit by an integer power of r and then form the sum of all the weighted digits. It is possible to use any whole
number greater than one as a base in building a numeration system. The number of digits used is always equal to
the base.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 15
There are four systems of arithmetic which are often used in digital systems. These systems are as
1. Decimal 2. Binary
3. Octal 4. Hexadecimal
In any number system, there is an ordered set of symbols known as digits. Collection of these digits makes
a number which in general has two parts, integer and fractional, set apart by a radix point (.). Hence, a number
system can be represented as,
N =
1 2 3 1 0 1 2 3 –
Integer portion Fractional portion
... ...
n n n m
a a a a a a a a a
− − − − − −

where, N = A number
b = Radix or base of the number system
n = Number of digits in integer portion
m = Number of digits in fractional portion
n – 1
= Most Significant Digit (MSD)
– m
= Least Significant Digit (LSD)
and 0 ≤ (a
or a
) ≤ ⋅ b
Base or Radix: The base or radix of a number is defined as the number of different digits which can
occur in each position in the number system.
2.1 Decimal Number System
The number system which utilizes ten distinct digits, i.e., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 is known as decimal number
system. It represents numbers in terms of groups of ten, as shown in Figure.
We would be forced to stop at 9 or to invent more symbols if it were not for the use of positional notation.
It is necessary to learn only 10 basic numbers and positional notational system in order to count any desired
Decimal Position Values as Powers of 10
The decimal number system has a base or radix of 10. Each of the ten decimal digits 0 through 9, has a
place value or weight depending on its position. The weights are units, tens, hundreds, and so on. The same can
be written as the power of its base as 10
, 10
, 10
, 10
... etc. Thus, the number 1993 represents quantity equal
to 1000 + 900 + 90 + 3. Actually, this should be written as {1 × 10
+ 9 × 10
+ 9 × 10
+ 3 × 10
}. Hence, 1993
is the sum of all digits multiplied by their weights. Each position has a value 10 times greater than the position to
its right.
For example, the number 379 actually stands for the following representation.
100 10 1
16 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
3 7 9
3 × 100 + 7 × 10 + 9 × 1
∴ 379
= 3 × 100 + 7 × 10 + 9 × 1
= 3 × 10
+ 7 × 10
+ 9 × 10
In this example, 9 is the Least Significant Digit (LSD) and 3 is the Most Significant Digit (MSD).
Example: Write the number 1936.469 using decimal representation.
Solution: 1936.469
= 1 × 10
+ 9 × 10
+ 3 × 10
+ 6 × 10
+ 4 × 10
+ 6 × 10
+ 9 × 10
= 1000 + 900 + 30 + 6 + 0.4 + 0.06 + 0.009 = 1936.469
It is seen that powers are numbered to the left of the decimal point starting with 0 and to the right of the
decimal point starting with –1.
The general rule for representing numbers in the decimal system by using positional notation is as follows:
n – 1
... a
= a
+ a
n – 1
+ ... a
+ a
+ a
Where n is the number of digits to the left of the decimal point.
2.2 Binary Number System
A number system that uses only two digits, 0 and 1 is called the binary number system. The binary number
system is also called a base two system. The two symbols 0 and 1 are known as bits (binary digits).
The binary system groups numbers by two’s and by powers of two as shown in Figure. The word binary
comes from a Latin word meaning two at a time.
Binary Position Values as a Power of 2
The weight or place value of each position can be expressed in terms of 2 and is represented as 2
, 2
, etc. The least significant digit has a weight of 2
(= 1). The second position to the left of the least significant
digit is multiplied by 2
(= 2). The third position has a weight equal to 2
(= 4). Thus, the weights are in the
ascending powers of 2 or 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc.
The numeral 10
(one, zero, base two) stands for two, the base of the system.
In binary counting, single digits are used for none and one. Two-digit numbers are used for 10
and 11
[2 and 3 in decimal numerals]. For the next counting number, 100
(4 in decimal numerals) three digits are
necessary. After 111
(7 in decimal numerals) four-digit numerals are used until 1111
(15 in decimal numerals)
is reached, and so on. In a binary numeral, every position has a value 2 times the value of the position to its
A binary number with 4 bits, is called a nibble and a binary number with 8 bits is known as a byte.
For example, the number 1011
actually stands for the following representation:
= 1 × 2
+ 0 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 1 × 2
= 1 × 8 + 0 × 4 + 1 × 2 + 1 × 1
∴ 1011
= 8 + 0 + 2 + 1 = 11
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 17
In general,
n – 1
... b
, b
, b
= b
+ b
n – 1
+ ... + b
+ b
+ b
Similarly, the binary number 10101.011 can be written as follows:
1 0 1 0 1 . 0 1 1
. 2
– 1
– 2
– 3
∴ 10101.011
= 1 × 2
+ 0 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 0 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 0 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 1 × 2
= 16 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 0.25 + 0.125 = 21.375
In each binary digit, the value increases in powers of two starting with 0 to the left of the binary point and
decreases to the right of the binary point starting with power –1.
Why Binary Number System is used in Digital Computers?
Binary number system is used in digital computers because all electrical and electronic circuits can be made
to respond to the two states concept. A switch, for instance, can be either opened or closed, only two possible
states exist. A transistor can be made to operate either in cutoff or saturation, a magnetic tape can be either
magnetized or non magnetized, a signal can be either HIGH or LOW, a punched tape can have a hole or no
hole. In all of the above illustrations, each device is operated in any one of the two possible states and the
intermediate condition does not exist. Thus, 0 can represent one of the states and 1 can represent the other.
Hence, binary numbers are convenient to use in analysing or designing digital circuits.
2.3 Octal Number System
The octal number system was used extensively by early minicomputers. However, for both large and small
systems, it has largely been supplanted by the hexadecimal system. Sets of 3-bit binary numbers can be represented
by octal numbers and this can be conveniently used for the entire data in the computer.
A number system that uses eight digits, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, is called an octal number system. It has
a base of eight. The digits, 0 through 7 have exactly the same physical meaning as decimal symbols. In this
system, each digit has a weight corresponding to its position as shown below:
+ ... a
+ a
+ a
+ a
+ a
– 1
+ a
– 2
+ ... + a
– n
Octal Odometer
Octal odometer is a hypothetical device similar to the odometer of a car. Each display wheel of this odometer
contains only eight digits (teeth), numbered 0 to 7. When a wheel turns from 7 back to 0 after one rotation, it sends
a carry to the next higher wheel. Table below shows equivalent numbers in decimal, binary and octal systems.
Table Equivalent Numbers in Decimal, Binary and Octal Systems
Decimal (Radix 10) Binary (Radix 2) Octal (Radix 8)
0 000 000 0
1 000 001 1
2 000 010 2
3 000 011 3
4 000 100 4
5 000 101 5
6 000 110 6
18 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
7 000 111 7
8 001 000 10
9 001 001 11
10 001 010 12
11 001 011 13
12 001 100 14
13 001 101 15
14 001 110 16
15 001 111 17
16 010 000 20
Consider an octal number [567.3]
. It is pronounced as five, six, seven octal point three and not five hundred
sixty seven point three. The coefficients of the integer part are a
= 7, a
= 6, a
= 5 and the coefficient of the
fractional part is a
– 1
= 3.
2.4 Hexadecimal Number System
The hexadecimal system groups numbers by sixteen and powers of sixteen. Hexadecimal numbers are used
extensively in microprocessor work. Most minicomputers and microcomputers have their memories organized
into sets of bytes, each consisting of eight binary digits. Each byte either is used as a single entity to represent a
single alphanumeric character or broken into two 4-bit pieces. When the bytes are handled in two 4-bit pieces, the
programmer is given the option of declaring each 4-bit character as a piece of a binary number or as two BCD
The hexadecimal number is formed from a binary number by grouping bits in groups of 4 bits each, starting
at the binary point. This is a logical way of grouping, since computer words come in 8 bits, 16 bits, 32 bits and so
on. In a group of 4 bits, the decimal numbers 0 to 15 can be represented as shown in Table.
The hexadecimal number system has a base of 16. Thus, it has 16 distinct digit symbols. It uses the digits
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 plus the letters A, B, C, D, E and F as 16 digit symbols. The relationship among octal,
hexadecimal and binary is shown in Table. Each hexadecimal number represents a group of four binary digits.
Table Equivalent Numbers in Decimal, Binary, Octal and Hexadecimal Number Systems
Decimal Binary Octal Hexadecimal
(Radix 10) (Radix 2) (Radix 8) (Radix 16)
0 0000 0 0
1 0001 1 1
2 0010 2 2
3 0011 3 3
4 0100 4 4
5 0101 5 5
6 0110 6 6
7 0111 7 7
8 1000 10 8
9 1001 11 9
10 1010 12 A
11 1011 13 B
12 1100 14 C
13 1101 15 D
14 1110 16 E
15 1111 17 F
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 19
16 0001 0000 20 10
17 0001 0001 21 11
18 0001 0010 22 12
19 0001 0011 23 13
20 0001 0100 24 14
Counting in Hexadecimal
When counting in hex, each digit can be incremented from 0 to F. Once it reaches F, the next count causes it to
recycle to 0 and the next higher digit is incremented. This is illustrated in the following counting sequences: 0038,
0039, 003A, 003B, 003C, 003D, 003E, 003F, 0040; 06B8, 06B9, 06BA, 06BB, 06BC, 06BD, 06BE, 06BF, 06C0,
2.5 Conversion from One Number System to the Other
Binary to Decimal Conversion
A binary number can be converted into decimal number by multiplying the binary 1 or 0 by the weight
corresponding to its position and adding all the values.
Example 2: Convert the binary number 110111 to decimal number.
Solution: 110111
= 1 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 0 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 1 × 2
+ 1 × 2
= 1 × 32 + 1 × 16 + 0 × 8 + 1 × 4 + 1 × 2 + 1 × 1
= 32 + 16 + 0 + 4 + 2 + 1
= 55
We can streamline binary to decimal conversion by the following procedure:
Step 1: Write the binary, i.e., all its bits in a row.
Step 2: Write 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, ..., directly under the binary number working from right to left.
Step 3: Omit the decimal weight which lies under zero bits.
Step 4: Add the remaining weights to obtain the decimal equivalent.
The same method is used for binary fractional number.
Example 3: Convert the binary number 11101.1011 into its decimal equivalent.
Step 1: 1 1 1 0 1 . 1 0 1 1

Binary Point
Step 2: 16 8 4 2 1 . 0.5 0.25 0.125 0.0625
Step 3: 16 8 4 0 1 . 0.5 0 0.125 0.0625
Step 4: 16 + 8 + 4 + 1 + 0.5 + 0.125 + 0.0625 = [29.6875]
Hence, [11101.1011]
= [29.6875]
The abbreviation K stands for 2
= 1024. Therefore, 1K = 1024, 2K = 2048, 3K = 3072, 4K = 4096, and
so on. Many personal computers have 64K memory, this means that computers can store up to 65,536 bytes in the
memory section.
20 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Binary Numbers Powers of 2
Decimal Binary Powers of 2 Equivalent Abbreviation
0 0 2
1 01 2
2 10 2
3 11 2
4 100 2
5 101 2
6 110 2
7 111 2
8 1000 2
9 1001 2
10 1010 2
1024 1K
11 1011 2
2048 2K
12 1100 2
4096 4K
13 1101 2
8192 8K
14 1110 2
16384 16K
15 1111 2
32768 32K
16 10000 2
65536 64K
Decimal to Binary Conversion
There are several methods for converting a decimal number to a binary number. The first method is simply to
subtract values of powers of 2 which can be subtracted from the decimal number until nothing remains. The value
of the highest power of 2 is subtracted first, then the second highest, and so on.
Example 4: Convert the decimal integer 29 to the binary number system.
Solution: First the value of the highest power of 2 which can be subtracted from 29 is found. This is 2
= 16.
Then, 29 – 16 = 13
The value of the highest power of 2 which can be subtracted from 13, is 2
, then 13 – 2
= 13 – 8 = 5. The
value of the highest power of 2 which can be subtracted from 5, is 2
. Then 5 – 2
= 5 – 4 = 1. The remainder
after subtraction is 1
or 2
. Therefore, the binary representation for 29 is given by,
= 2
+ 2
+ 2
+ 2
= 16 + 8 + 4 + 0 × 2 + 1
= 1 1 1 0 1
= [11101]
Similarly, [25.375]
= 16 + 8 + 1 + 0.25 + 0.125
= 2
+ 2
+ 0 + 0 + 2
+ 0 + 2
+ 2
= [11011.011]
This is a laborious method for converting numbers. It is convenient for small numbers and can be performed
mentally, but is less used for larger numbers.
Decimal Fraction to Binary
The conversion of decimal fraction to binary fractions may be accomplished by using several techniques. Again,
the most obvious method is to subtract the highest value of the negative power of 2, which may be subtracted
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 21
from the decimal fraction. Then, the next highest value of the negative power of 2 is subtracted from the remainder
of the first subtraction and this process is continued until there is no remainder or to the desired precision.
Example 5: Convert 0.6940
to a binary number.
Solution: 0.6940 × 2 = 1.3880 = 0.3880 with a carry of 1
0.3880 × 2 = 0.7760 = 0.7760 with a carry of 0
0.7760 × 2 = 1.5520 = 0.5520 with a carry of 1
0.5520 × 2 = 1.1040 = 0.1040 with a carry of 1
0.1040 × 2 = 0.2080 = 0.2080 with a carry of 0
0.2080 × 2 = 0.4160 = 0.4160 with a carry of 0
0.4160 × 2 = 0.8320 = 0.8320 with a carry of 0
0.8320 × 2 = 1.6640 = 0.6640 with a carry of 1
0.6640 × 2 = 1.3280 = 0.3280 with a carry of 1
We may stop here as the answer would be approximate.
∴ [0.6940]
= [0.101100011]
If more accuracy is needed, continue multiplying by 2 until you have as many digits as necessary for your
Example 6: Convert 14.625
to binary number.
Solution: First the integer part 14 is converted into binary and then, the fractional part 0.625 is converted into
binary as shown below:
Integer part Fractional part
14 ÷ 2 = 7 + 0 0.625 × 2 = 1.250 with a carry of 1
7 ÷ 2 = 3 + 1 0.250 × 2 = 0.500 with a carry of 0
3 ÷ 2 = 1 + 1 0.500 × 2 = 1.000 with a carry of 1
1 ÷ 2 = 0 + 1
∴ The binary equivalent is [1110.101]
Octal to Decimal Conversion
An octal number can be easily converted to its decimal equivalent by multiplying each octal digit by its positional
Example 7: Convert (376)
to decimal number.
Solution: The process is similar to binary to decimal conversion except that the base here is 8.
= 3 × 8
+ 7 × 8
+ 6 × 8
= 3 × 64 + 7 × 8 + 6 × 1 = 192 + 56 + 6 = [254]
The fractional part can be converted into decimal by multiplying it by the negative powers of 8.
Example 8: Convert (0.4051)
to decimal number.
Solution: [0.4051]
= 4 × 8
+ 0 × 8
+ 5 × 8
+ 1 × 8
1 1 1 1
4 0 5 1
8 64 512 4096
× + × + × + ×
∴ [0.4051]
= [0.5100098]
22 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Example 9: Convert (6327.45)
to its decimal number.
Solution: [6327.45]
= 6 × 8
+ 3 × 8
+ 2 × 8
+ 7 × 8
+ 4 × 8
+ 5 × 8
= 3072 + 192 + 16 + 7 + 0.5 + 0.078125
= [3287.578125]
Decimal to Octal Conversion
The methods used for converting a decimal number to its octal equivalent are the same as those used to convert
from decimal to binary. To convert a decimal number to octal, we progressively divide the decimal number by 8,
writing down the remainders after each division. This process is continued until zero is obtained as the quotient,
the first remainder being the LSD.
The fractional part is multiplied by 8 to get a carry and a fraction. The new fraction obtained is again
multiplied by 8 to get a new carry and a new fraction. This process is continued until the number of digits have
sufficient accuracy.
Example 10: Convert [416.12]
to octal number.
Solution: Integer part 416 ÷ 8 = 52 + remainder 0 (LSD)
52 ÷ 8 = 6 + remainder 4
6 ÷ 8 = 0 + remainder 6 (MSD)
Fractional part 0.12 × 8 = 0.96 = 0.96 with a carry of 0
0.96 × 8 = 7.68 = 0.68 with a carry of 7
0.68 × 8 = 5.44 = 0.44 with a carry of 5
0.44 × 8 = 3.52 = 0.52 with a carry of 3
0.52 × 8 = 4.16 = 0.16 with a carry of 4
0.16 × 8 = 1.28 = 0.28 with a carry of 1
0.28 × 8 = 2.24 = 0.24 with a carry of 2
0.24 × 8 = 1.92 = 0.92 with a carry of 1
∴ [416.12]
= [640.07534121]
Octal to Binary Conversion
Since 8 is the third power of 2, we can convert each octal digit into its 3-bit binary form and from binary to octal
form. All 3-bit binary numbers are required to represent the eight octal digits of the octal form. The octal number
system is often used in digital systems, especially for input/output applications. Each octal digit that is represented
by 3 bits is shown in Table.
Octal to Binary Conversion
Octal digit Binary equivalent
0 000
1 001
2 010
3 011
4 100
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 23
5 101
6 110
7 111
10 001 000
11 001 001
12 001 010
13 001 011
14 001 100
15 001 101
16 001 110
17 001 111
Example 11: Convert [675]
to binary number.
Solution: Octal digit 6 7 5
↓ ↓ ↓
Binary 110 111 101
∴ [675]
= [110 111 101]
Example 12: Convert [246.71]
to binary number.
Solution: Octal digit 2 4 6 . 7 1
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Binary 010 100 110 111 001
∴ [246.71]
= [010 100 110 . 111 001]
Binary to Octal Conversion
The simplest procedure is to use the binary triplet method. The binary digits are grouped into groups of three
on each side of the binary point with zeros added on either side if needed to complete a group of three. Then, each
group of 3 bits is converted to its octal equivalent. Note that the highest digit in the octal system is 7.
Example 13: Convert [11001.101011]
to octal number.
Solution: Binary 11001.101011
Divide into groups of 3 bits 011 001 . 101 011
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
3 1 5 3
Note that a zero is added to the left-most group of the integer part. Thus, the desired octal conversion is [31.53]
Example 14: Convert [11101.101101]
to octal number.
Solution: Binary [11101.101101]
Divide into groups of 3 bits 011 101 . 101 101
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
3 5 5 5
∴ [11101.101101]
= [35.55]
24 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Hexadecimal to Binary Conversion
Hexadecimal numbers can be converted into binary numbers by converting each hexadecimal digit to 4-bit binary
equivalent using the code given in Table 2.8. If the hexadecimal digit is 3, it should not be represented by 2 bits
, but it should be represented by 4 bits as [0011]
Example 15: Convert [EC2]
to binary number.
Solution: Hexadecimal number E C 2
↓ ↓ ↓
Binary Equivalent 1110 1100 0010
∴ [EC2]
= [1110 1100 0010]
Example 16: Convert [2AB.81]
to binary number.
Solution: Hexadecimal number
2 A B . 8 1
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
0010 1010 1011 1000 0001
∴ [2AB.81]
= [0010 1010 1011 . 1000 0001]
Binary to Hexadecimal Conversion
Conversion from binary to hexadecimal is easily accomplished by partitioning the binary number into groups of
four binary digits, starting from the binary point to the left and to the right. It may be necessary to add zero to the
last group, if it does not end in exactly 4 bits. Each group of 4 bits binary must be represented by its hexadecimal
Example 17: Convert [10011100110]
to hexadecimal number.
Solution: Binary number [10011100110]
Grouping the above binary number into 4-bits, we have
0100 1110 0110
Hexadecimal equivalent ↓ ↓ ↓
4 E 6
∴ [10011100110]
= [4E6]
Example 18: Convert [111101110111.111011]
to hexadecimal number.
Solution: Binary number [111101110111.111011]
By Grouping into 4 bits we have, 1111 0111 0111 . 1110 1100
↓ ↓ ↓ . ↓ ↓
Hexadecimal equivalent F 7 7 . E C
∴ [111101110111.111011]
= [F77.EC]
The conversion between hexadecimal and binary is done in exactly the same manner as octal and binary,
except that groups of 4 bits are used.
Hexadecimal to Decimal Conversion
As in octal, each hexadecimal number is multiplied by the powers of 16, which represents the weight according
to its position and finally adding all the values.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 25
Another way of converting a hexadecimal number into its decimal equivalent is to first convert the
hexadecimal number to binary and then convert from binary to decimal.
Example 19: Convert [B6A]
to decimal number.
Solution: Hexadecimal number [B6A]
= B × 16
+ 6 × 16
+ A × 16
= 11 × 256 + 6 × 16 + 10 × 1 = 2816 + 96 + 10 = [2922]
Example 20: Convert [2AB.8]
to decimal number.
Solution: Hexadecimal number
= 2 × 16
+ A × 16
+ B × 16
+ 8 × 16
= 2 × 256 + 10 × 16 + 11 × 1 + 8 × 0.0625
∴ [2AB.8]
= [683.5]
Decimal to Hexadecimal Conversion
One way to convert from decimal to hexadecimal is the hex dabble method. The conversion is done in a similar
fashion, as in the case of binary and octal, taking the factor for division and multiplication as 16.
Any decimal integer number can be converted to hex successively dividing by 16 until zero is obtained in
the quotient. The remainders can then be written from bottom to top to obtain the hexadecimal results.
The fractional part of the decimal number is converted to hexadecimal number by multiplying it by 16, and
writing down the carry and the fraction separately. This process is continued until the fraction is reduced to zero
or the required number of significant bits is obtained.
Example 21: Convert [854]
to hexadecimal number.
Solution: 854 ÷ 16 = 53 + with a remainder of 6
53 ÷ 16 = 3 + with a remainder of 5
3 ÷ 16 = 0 + with a remainder of 3
∴ [854]
= [356]
Example 22: Convert [106.0664]
to hexadecimal number.
Solution: Integer part
106 ÷ 16 = 6 + with a remainder of 10
6 ÷ 16 = 0 + with a remainder of 6
Fractional part
0.0664 × 16 = 1.0624 = 0.0624 + with a carry of 1
0.0624 × 16 = 0.9984 = 0.9984 + with a carry of 0
0.9984 × 16 = 15.9744 = 0.9744 + with a carry of 15
0.9744 × 16 = 15.5904 = 0.5904 + with a carry of 15
Fractional part [0.0664]
= [0.10FF]
Hexadecimal to Octal Conversion
This can be accomplished by first writing down the 4-bit binary equivalent of hexadecimal digit and then partitioning
it into groups of 3 bits each. Finally, the 3-bit octal equivalent is written down.
Example 23: Convert [2AB.9]
to octal number.
26 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Solution: Hexadecimal number 2 A B . 9
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
4 bit numbers 0010 1010 1011 . 1001
3 bit pattern 001 010 101 011 . 100 100
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Octal number 1 2 5 3 . 4 4
∴ [2AB.9]
= [1253.44]
Example 24: Convert [3FC.82]
to octal number.
Solution: Hexadecimal number 3 F C . 8 2
4 bit binary numbers 0011 1111 1100 . 1000 0010
3 bit pattern 001 111 111 100 . 100 000 100
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Octal number 1 7 7 4 . 4 0 4
= [1774.404]
Notice that zeros are added to the rightmost bit in the above two examples to make them group of 3 bits.
Octal to Hexadecimal Conversion
It is the reverse of the above procedure. First the 3-bit equivalent of the octal digit is written down and partitioned
into groups of 4 bits, then the hexadecimal equivalent of that group is written down.
Example 25: Convert [16.2]
to hexadecimal number.
Solution: Octal number 1 6 . 2
↓ ↓ ↓
3 bit binary 001 110 . 010
4 bit pattern 1110 . 0100
↓ ↓
Hexadecimal E . 4
∴ [16.2]
= [E.4]
Example 26: Convert [764.352]
to hexadecimal number.
Solution: Octal number 7 6 4 . 3 5 2
3 bit binary 111 110 100 . 011 101 010
4 bit pattern 0001 1111 0100 . 0111 0101 000
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Hexadecimal number 1 F 4 . 7 5 0
∴ [764.352]
= [1F4.75]
2.6 Floating Point Representation of Numbers
In decimal, very large and very small numbers are expressed in scientific notation as– 4.69 × 10
and 1.601 ×
. Binary numbers can also be expressed in this same notation by floating point representation. The floating
point representation of a number consists of two parts. The first part represents a signed, fixed point number
called the mantissa. The second part designates the position of the decimal (or binary) point and is called the
exponent. The fixed point mantissa may be a fraction or an integer. The number of bits required to express the
exponent and mantissa are determined by the accuracy desired from the computing system as well as its capability
to handle such numbers. The decimal number + 6132.789, for example, is represented in floating point as follows:
0 6132789

0 04

Computer Organization and Operating Systems 27
The mantissa has a 0 in the leftmost position to denote a plus. The mantissa here is considered to be a fixed
point fraction. So, the decimal point is assumed to be at the left of the MSB. The decimal mantissa, when stored
in a register requires at least 29 flip-flops–four flip flops for each BCD digit and one for the sign. The decimal part
is not physically indicated in the register, it is only assumed to be there. The exponent contains the decimal number
+ 04 (in BCD), to indicate that the actual position of the decimal point is four decimal positions to the right of the
assumed decimal point. This representation is equivalent to the number expressed as fraction times 10 to exponent,
that is, + 0.6132789 × 10
. Because of this analogy, the mantissa is sometimes called the fraction part.
Consider the following decimal numbers to understand floating point notation.
(i) 42300
(ii) 369.4202
(iii) 0.00385
(iv) 643.15
The above numbers can be written in floating point representation as follows:
(i) 42300 = 423 × 10
(ii) 369.4202 = 0.3694202 × 10
(iii) 0.00385 = 385 × 10
(iv) 643.15 = 64315 × 10
Here the first or the integer part is known as mantissa. The mantissa is multiplied by some power of 10 and
this power is known as the exponent.
Consider, for example, a computer that assumes integer representation for the mantissa and radix 8 for the
numbers. The octal number + 36.754 = 36754 × 8
, in its floating point representation will look like this:
0 36754

1 03

When this number is represented in a register, in its binary coded form, the actual value of the register
0011 110 111 101 100 1 000 011
The register needs 23 flip flops. The circuits that operate on such data must recognize the flip flops
assigned to the bits of the mantissa and exponent, and their associated signs. Note that if the exponent is increased
by one (to –2), the actual point of the mantissa is shifted to the right by 3 bits (one octal digit).
Floating point is always interpreted to represent a number in the following form:
m ×r
Only the mantissa m and the exponent e are physically represented in the register. The radix r and the radix
point position of the mantissa are always assumed. A floating point binary number is represented in a similar
manner except that the radix assumed is 2. The number + 1001.11, for example, is represented in a 16 bit register
as follows:
0 100111000

0 00100

The mantissa occupies 10 bits and the exponent 6 bits. The mantissa is assumed to be a fixed point
representation. If the mantissa is assumed to be an integer, the exponent will be 1 00101 (–5).
28 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
A floating point number is said to be normalized if the most significant position of the mantissa contains a
nonzero digit. The mantissa 035, for example, is not normalized but 350 is. When 350 is represented in BCD, it
becomes 0011 0101 0000 and although two 0s seem to be present in the two most significant positions, the
mantissa is normalized. Since the bits represent a decimal number, not a binary number, and decimal numbers in
BCD must be taken in groups of 4 bits, the first digit is 3 and is nonzero.
When the mantissa is normalized, it has no leading zeros and therefore contains the maximum possible
number of significant digits. Consider, for example, a register that can accommodate a mantissa of five decimal
digits and a sign.
The number + 0.35748 × 10
= 35.748 is normalized because the mantissa has a nonzero digit 3 in its most
significant position. This number can be represented in an unnormalized form as + 0.00357 × 10
= 35.7. This
unnormalized number contains two most significant zeros and therefore the mantissa can accommodate only
three significant digits. The two least significant digits, 4 and 8, that were accommodated in the normalized form,
have no form in the unnormalized form because the rgister can only accommodate five digits.
Arithmetic operations with floating point numbers are more complicated than arithmetic operations with
fixed point numbers and their execution takes longer and requires more complex hardware. However, floating
point representation is a must for scientific computations because of the scaling problems involved with fixed
point computations. Many computers and all electronic calculators have built-in capability of performing floating
point arithmetic operations. Computers that do not have hardware for floating point computations have a set of
subroutines to help the user program his scientific problems with floating point numbers.
Example 27: Determine the number of bits required to represent in floating point notation the exponent for
decimal numbers in the range of 10
Solution: Let n be the required number of bits to represent the number 10
∴ 2
= 10
n log 2 = 86
∴ n = 86/log 2 =
0 3010 .
= 285.7
∴ 10
= 2
The exponent ± 285 can be represented by a 10 bit binary word. It has a range of exponent (+ 511 to
– 512).
2.7 Binary Arithmetic
Arithmetic operations are done in computer not by using decimal numbers, as we do normally, but by using binary
numbers. Arithmetic circuits in computers and calculators perform arithmetic and logic operations. All arithmetic
operations take place in the arithmetic unit of a computer. The electronic circuit is capable of doing addition of
two or three binary digits at a time and the binary addition alone is sufficient to do subtraction. Thus, a single
circuit of a binary adder with suitable shift register can perform all the arithmetic operations.
Binary Addition
Binary addition is performed in the same manner as decimal addition. Binary addition is the key to binary subtraction,
multiplication and division. There are only four cases that occur in adding the two binary digits in any position.
This is shown in Table 1.12.
(i) 1 + 1 + 1 = 11 (i.e., 1 carry of 1 into next position)
(ii) 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 100
(iii) 10 + 1 = 11
The rules of (1), (2) and (3) in Table are just decimal addition. The rule (4) states that adding 1 and 1 gives
one zero (meaning decimal 2 and not decimal 10).
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 29
There is a carry from the previous position. ‘Carry overs’ are performed in the same manner as in decimal
arithmetic. Since 1 is the larger digit in the binary system, any sum greater than 1 requires that a digit be carried
Binary Addition
Sl. No. Augend Addend Carry Sum Result
(A) + (B) (C) (S)
1 0 + 0 0 0 0
2 0 + 1 0 1 1
3 1 + 0 0 1 1
4 1 + 1 1 0 10
Example 28: Add the binary numbers (i) 011 and 101, (ii) 1011 and 1110, (iii) 10.001 and 11.110, (iv) 1111 and
10010, and (v) 11.01 and 101.0111.
Solution: (i) Binary number Equivalent decimal number
11 ← Carry
011 3
+ 101 5
Sum = 1000 8
(ii) Binary Decimal (iii) Binary Decimal
11 ← Carry 1 ← Carry
1011 11 10.001 2.125
+ 1110 + 14 + 11.110 + 3.750
Sum = 11001 25 Sum = 101.111 5.875
(iv) Binary Decimal (v) Binary Decimal
11 ← Carry 11 ← Carry
1111 15 11.01 3.25
+ 10010 + 18 101.0111 + 5.4375
Sum = 100001 33 Sum = 1000.1011 8.6875
Since the circuit in all digital systems actually performs addition that can handle only two numbers at a
time, it is not necessary to consider the addition of more than two binary numbers. When more than two numbers
are to be added, the first two are added together and then their sum is added to the third number, and so on.
Almost all modern digital machines can perform addition operation in less than 1 µs.
Larger Binary Numbers
Column by column addition applies to binary as well as decimal numbers.
Example 29: Add the following binary numbers.
(i) 1101101 and 1001110 (ii) 1111001 and 1100101
(iii) 110011 and 111000 (iv) 1111110 and 11100111
Solution: 1 1 1 carry 1 1 1 carry
1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1
30 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
(i) 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 (ii) 1 1 0 0 1 0 1
1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0
1 carry 1 1 1 1 1 1 carry
1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
(iii) 1 1 1 0 0 0 (iv) 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1
1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1
Example 30: Add these 8-bit numbers : 0110 1011 and 1011 0110. Then, show the same numbers in hexadecimal
Solution: 8 bit binary Hexadecimal equivalent
1111 11 carry
0110 1011 6 B H
+ 1011 0110 + B 6 H
10010 0001 1 2 1 H
Logic equations representing the sum is also known as the exclusive OR function and can be represented
also in Boolean ring algebra as S = AB BA + = A ⊕ B.
Binary Subtraction
Subtraction is the inverse operation of addition. To subtract, it is necessary to establish procedure for subtracting
a large digit from a small digit. The only case in which this occurs with binary numbers is when 1 is subtracted
from 0. The remainder is 1, but it is necessary to borrow 1 from the next column to the left. The rules of binary
subtraction are shown below in Table 1.13.
(i) 0 – 0 = 0
(ii) 1 – 0 = 1
(iii) 1 – 1 = 0
(iv) 0 – 1 = 0 with a borrow of 1
(v) 10 – 1 = 01
Table 1.13 Binary Subtraction
Sl. No. Minuend _ Subtrahend Result
1 0 – 0 0
2 0 – 1 0 with a borrow of 1
3 1 – 0 1
4 1 – 1 0
Example 31: (i) Binary Decimal (ii) Binary Decimal
Solution: 1001 9 10000 16
– 101 – 5 – 011 –3
Difference = 100 4 1101 13
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 31
(iii) Binary Decimal (iv) Binary Decimal
110.01 6.25 1101 13
– 100.1 – 4.5 – 1010 – 10
1.11 1.75 0011 3
Example 32: Show the binary subtraction of (128)
from (210)
Solution: Converting the given decimal numbers into corresponding hexadecimal number, we have
210 → D 2 H → 1101 0010
128 → 8 0 H → 1000 0000
1101 0010 D 2 H
– 1000 0000 – 8 0 H
0101 0010 5 2 H
Binary Multiplication
The multiplication of binary numbers is done in the same manner as the multiplication of decimal numbers. The
following are four basic rules for multiplying binary digits:
(i) 0 × 0 = 0 (ii) 0 × 1 = 0 (iii) 1 × 0 = 0 (iv) 1 × 1 =1
In a computer, the multiplication operation is performed by repeated additions, in much the same manner as
the addition of all partial products to obtain the full product. Since the multiplier digits are either 0 or 1, so we are
always multiplying by 0 or 1 and no other digit.
Example 33: Multiply the binary numbers 1011 and 1101.
Solution: 1011

Multiplicant = 11

Multiplier = × 13

Partial product = 143

Final product = 143
Typical 8 bit microprocessor 6502 is used in software multiplication. In other words, multiplication is done
with addition instructions.
2.8 1’s and 2’s Complements
Subtraction of a number from another can be accomplished by adding the complement of the subtrahend to the minuend.
The exact difference can be obtained with minor manipulations.
1’s Complement
The 1’s complement form of any binary number is obtained simply by changing each 0 in the number to a 1 and
each 1 in the number to a 0.
Binary number 1’s complement
1011 → 0100
110110 → 001001
1100 1011 → 0011 0100
1011 1010 1011 1001 → 0100 0101 0100 0110
32 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
1’s Complement Arithmetic
(a) Subtrahend is smaller than the minuend
1. Complement the subtrahend by converting all 1’s to 0’s and all 0’s to 1’s.
2. Proceed as in addition.
3. Disregard the carry and add 1 to the total (end-around-carry).
Example 34: Perform the subtractions using 1’s complement addition of the following binary numbers:
(i) 110010 (ii) 111001010 (iii) 11010101
– 101101 – 110110101 – 10101100
Solution: (i) 110010 ⇒ 110010 1s of
¸ ¸

– 101101 + 010010
1000100 end-around-carry
(ii) 111001010 ⇒111001010
1’s of
¸ ¸
– 110110101 + 001001010
1000010100 end-around-carry
(iii) 11010101 ⇒11010101 1’s of
¸ ¸
– 10101100 + 01010011
100101000 end-around-carry
(b) Subtrahend is larger than the minuend
1. Complement the subtrahend.
2. Proceed as in addition.
3. Complement the result and place a negative sign in front of the result.
Example 35: Perform the subtractions using 1’s complement of the following binary numbers:
(i) 1011010 (ii) 1101011 (iii) 11110011
– 1101010 – 1110101 – 11111010
Solution: (i) 1011010 ⇒ 1011010 1’s of
| |
\ ¹
– 1101010 + 0010101
1’s complement of 1101111 = – 0010000
(ii) 1101011 ⇒ 1101011
1’s of
| |
\ ¹
– 1110101 + 0001010
1’s complement of 1110101 = – 0001010
(iii) 11110011 ⇒ 11110011 1’s of
| |
\ ¹
– 11111010 + 00000101
1’s complement of 11111000 = – 00000111
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 33
2’s Complement Subtraction
(a) Subtrahend is smaller than the minuend
1. Determine the 2’s complement of the smaller number.
2. Add this to the larger number.
3. Disregard the carry.
Example 36: Subtract the following using 2’s complement method: (i) (1011)
from (1100)
(ii) (1001)
from 1101
(iii) 0101
from 1001
Solution: (i) Direct subtraction 2’s complement method
1100 1100
– 1011 + 0101 ← [2’s complement of 1011]
0001 Carry → 1 0001
∴ The carry is disregarded. Thus, the answer is (0001)
(ii) Direct subtraction 2’s complement method
1101 1101
– 1011 0111 ← 2’s complement of 1001
0100 Carry → 1 0101
∴ The carry is disregarded. Thus, the answer is (0100)
(iii) Direct subtraction 2’s complement method
1001 1001
– 0101 + 1011 ← 2’s complement of 0101
0100 Carry → 1 0100
∴ The carry is disregarded. Thus, the answer is (0100)
(b) Subtrahend is larger than the minuend
Example 37: Subtract the following using 2’s complement method: (i) (1011)
from (1101)
, (ii) (1100)
Solution: (i) Direct subtraction 2’s complement method
1001 1001
– 1011 + 0101 ← 2’s complement of 1011
0010 No carry → 1110
No carry is obtained. Thus, the difference is negative and the true answer is 2’s complement of (1110)
i.e., (0010)
(ii) Direct subtraction 2’s complement method
1000 1000
– 1100 + 0100 ← 2’s complement of 1100
0100 No carry → 1100
34 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Since no carry is obtained, the difference is negative and therefore the true answer is the 2’s complement
of (1100)
, i.e., (0100)
2’s Complement Addition
There are four possible cases:
1. Both numbers positive
2. A positive number and a smaller negative number
3. A negative number and a smaller positive number
4. Both numbers negative
Binary Odometer Representation in 2’s Complement
The binary odometer is a marvellous way to understand 2’s complement representation. There are two
important ideas to notice about these odometer readings: (i) The MSB is the sign bit : 0 for a + sign and 1 for a
– sign (ii) The negative numbers shown in Figure represents the 2’s complements of the positive numbers.
Except for the magnitude, the positive and negative numbers are 2’s complements of each other. Hence,
we can take the 2’s complement of a positive binary number to find the corresponding negative binary number.
Case 1: Two positive numbers
Consider the addition of + 29 and + 19.
+ 29 0001 1101 (augend)
Adding + 19 0001 0011 (addend)
+ 48 0011 0000 (sum = 48)
Case 2: Positive and smaller negative number
Consider the addition of +39 and –22, remembering that the –22 will be in its 2’s complement form. Thus +22
(0001 0110) must be converted to –22 (1110 1010).
+ 39 0010 0111
Adding – 22 1110 1010
17 1 0001 0001

This carry is disregarded, so the result is 10001.
In this case, the sign bit of addend is 1. The sign bits also participate in the process of addition. In fact a
carry is generated in the last position of addition. This carry is always disregarded.
Case 3: Positive and larger negative number
Consider the addition of –47 and +29.
– 47 1101 0001
Adding + 29 0001 1101
– 18 1110 1110
The result has a sign bit of 1, indicating a negative number. It is in 2’s complement form. The last seven bits
110 1110, naturally represent the 2’s complement of the sum. To find the true magnitude of the sum, we must take
the 2’s complement of 1110 1110, the result is 10010 (+ 18). Thus, 1110 1110 represents – 18.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 35
Case 4: Two negative numbers
Consider the addition of – 32 and – 44.
– 32 1110 0000 (augend)
Adding – 44 1101 0100 (addend)
– 76 11011 0100 (sum = – 76)

This carry is disregarded, so the result is 1011 0100.
2.9 Information Representation and Codes
Information or data representation refers to the methods used internally to represent information stored in a
computer. Computers store different types of information, such as numbers, text, graphics of many varieties
(stills, video, animation) and sound. The information of various types is stored in a computer are stored internally
in the simple binary format, i.e., a sequence of 0’s and 1’s. These 0’s and 1’s form bit and byte of a computer
Bit and Byte
The terms bit and byte are frequently used in computer terminology. BIT word is derived from ‘BInary digiT’
and is referred as the smallest piece of information used by the computer. The term ‘byte’ was coined by Dr.
Werner Buchholz in July 1956 during the early design phase for the IBM Stretch computer. The byte is made up
of sequence of eight bits and is referred as the unit of digital information in computing and telecommunications.
A bit is a single numeric value either ‘1’ or ‘0’ that encodes a single unit of digital information. For example, in
Internet Protocol (IP), the IP addresses contain 32 bits or 4 bytes. The bytes divide the bits into groups. The IP
address is encoded with the following bits and bytes:
11000000 10101000 00000000 00000001
Bits are grouped into bytes to increase the efficiency of computer hardware including network equipment,
disks and memory. Traditionally, a byte referred to the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in
a computer and hence it is considered as the basic addressable element in many computer architectures.
The size of the byte has historically been hardware dependent and no definitive standards exist that
mandate the size. The de facto standard of eight bits is a convenient power of two permitting the values 0
through 255 for one byte. The commercial computing architectures are based on the 8-bit size.
Alpha Numeric Codes
Character Representation
Binary data is not the only data handled by a computer. We also need to process alphanumeric data like alphabets
(upper and lower case), digits (0 to 9) and special characters like + – * / ( ) space or blank, etc. These also must
be internally represented as bits.
BCD Equivalent of Decimal Digits
Decimal Number
Binary Equivalent
36 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Binary Coded Decimal
Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) is one of the early memory codes. It is based on the concept of converting each
digit of a decimal number into its binary equivalent rather than converting the entire decimal value into a pure
binary form. It further uses 4 digits to represent each of the digits. Table 1.4 shows the BCD equivalent of the
decimal digits.
Converting 42
into its BCD equivalent, would result in:
0100 0010
or 01000010 in BCD
4 2
As seen, 4-bit BCD code can be used to represent decimal numbers only. Since 4 bits are insufficient to
represent the various other characters used by the computer, instead of using only 4-bits (giving 16 possible
combinations), computer designers commonly use 6 bits to represent characters in BCD code. In this, the 4 BCD
numeric place positions are retained but two additional zone positions are added. With 6 bits, it is possible to
represent 2
or 64 different characters. This is, therefore, sufficient to represent the decimal digits (10), alphabetic
characters (26) and special characters (28).
Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code
The major drawback with the BCD code is that it allows only 64 different characters to be represented. This is
not sufficient to provide for decimal numbers (10), lower-case letters (26), upper-case letters (26), and a fairly
large number of special characters (28 plus).
The BCD code was, therefore, extended from a 6-bit to an 8-bit code. The added 2 bits are used as
additional zone bits, expanding the zone bits to 4. This resulting code is called the Extended Binary Coded
Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC). Using the EBCDIC it is possible to represent 2
or 256 characters. This
takes care of the character requirement along with a large quantity of printable and several non-printable control
characters (movement of the cursor on the screen, vertical spacing on printer, and so on.
Since EBCDIC is an 8-bit code, it can easily be divided into two 4-bit groups. Each of these groups can be
represented by one hexadecimal digit. Thus, hexadecimal number system is used as a notation for memory dump
by computers that use EBCDIC for internal representation of characters.
Developed by IBM, EBCDIC code is used in most IBM models and many other computers.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange
A computer code that is very widely used for data interchange is called the ‘American Standard Code for
Information Interchange’ or ASCII. Several computer manufacturers have adopted it as their computers’ internal
code. ASCII code uses 7 digits to represent 128 characters. Now an advanced ASCII is used having 8-bit
character representation code allowing for 256 different characters. This representation is being used in micro-
Let us look at the encoding method. Table below shows the bit combinations required for each character.
Bit Combinations

Computer Organization and Operating Systems 37
Thus, to code a text string ‘Hello.’ in ASCII using hexadecimal digits:
H e l l o .
48 65 6C 6C 6F 2E
The string is represented by the byte sequence 48 65 6C 6C 6F 2E.
2.10 Error Detection Codes
During the process of binary data transmission, errors may occur. If a single error transforms a valid code word
into an invalid one, it is said to be a single error detecting code. The most simple and commonly used error
detecting method is the parity check, in which an extra parity bit is included with the binary message, to make the
total number of 1s either odd or even, resulting in two methods, viz. (i) Even-parity method and (ii) Odd-parity
method. In the even-parity method, the total number of 1s in the code group (including the parity bit) must be an
even number. Similarly, in the odd-parity method, the total number of 1s (including the parity bit) must be an odd
number. The parity bit can be placed at either end of the code word, such that the receiver should be able to
differentiate between the parity bit and the actual data.
Parity-bit Generation
Message Even-parity code Odd-parity code
xyz xyz p xyz p
000 000 0 000 1
001 001 1 001 0
010 010 1 010 0
011 011 0 011 1
100 100 1 100 0
101 101 0 101 1
110 110 0 110 1
111 111 1 111 0
If a single error occurs, it transforms the valid code into an invalid one. This helps in the detection of single
bit errors. Though the parity code is meant for single error detection, it can detect any odd number of errors.
However, in both the cases, the original code word can not be found. If an even number of errors occur, then the
parity check is satisfied, giving an erroneous result.
Check Sums
The parity method can detect only a single error within a word and not double errors. Since the double error will
not change the parity of the bits, the parity checker will not indicate any error. The check sum method is used to
detect double errors and pinpoint erroneous bits. The working of this method is explained in the following lines.
Initially, word A 10110111 is transmitted, next the word B 00100010 is transmitted. The binary digits in the
two words are added and the sum obtained is retained in the transmitter. Then, a word C is transmitted and added
to the previous sum and the new sum is retained. In the same manner, each word is added to the previous sum and
after transmission of all the words, the final sum, called the check sum, is also transmitted. The same operation is
done at the receiving end and the final sum obtained here is checked against the transmitted check sum. If the
two sums are equal, then there is no error.
2.11 Building Blocks of Computers
The first computers did not have operating systems and they simply ran standalone programs. By the mid 1960s,
computer vendors were providing tools for developing, scheduling and executing jobs in a batch processing mode.
The operating systems originally used in mainframes and later in microcomputers only supported one
program at a time and therefore required a very basic scheduler. Each program was in complete control of the
38 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
computer while it ran. Multitasking or time sharing came to be associated with mainframe computers in the
1960s. By 1970, minicomputers would be sold with proprietary operating systems. An Operating System (OS)
can be defined as ‘Software responsible for the direct control and management of hardware and basic system
Operating Systems
Operating systems hide the idiosyncrasies of hardware by providing abstractions for ease of use. Abstraction
hides the low level details of the hardware and provides high level user friendly functions to use a hardware
piece. For example, consider using a hard disk which records information in terms of magnetic polarities. A hard
disk consists of many cylinders and tracks and sectors within a track and the read/write heads for writing and
reading bits to a sector. A user of a computer system cannot convert the data to be recorded to a format needed
for the disk and issue low level commands to address the appropriate track and read/write head and write the
data on to the right sector. There are software programs called device drivers for every device types to handle
this task. The programmer just issues read/write commands through the OS and the OS passes it to the driver
which translates this command to the low level commands that a hard disk can understand. The OS may issue the
same command for reading/writing to a tape drive or to a printer. However, the device drivers translate it into the
proper low level commands understood by the addressed device. The same is true for any other electromechanical
and electronic devices connected to a computer.
An application program wants to use the functionalities built into an operating system as parts of its code
while executing it. The OS provides these functionalities to other programs through the use of software interrupts
or system calls. Library functions are provided for all standard Input/Output (IO) operations. A programmer can
just reuse it so that he can concentrate on the coding of major logical aspects of the problem at hand.
Efficient Allocation and Utilization of Resources
A computer system has various resources like the Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory and I/O devices.
Every use of the resources is controlled by the OS. Executing programs or processes may request for the use of
resources and the OS sanctions the request and allocates the requested resources if available. The allocated
resources will be taken back from the processes normally after the use of the same is completed. That is, the OS
is considered as the manager of the resources of a computer system. The allocation of resources must be done
looking for overall efficiency and utilization. That is, the allocation must be done to improve the system throughput
(number of jobs executed per unit time) and the use of resources in a fair manner.
Hardware Components of Computer Systems
We understand from the discussion above that the operating systems control the hardware components of computers.
So, let us look at the major hardware components of computers. The diagram shown in Figure depicts the four
major hardware components of a computer system. They are processor or CPU, I/O devices, memory and
buses. Let us see a bit more details of each these components.
Hardware Components of a Computer System
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 39
A computer language is a language that can be understood by the computer. It is the computer’s native language.
Computer languages serve the same purpose as human languages. They are a means of communication. Let us
look at the similarities and differences between computer languages and human languages.
A natural or human language is the language that people speak daily, such as English, Hindi, French or
German. It is made up of words and rules known as lexicon and syntax, respectively. These words are joined to
make meaningful phrases according to the rules of the syntax. A computer language also consists of lexicon and
syntax, i.e., characters, symbols, and rules of usage that allow the user to communicate with the computer.
The main difference between a natural language and a computer language is that natural languages have
a large set of words (vocabulary) to choose from while computer languages have a limited or restricted set of
words. Thus, fewer words but more rules characterize a computer language.
Each and every problem to be solved by the computer needs to be broken down into discrete logical steps
before the computer can execute it. The process of writing such instructions in a computer or programming
language is called programming or coding.
Just as computer hardware has improved over the years, programming languages have also moved from
machine-oriented languages (that used strings of binary 0s and 1s) to problem-oriented languages (that use
common English terms). All computer languages can, however, be classified under the following categories:
• Machine Language (First Generation Language)
• Assembly Language (Second Generation Language)
• High-Level Language (Third Generation Language)
3.1 Machine Language
The computer can understand only binary-based languages. As already discussed, this is a combination of 0s and
1s. Instructions written using sequences of 0s and 1s are known as machine language. First generation computers
used programs written in machine language.
Machine language is very cumbersome to use and is tedious and time consuming for the programmer. It
requires thousands of machine language instructions to perform even simple jobs like keeping track of a few
addresses for mailing lists.
Every instruction in machine language is composed of two parts – the command itself, also known as the
‘operation code’ or opcode (like add, multiply, move etc.), and the ‘operand’ which is the address of the data that
has to be acted upon; for example, a typical machine language instruction may be represented as follows:
OP Code Operand
001 010001110
Machine Language Instruction
The number of operands varies with each computer and is therefore computer dependent.
It is evident from the above that to program in machine language, the programmer needs information
about the internal structure of the computer. He will also need to remember a number of operation codes and
will need to keep track of the addresses of all the data items (i.e., which storage location has which data item).
Programming in machine language can be very tedious, time consuming and still highly prone to errors. Further,
locating such errors and effecting modifications is also a mammoth task. Quite understandably, programmers
felt a need for moving away from machine language.
40 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
3.2 Assembly Language
Assembly language was the first step in the evolution of programming languages. It used mnemonics (symbolic
codes) to represent operation codes and strings of characters to represent addresses. Instructions in assembly
language may look like this:
Operation Operation address
Assembly Language Instruction
Assembly language was designed to replace each machine code by an understandable mnemonic, and
each address with a simple alphanumeric string. It was matched to the processor-structure of a particular computer
and was therefore (once again) machine dependent. This meant that programs written for a particular computer
model could not be executed on another one. In other words, an assembly language program lacked portability.
A program written in assembly language needs to be translated into machine language before the computer
can execute it. This is done by a special program called ‘Assembler’, which takes every assembly language
program and translates it into its equivalent machine code. The assembly language program is called the source
program, while the equivalent machine language program is called the object program. The assembler is a system
program supplied by the computer manufacturer.
Second generation computers used assembly language.
3.3 High-Level Languages
High-level languages developed as a result of the lack of portability of programs (written using machine or
assembly language) from one computer to another. They derive their name from the fact that they pemit programmers
to disregard a number of minor (low-level) hardware related details. Also, it is apparent that the closer the
mnemonics, rules and syntax of programming language could be to ‘natural language’, the easier it would be for
programmers to program, and less would be the possibility of introducing ‘bugs’ or errors into the program.
Hence, third generation languages came into being in the mid-1950s.
These procedural or algorithmic languages are designed to solve particular types of problems. They contain
commands that are particularly suited to one type of application. For example, a number of languages have been
designed to process scientific or mathematical problems. Others place an emphasis on commercial applications,
and so on.
Unlike symbolic or machine languages, there is very little variation in these languages between computers.
But it is necessary to translate them into machine code using a program known as an interpreter or a compiler.
Once again, the high-level program is called the source code while its equivalent machine language program is
referred to as the object code.
As they are easy to learn and program, machine independent, easy to maintainportable, high level languages
are very popular. Slow program execution is the main disadvantage since programs need to be converted into
machine language (by an interpreter or a compiler) before they can be executed.
Interpreter vs Compiler
Programs written in high-level languages need to be converted into machine language before the computer can
execute them. ‘Interpreters’ and ‘Compilers’ are translation or conversion programs that produce the machine
code from high-level languages.
The original program is called a source program, and after it is translated by the interpreter or compiler, it
is called an object program.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 41
The interpreter and compiler perform the same function but in fundamentally different ways. An interpreter
translates the instructions of the program one statement at a time. This translated code is first executed before
the interpreter begins work on the next line. Thus instructions are translated and executed simultaneously. The
object code is not stored in the computer’s memory for future use. The next time the instruction is to be used, it
needs to be freshly translated by the interpreter. For example, during repetitive processing of instructions in a
loop, every instruction in the loop will need to be translated every time the loop is executed.

Result of
(Translates and Executes
One Statement at a Time)

Program in
(Source Program)
Translation Process using an Interpreter
A compiler, on the other hand, takes an entire high-level language program and produces a machine
code version out of it. This version is then run as a single program.
Generally, language statements are written by programmers in languages such as C or COBOL using
editors. The source statements are contained within the file that thus gets created. Following this, the suitable
language compiler is run by the programmer, who specifies the file name within which the source statements are
contained. These statements are converted into their corresponding machine code, which can then be executed
by the computer.
The object code can be stored in the computer’s memory for executing in future. A compiler does not need
to translate the source program every time it needs to be executed, thereby saving execution time.

in Machine
(Object Program)
Program in
(Source Program)

Translation Process using a Compiler
To summarize, an interpreter allows the programmer to have online interaction with the computer, i.e., the
program can be corrected/modified while it is running, which means that it is possible to debug the program as it
is being executed. This however results in slower execution speed. On the contrary, a compiler permits offline
interaction, i.e., it is not possible to make changes while the program is running. The source program will need to
be modified offline and compiled every time a change is made, however minor the change may be. This can be
quite frustrating for new programmers but is good for those needing fast execution speed.
Third-Generation Languages
FORTRAN: Early computers were almost exclusively used by scientists. The first high-level language, FORTRAN
(FORmula TRANslation) was developed in about 1956 by John Backus at IBM. This language was designed for
solving engineering and scientific problems and is still one of the most popular languages for such applications.
FORTRAN has a number of versions with FORTRAN IV being one of the earlier popular versions. In
1977 the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published standards for FORTRAN with the view to
standardize the form of the language used by manufacturers. This standardized version is called FORTRAN 77.
COBOL: COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language), the initial language designed for commercial
applications, was developed in 1959 under the direction of Grace Hopper (a programmer in the US Navy) by a
team of computer users and manufacturers. The maintenance and further growth of the language was handed
over to a group called CODASYL (COnference on DAta SYstems Languages).
It is written using statements that resemble simple English and can be understood easily. For example, to
add two numbers (stored in variables A and B) a simple statement in COBOL would be: ADD A TO B GIVING
42 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
COBOL was standardized by ANSI in 1968 and in 1974. COBOL became the most widely used programming
language for business and data processing applications.
BASIC: BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was developed in 1966 by Thomas
Kurtz and John Kemeny, two professors at Dartmouth College, as a means of instruction for undergraduates.
This language was primarily designed for beginners and is very easy to learn. It was immediately picked up for
most business and general-purpose applications, particularly on small computers. BASIC later ended up as the
chief language at the centre of the personal computer revolution.
A minimum version of BASIC was standardized by ANSI and is so simple that it has been incorporated in
every subsequent version of BASIC. Some versions of BASIC include MBASIC (Microsoft BASIC) and CBASIC
(Compiler-based BASIC).
One of the newer versions of BASIC, commonly known as Visual Basic has also evolved from the original
BASIC language. It contains various statements and functions that can be used to create applications for a
Windows or GUI environment.
PASCAL: PASCAL was designed by Nicholas Wirth, a Swiss professor, in 1971. He created a far more
structured language for teaching and christened it Pascal (after Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician who
built the first successful mechanical calculator). His primary aim was to provide a language that supported
beginners in learning good program solving and programming techniques.
In addition to manipulation of numbers, PASCAL supports manipulation of vectors, matrices, strings of
characters, records, files and lists, thereby supporting non-numeric programming. Hence it has proved to be an
attractive language for professional computer scientists.
PASCAL has been standardized by ISO (International Standards Organization) and ANSI.
ADA: ADA (named after Charles Babbage’s biographer, the countess of Lovelace, Ada Augusta) was
developed by the US Department of Defence in 1981 and PL/1 (Programming Language 1) was developed by
IBM in the late 1960s. Both these languages were developed with both a scientific and business use in mind.
LISP: LISP (LISt Processing) was developed in the early 1950s by John McCarthy of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. It was put into practice in 1959, and was better equipped to deal with recursive algorithms
It has become the standard language within the artificial intelligence community.
C and C ++: The C language was developed by Dennis Ritchie of Bell Laboratories for implementing the
UNIX operating system. An extension of it was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup of Bell Laboratories, that he
called C++. C++ is also used to write procedural programs like C but the reason for its increased popularity is
perhaps because it is capable of handling the rigours of Object-Oriented Programming. C and C++ are extensively
used by professional programmers as general-purpose languages.
JAVA: Similar to C++, Java is a simplified object-oriented language in which the attributes that are susceptible
to programming errors have been removed. It was specifically designed as a network-oriented language to write
programs that would not run the risk of transmitting computer viruses and could therefore be safely downloaded
through the Internet. Applets, or small Java programs can be used to develop Web pages including a wide variety
of multimedia functions.
JAVA is a ‘secure to use over the Internet’ and platform-independent language.
Fourth-Generation Languages
Fourth-generation languages refer to software packages which are mostly written in one of the languages
(FORTRAN, C and so on) for any specific application. It is very useful for the user to perform a task without
writing programs. The user has to enter the command to call the program which is readily available in the
package. This language is also called command line language.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 43
Some of the commonly used 4 GL packages are dBase, FoxPro, Oracle, SQL (database management);
WordStar, MS Word, PageMaker (desktop publishing); Lotus 123, MS Excel (electronic spreadsheets); AutoCAD
(computer aided design and drafting); IDEAS, PRO/E, Unigraphics, Solidworks (computer aided design and solid
modelling); ANSYS, NASTRAN, and ADINA (finite element analysis for engineering components). These
programs, specially produced for specific tasks are called Application Software.
Fifth-Generation Languages
Fifth-generation languages are an outgrowth of research in the area of artificial intelligence. They are however,
still in their infancy. PROLOG (PROgramming LOGic) was designed in the early 1970s by Alain Colmerauer,
French computer scientist, and Philippe Roussel, a logician. Logical processes can be programmed and deductions
can be made autmatically by using PROLOG..
A number of other 5GL have been developed for meeting specialized needs. Some of the more popular
ones include PILOT (Programmed Instruction Learning, Or Testing) used to write instructional software; LOGO,
a version of LISP, developed in the 1960s to help educate children about computers; SNOBOL (String-Oriented
Symbolic Language), designed for list processing and pattern matching; and GPSS (General Purpose System
Simulator), used for modelling environmental and physical events.
A computer is a machine that manipulates data according to a set of instructions. The ability to store and execute
a prerecorded list of instructions called programs makes computers extremely versatile. Hence, it is a programmable
electronic device and responds to a specific set of instructions and performs high-speed processing of numbers,
text, graphics, symbols and sound. Modern computers are electronic and digital. The Central Processing Unit
(CPU), wires, transistors, circuits, memory, peripheral devices, etc., are called hardware, while the instructions
and data are called software.
Technically speaking, a computer is a programmable machine, which executes a programmed list of
instructions and also responds to new instructions that are given to it. Basically, computers are of three types:
digital, analog and hybrid. The digital computer stores data in discrete units and performs arithmetical and
logical operations at very high speed. The analog computer has no memory and is slower than the digital computer
but has a continuous rather than a discrete input. The hybrid computer combines some of the advantages of digital
and analog computers.
As per Oxford Dictionary the definition of a computer is, ‘An automatic electronic apparatus for making
calculations or controlling operations that are expressible in numerical or logical terms.’
4.1 Central Processing Unit
Execution of programs is the main function of the computer. The programs or the set of instructions are stored in
the computer’s main memory and are executed by the CPU. The CPU processes the set of instructions along
with any calculations and comparisons to complete the task (refer Figure). Additionally, the CPU controls and
activates various other functions of the computer system. It also activates the peripherals to perform input and
output functions.
Arithmetic Logic
Unit (ALU)
Memory Unit
Control Unit
Central Processing Unit
44 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
The CPU consists of three major components: the register set (associated with the main memory) that
stores the transitional data while processing the programs and commands, ALU which performs the necessary
micro-operations for processing the programs and commands, and the control unit that controls the transmitting of
information amongst the registers and directs the ALU on the instructions to follow.
I. Control Unit
The control unit not only plays a major role in transmitting data from a device to the CPU and vice versa but also
plays a significant role in the functioning of the CPU. It actually does not process the data but manages and
coordinates the entire computer system including the input and the output devices. It retrieves and interprets the
commands of the programs stored in the main memory and sends signals to other units of the system for execution.
It does this through some special purpose registers and a decoder. The special purpose register called the instruction
register holds the current instruction to be executed, and the program control register holds the next instruction to
be executed. The decoder interprets the meaning of each instruction supported by the CPU. Each instruction is
also accompanied by a microcode, i.e., the basic directions to tell the CPU how to execute the instruction.
II. Arithmetic Logic Unit
The ALU is responsible for arithmetic and logic operations. This means that when the control unit encounters an
instruction that involves an arithmetic operation (add, subtract, multiply, divide) or a logic operation (equal to, less
than, greater than), it passes control to the ALU, which has the necessary circuitry to carry out these arithmetic
and logic operations.
4.2 Memory
Memory is used for storage and retrieval of instructions and data in a computer system. The CPU contains
several registers for storing data and instructions. But these can store only a few bytes. If all the instructions and
data being executed by the CPU were to reside in secondary storage (like magnetic tapes and disks), and loaded
into the registers of the CPU as the program execution proceeded, it would lead to the CPU being idle for most
of the time, since the speed at which the CPU processes data is much higher than the speed at which data can be
transferred from disks to registers. A memory system is mainly classified into the following categories:
Primary Storage Memory
This is the main memory of the computer which communicates directly with the processor. This memory is large
in size and fast, but not as fast as the internal memory of the processor. It comprises a couple of integrated chips
mounted on a printed circuit board plugged directly on the motherboard. Random Access Memory (RAM) is an
example of primary storage memory.
(i) Magnetic Core Memory: It was previously used and was termed as Random Access Computer Memory.
It used small magnetic rings, termed cores, for storage.
(ii) Internal Processor Memory: This is a small set of high-speed registers placed inside a processor and
used for storing temporary data while processing.
(iii) Static and Dynamic RAM: There are two types of integrated circuit RAM chips available in the market,
Static RAM (SRAM) and Dynamic RAM (DRAM). Static RAM stores binary information using clocked
sequential circuits. The information stored in the SRAM remains valid as long as the power is supplied to
the unit, whereas DRAM stores information inside a chip in the form of electric charges supplied to the
(iv) Read Only Memory: Most of the memory in a general purpose computer is made of RAM integrated
circuit chips, but a portion of the memory may be constructed using ROM chips. nently resident in the
computer and do not change once the production of the computer is completed.
The ROM portion of the main memory is used for storing an initial program called the bootstrap loader.
The bootstrap loader is a program whose function is to start the computer software operation when power
is turned on. The contents of ROM remain unchanged even after the power is switched off and on again.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 45
(v) PROM: Therefore, a new kind of ROM called PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory) was designed.
This is also non-volatile in nature and can be written only once using special electronic equipment. In both
ROM and PROM, the write operation can be performed only once and the written information cannot be
edited later on.
(vi) EPROM and EEPROM: Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory or EPROMs are typically used
by R&D personnel who experiment by changing microprograms on the computer system to test their
efficiency. EPROM chips are of two types: EEPROMs (Electrically EPROM) and UVEPROM
(Ultraviolet EPROM).
(vii) Cache Memory: This is another category of memory used by modern computer systems. It temporarily
stores and supplies the data and instructions from the main memory to the internal memory (registers) to
speed up the process.
Cache memories are small, high speed memories that function between the CPU and the primary memory.
They are faster than the main memory with access time closer to the speed of the CPU.
Secondary Storage Memory
This stores all the system software and application programs and is basically used for data backups. It is much
larger in size and slower than primary storage memory. Hard disk drives, floppy disk drives and flash drives are
a few examples of secondary storage memory.
4.3 Other Significant Components
Register and Buffer
Normally, the memory cycle time is approximately 1–10 times higher than the CPU cycle time, hence temporary
storage is provided within the CPU in the form of CPU registers. The CPU registers are termed as fast memory
and can be accessed almost instantaneously.
Further, the number of bits a register can store at a time is called the length of the register. Most of the
CPUs sold today have 32-bit or 64-bit registers. The size of the register is also called the word size and indicates
the amount of data that a CPU can process at a time. Thus, the bigger the word size, the faster the speed of the
computer to process data.
The number of registers varies in different computers. The following are the typical registers found in most
I. Memory Address Register (MAR): It specifies the address of memory location from which data is to
be accessed (in case of read operation) or to which data is to be stored (in case of write operation).
II. Memory Buffer Register (MBR): It receives data from the memory (in case of read operation) or
contains the data to be written in the memory (in case of write operation).
III. Program Counter (PC): It keeps track of the instruction that is to be executed next, after the execution
of the current instruction.
IV. Accumulator (AC): It interacts with the ALU and stores the input or output operand. This register,
therefore, holds the initial data to be operated upon, the intermediate results and final results of processing
V. Instruction Register (IR): The instructions are loaded in the IR before their execution, i.e., the instruction
register holds the current instruction that is being executed.
A motherboard is, the main PCB (Printed Circuit Board) basically a flat fibreglass platform which hosts the CPU,
the main electronic components, device controller chips, main memory slots, slots for attaching the storage
devices and other subsystems.
46 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
System Clock
Nowadays, usually all PC systems have different system clocks. There is a particular frequency for each clock
to vibrate, which is measured in MHz (Megahertz). It is the smallest unit of time where the processing occurs as
the clock’s ‘tick’ and is at times termed as a cycle. Generically, the term ‘system clock’ is referred to the speed
of the memory bus functioning on the motherboard rather than a processor.
CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) is the technology for making semiconductors (integrated
circuits) like processors, chipset chips, DRAM, etc. A benefit using the CMOS is that it requires very less power
in comparison to various other semiconductor technologies. This benefit is the sole reason for CMOS being used
to minimize the amount of power required from the battery resulting in a long lasting life of the battery.
Bus is a set of lines which carries information about the data being transferred to and from in the memory. Data
along with memory addresses is carried on the bus because it controls the location in memory about the processed
data. The speed of the bus is controlled by system clock speed and main driver of bus performance. If the data
part of the bus is wider, the more information is transmitted simultaneously; it means it gives higher performance.
All computers use three types of basic buses, such as control bus, address bus and data bus (refer Figure).
Control Bus
Central Processing
Address Bus
Mouse, etc.
Data Bus
Expansion Slots
An expansion slot is located inside a computer on the motherboard or riser board that allows additional boards to
be connected to it. Below is a list of some of the expansion slots commonly found in IBM compatible computers
as well as other brands of computers. Also given is a graphic illustration of a motherboard and its expansion slots.
Expansion Cards
The card controller is placed on a motherboard inside a computer and is also
commonly termed as controller. It is a specific hardware which acts as an interface
between the motherboard and the other computer components, for example, hard
drives, optical drives, printers, keyboards and mouse. Most of the motherboard
chips have built-in controllers for essential components. Some controller cards
are installed in the PCI slot of computer. The three types of card controllers,
namely, video card, sound card and network card are discussed here.
I. Video Card: A video card is also termed as video adapter, graphics-
accelerator card, display adapter and graphics card. Basically, it is an expansion card and is utilized to create
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 47
output images for display on the output devices. A modern video card consists of
a printed circuit board on which the components are mounted.
II. Sound Card: A sound card is also called as an audio card and is used
as an expansion card in computer system to facilitate the input and output of
audio signals to and from a computer. It is uniquely used to provide the audio
components for multimedia applications, such as music composition, editing video
or audio presentation, education and entertainment (games). Some of the
computers have built-in audio/sound capability while some need additional
expansion cards for providing audio capability.
III. Network Card: A network card is also termed as network
adapter, network interface and NIC. It is an expansion card and is installed
on a computer system which physically connects the computer to a
Local Area Network (LAN). The most familiar type of network card
used is the Ethernet card. Other types of network cards include wireless
network cards and token ring network cards.
Power Supply
Power supply term refers to a source of electrical power device or system
which provides electrical energy to an output load. It is also called a Power
Supply Unit or PSU. The parameters of power supplies are completed by
incorporating electric circuits to strongly manage the output voltage and the
current up to a specific value. This type of current regulation is specified as
stabilized power supply. The computer system uses Switched Mode Power
Supply (SMPS) as shown in the Figure.
Modem is defined as a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and
also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information.
Modem is the short form of MOdulator/DEModulator. In simple terms, it is a communication device
that connects two computers or digital devices across a wired or wireless network. They are predominantly used
for connecting home computer users to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in order to access the Internet.
Modems are internal or external. An internal modem is installed inside the case of the computer, directly
attached to the motherboard. An external modem is connected to the computer through a serial or Universal
Serial Bus (USB) cable.
Peripheral Devices
The computer system is a dumb and a useless machine if it is not capable of communicating with the outside
world. It is very important for a computer system to have the ability to communicate with the outside world, i.e.,
receive and send data and information.
4.4 Input Devices
I. Basic Input Devices
Input devices are used to transfer user data and instructions to the computer. The basic input devices can be
classified into the following categories:
48 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
(i) Keyboard Devices
Keyboard devices allow input into the computer system by pressing a
set of keys mounted on a board, connected to the computer system.
Keyboard devices are typically classified as general-purpose keyboards
and special-purpose keyboards.
The most popular keyboard used today is the 101 key with a
traditional QWERTY layout, with an alphanumeric keypad, 12 function
keys, a variety of special function keys, numeric keypad, and dedicated
cursor control keys. It is so called because the arrangement of its
alphanumeric keys in the upper-left row.
(ii) Mouse
A mouse is a small input device used to move the cursor on a computer screen to give instructions
to the computer and to run programs and applications. It can be used to select menu commands,
move icons, size windows, start programs, close windows, etc.
II. Special Input Devices
The keyboard facilitates input of data in text form only. While working with display based packages, we usually
point to a display area and select an option from the screen (fundamentals of GUI applications). For such cases,
the sheer user-friendliness of input devices that can rapidly point to a particular option displayed on screen and
support its selection resulted in the advent of various point-and-draw devices.
(i) Touch Screen
A touch screen is probably one of the simplest and most intuitive of all input devices. It
uses optical sensors in or near the computer screen that can detect the touch of a finger
on the screen.
(ii) Touch Pads
A touch pad is a touch sensitive input device which takes user input to control the onscreen
pointer and perform other functions similar to that of a mouse. Touch pads are pressure
and touch sensitive. They use finger drag and tapping combinations to perform multiple
control operations.
(iii) Light Pen
The light pen is a small input device used to select and display objects on a screen. It
functions with a light sensor and has a lens on the tip of a pen shaped device.
(iv) Trackball
The trackball is a pointing device that is much like an inverted mouse. It consists of a ball
inset in a small external box or adjacent to and in the same unit, as the keyboard of some
portable computers.
(v) Joystick
The joystick is a vertical stick that moves the graphic cursor in the direction the stick is moved. It
consists of a spherical ball, which moves within a socket and has a stick mounted on it.
QWERTY Keyboard
Function Keys

Numeric Keypad
Cursor Movement Keys
Space Bar Enter Key

Shift Key
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 49
Video games, training simulators and control panels of robots are some common uses of a joystick.
(vi) Scanning Devices
Scanning devices are input devices used for direct data entry from the source document
into the computer system. With the help of the scanner you can capture your images
and documents and convert it into digital formats for easy storage on your computer.
There are two types of scanners, Contact and Laser. Both illuminate the image
first to calculate the reflected light and determine the value of the captured image.
Hand-held contact scanners make contact as they are brushed over the printed matter
to be read. Laser-based scanners are more versatile and can read data passed near the scanning area.
(vii) Optical Mark Recognition
The Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) devices can scan marks from a computer-readable
paper. Such devices are used by universities and institutes to mark test sheets where the
candidate selects and marks the correct answer from multiple choices given on a special
sheet of paper. These marksheets are not required to be evaluated manually as they are
fed in the OMR and the data is then transferred to the computer system for further evaluation.
(viii) Optical Character Recognition
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is used to translate the mechanical or electronic
images which are handwritten, typed or in printed form into machine-editable format. OCR
software is used to convert it into a text or word processor file for performing text modification. OCR is widely
used in pattern recognition, artificial intelligence and computer vision.
(ix) Magnetic Ink Character Recognition
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) is like an optical
mark recognition device and is used only in the banking industry.
MICR devices scan cheque numbers directly from the cheque
leaflets and then automatically feed them in the computer systems
for further use, doing the job quickly, accurately and efficiently.
Banks using MICR technology print cheque books on special
types of paper.
(x) Optical Bar Code Reader
Data coded in the form of small vertical lines forms the
basis of bar coding. Alphanumeric data is represented
using adjacent vertical lines called bar codes.
(xi) Digitizer
Digitizers are used to convert drawings or pictures and maps into a digital format for
storage into the computer. A digitizer consists of a digitizing or graphics tablet, which is
a pressure-sensitive tablet, and a pen with the same X and Y co-ordinates as on the
(xiii) Web Camera
A web camera is a video capturing device attached to the computer system, mostly using a USB port
used for video conferencing, video security, as a control input device and also in gaming.
Page 1 of 4
Answer Sheet

a 1.
Magnetic Ink Characters
50 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
(xiv) Glide Pad
Glide pad uses a touch sensitive pad for controlling cursor on the display screen. The user slides
finger across the pad and the cursor follows the finger movement. There are buttons to click or
tap on the pad with a finger. The glide pad is a popular alternate pointing device for laptops and
is built into the keyboard. The user can use either buttons or taps of the pad for right or left
clicking. The glide pad can be installed on notebook computers, POS terminals, specialized
keyboards, touchpad, mouse replacements, etc.
4.5 Output Devices
An output device is an electromechanical device that accepts data from the computer and translates it into a form
that can be understood by the outside world. The processed data, stored in the memory of the computer, is sent
to an output unit, which then transforms the internal representation of data into a form that can be read by the
Normally, the output is produced on a display unit like a computer monitor or can be printed through a
printer on paper. At times, speech outputs and mechanical outputs are also used for some specific applications.
I. Monitor or Visual Display Devices
It is almost impossible to even think of using a computer system without a display device. A display device is the
most essential peripheral of a computer system. Display screen technology may be of the following categories:
(i) Cathode Ray Tube: The Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) consists of an electron gun with an electron beam
controlled with electromagnetic fields and a phosphate-coated glass display screen structured into a grid of small
dots known as pixels. The image is created with the electron beam produced by the electron gun, which is thrown
on the phosphor coat displayed by the electromagnetic field.
(ii) Liquid Crystal Display: Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) was first introduced in the 1970s in digital
clocks and watches, and is now widely being used in computer display units. The CRT was replaced with the
Liquid LCD making it slimmer and more compact. But the image quality and the image color capability got
comparatively poorer.
The main advantage of LCD is its low energy consumption. It finds its most common usage in portable
devices where size and energy consumption are of main importance.
II. Printers
Printers are used for creating paper output. There is a huge range of commercially available printers today
(estimated to be 1500 different types). These printers can be classified into categories based on:
• Printing technology.
• Printing speed.
• Printing quality.
(i) Impact Printers
Impact printers are the oldest print technologies still in active production. Impact printers use forceful impact to
transfer ink to the media, similar to a typewriter. The three most common forms of impact printers are dot matrix,
daisy wheel and line printers.
Dot Matrix: Dot matrix printers are the most widely used impact
printers in personal computing. These printers use a print head
consisting of a series of small metal pins that strike on a paper
through an inked ribbon, leaving an impression on the paper through
the ink transferred.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 51
Daisy Wheel Printers: These printers have print heads composed of metallic
or plastic wheels cut into petals. Each petal has the form of a letter (in capital
and lower case), number or punctuation mark on it. When the petal is struck
against the printer ribbon, the resulting shape forces ink onto the paper. Daisy
wheel printers are loud and slow.
Line Printers: Line printers have a mechanism that allows multiple characters to be simultaneously printed on
the same line. Line printers, as the name implies, print an entire line of text at a time. Because of the nature of the
print mechanism, line printers are much faster than dot matrix or daisy wheel printers; however, they are quite
loud, have limited multi-font capability and often produce lower print quality.
(ii) Non-Impact Printers
Non-impact printers are much quieter than impact printers as their printing heads do not
strike the paper. It is a printer that prints without banging a ribbon onto paper. LED
(Light Emitting Diode), Laser, inkjet, solid ink, thermal wax transfer and dye sublimation
printers are examples of non-impact printers. Most non-impact printers produce dot
matrix patterns.
Inkjet: Inkjet printers are based on the use of a series of nozzles for propelling droplets of printing
ink directly on almost any size of paper. They, therefore, fall under the category of non-impact
Laser: Laser printers work on the same printing technology as photocopiers, using static electricity
and heat to print with a high quality powder substance known as toner.
Thermal Printer: A thermal printer or direct thermal printer produces a printed image by selectively heating
coated thermochromic paper or thermal paper, when the paper passes over the thermal print head. The coating
turns black in the areas where it is heated to produce an image. Two-color direct thermal printers can print both
black and an additional color (usually red), by using heat at two different temperatures.
Page Printer: Page printer prints a page at a time from four to more than 800 ppm. Laser, LED, solid ink
and electron beam imaging printers are examples of this category. All of these printers use toner or ink onto
a drum which is transferred to the entire page in one cycle for black and white and multiple cycles for color.
III. Plotters
Plotters are used to make line illustrations on paper. They are capable of producing charts, drawings, graphics,
maps and so on. A plotter is much like a printer but is designed to print graphs instead of alphanumeric characters.
Based on the technology used, there are mainly two types of plotters: pen plotters or electrostatic plotters.
(i) Flatbed Plotters
Flatbed plotters have a flat base like a drawing board on which the paper is laid. One or
more arms, each of them carrying an ink pen, moves across the paper to draw. The arm
movement is controlled by a microprocessor (chip). The arm can move in two directions,
one parallel to the plotter and the other perpendicular to it (called the X and Y directions).
With this kind of movement, it can move very precisely to any point on the paper placed
The advantage of flatbed plotters is that the user can easily control the graphics. He can manually pick up
the arm anytime during the production of graphics and place it on any position on the paper to alter the position of
graphics of his choice. The disadvantage here is that flatbed plotters occupy a large amount of space.

52 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
(ii) Drum Plotters
Drum plotters move the paper with the help of a drum revolver during printing. The arm
carrying a pen moves only in one direction, perpendicular to the direction of the motion of
the paper. It means that while printing, the plotter pens print on one axis of the paper and
the cylindrical drum moves the paper on the other axis.
Data processing can be defined as the process of converting raw data into suitable information using a series of
operations like classifying, sorting, summarizing and tabulating it for easy storage and retrieval. Processed data is
called information.
Data, especially large volumes of it, unless processed properly, are not of much use in the current information
driven world. Relevant information can give a definite edge to a business to stay ahead of its competition and plan
for the future. In fact, the speed at which information can be extracted from data (a process called data processing)
is just as crucial as the information itself. Information usually loses its value if it is not up-to-date. Automatic Data
Processing (ADP) applications are gaining wide popularity in the market to solve this very problem. They not only
save time but also reduce the cost of data processing. An ADP application, once configured is ideal for converting
similar structured data into specific sets of information using predefined rules of selection, processing and
presentation. Data processing can also include the conversion of one type of information into another for legacy
systems transfer.
Typically, a data processing cycle can be broadly divided into five stages:
• Data Collection
• Data Preparation
• Data Input
• Data Processing
• Information Output
The stages of data processing are discussed below:
• Data Collection: Data collection is a term used to describe a process of preparing and collecting data.
The purpose of data collection is to obtain information to keep on record, to make decisions about
important issues and to pass information onto others. A formal data collection process is necessary as
it ensures that data gathered are defined, accurate and valid.
• Data Preparation: Data preparation or data preprocessing means manipulation of data into a form
suitable for further analysis and processing. It is a process that involves many different tasks, which
cannot be fully automated. Many of the data preparation activities are routine, tedious and time consuming.
Data preparation includes the process of integration and transformation which collectively evaluates
the knowledge (report of data mining).
Process of Data Preparation
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 53
Data preparation is essential for successful data mining. Poor quality of data results in incorrect and
unreliable data mining results. Data preparation improves the quality of data which helps in improving the quality
of data mining results.
• Data Input: The term ‘data input’ is used to denote the changes which are inserted into a system to
activate or modify the process. It is issued in terms of input field, variable, parameter, value and file.
• Data Processing: The term ‘data processing’ refers to the computer program which is used to
summarize, analyse and convert data into usable information. The process can be automated to run on
a computer. Since, data are most useful when well presented and they are much more informative
therefore data processing systems are referred to as ‘information systems’.
• Information Output: In information processing, the term ‘output’ is the process of transmitting
information. Output can be in the form of printed paper, audio, video, etc. Data is entered through
various forms (input) into a computer and after processing, the information is presented in a human
readable form (output).
Just as there are different types of data (classified either by usage, attributes or content), there are different
methods of processing them. These are as follows:
• Real Time Data Processing: In this mode, data is processed almost immediately (in real time) and in
a continuous flow. This is of particular advantage when the lifespan of information is small and core
business activities are involved. The advantages of real time processing are that the derived information
is up-to-date and so it is more relevant for decision making. For instance, in a bank or in an ATM
(Automated Teller Machine), as soon as you deposit money in your account, your account status
(balance standing to your credit) is updated instantaneously. This enables you as well as the bank to
know the exact status of funds, in real time mode, or in other words, as of this minute. Similarly, in a
railway reservation system, a train ticket booked from anywhere in the world must update the central
database in real time to ensure that the seat once booked is not sold to anybody else in the world. Real
time processing also requires relatively little storage as compared to batch processing.
• Batch Data Processing: Real time processing requires high speed broadband connections so that the
data inputted from different computers or locations can be used to update a centralized server and
database. Setting up such networks is expensive and not always feasible because sometimes the data
does not need to be processed immediately. For instance, in a BPO (Business Processing Outsourcing)
outfit, hundreds of operators may be inputting data, which can be made available to the client only after
it is checked and verified by a supervisor(s). Such situations call for batch mode processing, which is
used when the conversion of data into information is not required to be done immediately and therefore
this data processing is done in lots or batches. The advantages of batch processing are that it is cheaper
and processing can be done offline.
It should be noted that data processing and data conversion are technically quite different whereas, data
conversion only means converting data from one form to another, data processing means conversion of data into
information or sometimes vice versa.
As we know that file is a group of records, now the need arises to arrange these records in a file in any order,
either ascending or descending order. To arrange these records in any specific order in a file is called sorting.
Sequencing is based on some key of the record that could be numeric like enrolment number of a student or
alphabetic like names of the students following ASCII sequence. The simplest case is sorting the records using
one field of the record as the primary key, so that the key must be unique, i.e., no two students can have same
enrolment number, hence a file of student records in a university may be sequenced by ascending order of
student enrollment number.
54 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
By introducing a further key in the sorting process, a more complex order may be produced, for example,
suppose each record of the student file also contains a field for the course code in which course the student is
enrolled. Now the order of sorting may be student enrolment number within course. This means that all the
records for one course code are presented first, each one in ascending sequence of enrolment number; then all
the records for the next course code are presented in sequence, and so on. In this example, two keys have been
used in the sorting process—course code is called primary key student enrolment number is known as the
secondary key.
Since sorting is a very common data-processing requirement, manufacturers provide sort utility software
which enables users to specify their particular sequencing requirements by means of simple parameters. Software
is usually available for sorting files held on all types of storage devices. The user specifies the sort keys and also
the details about the type of file, such as storage device, file labels, record structure. The sort utility program read
the un-sequenced input file, and by means of various copying techniques ultimately produces as output a copy of
the input file in the required sequence.
An Unsorted Table
Enrolment_No Name
1001 Ankit
1005 Sahil
1003 Cimone
1004 Dolly
1002 Ankita
A Sorted Table
Enrolment_No Name
1001 Ankit
1002 Ankita
1003 Cimone
1004 Dolly
1005 Sahil
Note: Enrolment_No is the primary key on which sorting is done.
Let us take an example to understand the concept of merging two files. Let there be one file by the name File1
and the other file be named as File2. Both the files have student records of Class VII, say, arranged in increasing
order of enrolment number.
File1 is a file maintaining the records of the students participating in sports competition and File2 maintains
the records of students of the same class but participating in music competition. Both the files have records
arranged in ascending order of enrolment number.
Now, Class_7_file must consist of all the records of all the students studying in that class, in spite of what
hobby class they choose. Merging the above said two files File1 and File2 could create this file and as mentioned
above, the two files to be merged must be sorted in the same specific order before we could merge them. Now,
File1 (students of 7th participating in sports) and File2 (students of 7th participating in music), are merged and we
will get the file named Class_7_file consisting of all the names of the students who are studying in that class.
File 1 Students Participating in Sports
Enrolment_No Name Activity
1001 Ankit Music
1003 Cimone Sports
1004 Dolly Sports
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 55
File 2 Students Participating in Music
Enrolment_No Name Activity
1002 Ankita Music
1005 Sahil Sports
1006 Deepa Music
Now if you could observe that after the enrolment number 1001, the next key 1002 is present in File2,
hence merging the two files will order the records. That means both the files that are opened to read and record
is read one by one and the keys are compared, whichever is less in order value is being written into a new file, i.e.,
in this case Class_7_file. In this way when EOF is reached for both the files the result file Class_7_file is
consisting of all records for all the students of that class. In case EOF for any one file reaches first then the left
over records in second file are written to the result file.
Here we have a computerized list of all students records for class 7th.
To summarize, it may be said that merging of files involves the combining of records from two or more ordered
files into a single ordered file. Each of the constituent files must be in the same order. The output file will be in the
same order as the input files, placing records from each in their correct relative order as explained earlier.
6.1 Introduction to Data
Data comprises raw facts and/or figures from which meaningful conclusions can be easily drawn. When the data
is recorded, classified, organized and related or interpreted within a framework, it provides meaningful information.
Information can be defined as ‘data that has been transformed into a meaningful and useful form for specific
purposes’. Data is represented by the letters of the alphabets or numerals, while the information may be represented
in the form of tables, graphs, charts, etc.
Classification of Data
For data management purposes, data is broadly classified into two categories: (i) Structured and (ii) Unstructured
Structured Data
Structured data or structured information is the data stored in fixed fields within a file or a record. This form of
data representation is also known as ‘Tabular Data’, where data sets are organized in the form of a table.
Structured data is managed by techniques that work on query and reporting against programmed data types and
clear relationships. Databases and spreadsheets are examples of structured data.
Unstructured Data
People use and create unstructured data everyday, although they may not be aware, a word processed letter or
e-mail, in fact any document and images, such as those captured by a digital camera are all examples of ‘Unstructured
Data’. Unstructured data primarily consists of ‘Textual Data’ and ‘Image Data’. Textual data being any string of
text, this could be a whole book or simply a short note. Images are digital pictures, such as photographs and maps.
6.2 Organization of Data
Data can be organized in variety of formats. In all, the hierarchical organization of data is widely accepted. In
order to understand the organization of data, you need to be acquainted with the following terms:
56 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Data Item
A data item is the smallest unit of information, which is stored in the related field in a file. For example, E-101,
‘Morris’, 5000.00 are the data items stored under the fields Employee ID, Employee Name, Employee Salary of
an employee data file. These items are created using characters, numerals and special characters.
Data Field
Data items are stored in data fields for easy retrieval. Fields may be of a fixed length or variable lengths. Fields
can be defined as numeric type fields for storing numeric values, such as 5000.00 (Employee Salary); alphabetic
type fields for storing literals, such as ‘Morris’ (Employee Name); and alphanumeric type fields for storing
alphanumeric values, such as E-101 (Employee ID).
Related fields are grouped together to form a record. So, a record is a collection of fields. Each record corresponds
to specific unit of information.
Files and Databases
Related records are grouped together to form a file. So, a file is a collection of records. Files are usually stored on
storage media, such as floppy disks, magnetic tapes or hard disks.
Related files are grouped together to form a database. So, the collection of related files is called database.
A database provides a convenient environment to store and retrieve information. Traditional databases follow a
hierarchical model. Other popular database models are network model, relational model and Object Oriented
(OO) model.
6.3 Sequential Access
Often, it is required to process the records of a file in the sorted order based on the value of one of its fields. If the
records of the file are not physically placed in the required order, it takes time to fulfil this request. However, if the
records of that file are placed in the sorted order based on that field, we would be able to efficiently fulfil this
request. A file organization in which records are sorted based on the value of one of its fields is called sequential
file organization and such a file is called a sequential file. In a sequential file, the field on which the records are
sorted is called the ordered field. This field may or may not be the key field. In case the file is ordered on the
basis of the key, then the field is called the ordering key.
Note: A sequential file does not make any improvement in processing the records in random order.
A operation like searching records is more efficient in a sequential file if the search condition is specified
on the ordering field because binary search is applicable instead of linear search. Moreover, retrieval of records
with the range condition specified on the ordering field is also very efficient. In this operation, all the records,
starting with the first record satisfying the range selection condition till the first record that does not satisfy the
condition, are retrieved. However, handling the deletion and insertion operations are complicated. Deletion of a
record leaves a blank space between the two records. This situation can be handled by using a deletion marker.
When a new record is to be inserted in a sequential file, there are two possibilities. First, the record needs to be
inserted at its actual position in the file. Obviously, it requires locating the first record that has to come after the
new record and making space for the new record. Making space for a record may require shifting a large number
of records and this is very costly in terms of disk access. Secondly, we can insert that record in an overflow area
allocated to the file instead of its correct position in the original file. Note that the records in the overflow area are
unordered. Periodically, the records in the overflow area are sorted and merged with the records in the original
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 57
The second approach of insertion makes the insertion process efficient; however, it may affect the search
operation. This is because the required record needs to be searched in the overflow area using linear search if it
is not found in the original file using binary search.
6.4 Random Access
Unlike sequential file, records in this file organization are not stored sequentially. Instead, each record is mapped
to an address on the disk on the basis of its key value. One such technique for the mapping of a record to an
address is called hashing. Hashing consists of two parts, i.e., a hash function and a collision resolution
When a record is to be inserted in a random file, a hash function is applied on the key value of the record
that gives the page address where the record is to be placed. If a record is mapped to page, which is already full,
then another page address is computed for the record using the collision resolution technique.
Since each record is placed at the page indicated by the hash function, searching for a record is simple.
The same hash function is applied on the key value of the record to be searched which gives the address of the
page where the desired record may be found. Then, all the records of that page are examined to locate the
desired record. If the desired record is not found in that page, the address of another page is computed according
to the method employed in the collision resolution technique.
6.5 Indexed Sequential Access
In an indexed sequential organization, the records are stored in physical sequence according to the primary key.
The file management system builds an index separate from the data records and contains key values together
with pointers to the data records themselves. This index permits individual records to be accessed at random
without accessing other records. The entire file can also be accessed sequentially.
This type of file consists of three main parts, namely the file index, the prime or home area and the
overflow area. The prime area is where the data records are loaded in sequential order when the file is first
created. The overflow area is where additions to the file that cannot be accommodated in the prime area are
stored. The index area holds the set of ‘pointers’ to enable individual records to be located. A set of index contains
the relevant record keys and corresponding record addresses. Access and retrieval of a specific record is affected
through the use of the index. The overflow area is linked to the rest of the file through a system of pointers
maintained in the index. There are two basic implementations of the indexed sequential organization.
• Hardware dependent—the access method that supports this organization is called Indexed Sequential
Access Method (ISAM).
• Hardware independent—the access method that supports hardware independent organization is Virtual
Sequential Access Method (VSAM).
7.1 Introduction to Programming
A program is a set of instructions that a computer can interpret and execute; sometimes the instruction it has to
perform depends on what happened when it performed a previous instruction. The programming concept is
purely based on Input Processing Output (IPO) chart as shown in the Figure.
Input Processing Output Chart
58 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
Figure 3.2 shows three inputted values assigned for three variables, such as Number1, Number2 and
Number3. In processing part, three numbers are read and then will be added together to print the total
value. The total variable is taken as the result. This problem can be solved by the following algorithm:
Read Number1, Number2, Number3
Total = Number1 + Number2 + Number3
Print Total
Interpreters: With an interpreter, the language comes as an environment, where you type in commands
at a prompt and the environment executes them for you. For more complicated programs, you can type the
commands into a file and get the interpreter to load the file and execute the commands in it. If anything goes
wrong, many interpreters will drop you into a debugger to help you track down the problem.
Compilers: First of all, you write your code in a file (or files) using an editor. You then run the compiler
and see if it accepts your program. If it did not compile, go back to the editor; if it did compile and gave you a
program, you can run it either at a shell command prompt or in a debugger to see if it works properly. In fact,
distributing a program written for a compiler is usually more straightforward than one written for an interpreter—
you can just give them a copy of the executable, assuming they have the same operating system as you. Compiled
languages include Pascal, C and C++. C and C++ languages are best suited to more experienced programmers.
Pascal, on the other hand, was designed as an educational language and is quite a good language to start with.
Characteristics of a Good Program
The characteristics of a good program are as follows:
Minimal Complexity: The main goal in any program should be to minimize complexity. As a developer,
most of your time; you will be maintaining or upgrading existing code.
Ease of Maintenance: This is making your code easy to update. Find where your code is most likely
going to change and make it easy to update.
Loose Coupling: It takes place when one portion of code is not dependant on another to run properly. It
is bundling code that does not rely on any outside code.
Extensibility and Reusability: This means that you design your program so that you can add or remove
elements from your program without disturbing the underlying structure of the program.
Portability: Design a system that can be moved to another environment to work on different platforms.
Leanness: Leanness means making the design with no extra parts. Everything that is within the design
has to be in the programming part.
Stages of Program Development
The processes involved in developing the program development are as follows:
Domain Analysis: Often the first step in attempting to design a new piece of software, whether it can be
an addition to existing software, a new application, a new subsystem or a whole new system is what can be
generally referred to as domain analysis.
Software Elements Analysis: The most important task in creating a software product is extracting the
requirements. Customers typically have an abstract idea of what they want as an end result, but not what
software should do. Incomplete, ambiguous or even contradictory requirements are recognized by skilled and
experienced software engineers at this point.
Requirements Analysis: Once the general requirements are gleaned from the client, an analysis of the
scope of the development should be determined and clearly stated. This is often called a scope document.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 59
Certain functionality may be out of scope of the project as a function of cost or as a result of unclear requirements
at the start of development.
Specification: Specification is the task of precisely describing the software to be written, possibly in a
rigorous way. In practice, most successful specifications are written to understand and fine-tune applications that
were already well developed, although safety-critical software systems are often carefully specified prior to
application development. Specifications are most important for external interfaces that must remain stable.
Software Architecture: The architecture of a software system refers to an abstract representation of
that system. Architecture is concerned with making sure the software system will meet the requirements of the
product, as well as ensuring that future requirements can be addressed.
Implementation: This is the part of the process where software engineers actually program the code for
the project.
Testing: Testing software is an integral and important part of the software development process. This
part of the process ensures that bugs are recognized as early as possible.
Deployment: After the code is appropriately tested, it is approved for release and sold or otherwise
distributed into a production environment.
Documentation: Documenting the internal design of software for the purpose of future maintenance and
enhancement is done throughout development.
Software Training and Support: A large percentage of software projects fail because the developers fail
to realize that it does not matter how much time and planning a development team puts into creating software if
nobody in an organization ends up using it.
Maintenance: Maintaining and enhancing software to cope with newly discovered problems or new
requirements can take far more time than the initial development of the software. It may be necessary to add
code that does not fit the original design to correct an unforeseen problem or it may be that a customer is
requesting more functionality and code can be added to accommodate their requests.
7.2 Algorithms
According to Niklaus Wirth, a computer scientist, Programs consist of algorithms and data, i.e.,
Programs = Algorithms + Data
An algorithm is an important component of the blueprint or plan for a computer program. In other words,
an algorithm may be defined as ‘an effective procedure to solve a problem in a finite number of steps’. It means
that an answer has been found and it involves a finite number of steps. A well-framed algorithm always provides
an answer. It is not necessary that the answer will be the one you want. However, there must be some answer.
Maybe you get the answer that there is no answer. A well-designed algorithm is also guaranteed to terminate.
The term ‘algorithm’ is derived from the name of Al-Khwarizmi, a Persian mathematician. It may be
defined as a finite set of well defined instructions to accomplish some task, which, given an initial state, will
terminate in a corresponding recognizable end-state.
Algorithms can be implemented by computer programs although often in restricted forms; an error in the
design of an algorithm for solving a problem can lead to failures in implementing a program.
Thus, an algorithm is a step-by-step problem solving procedure, especially an established, recursive
computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps.
Characteristics of an Algorithm
As already mentioned, an algorithm is a finite set of instructions that accomplishes a particular task. An algorithm
must satisfy the following criteria:
• Input: Zero or more items to be given as input.
• Output: At least one item is produced as output.
60 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
• Definiteness: The instructions, which are used in algorithm, should be clear and unambiguous.
• Finiteness: The algorithm should terminate after a finite number of steps.
• Effectiveness: Each and every instruction should be simple and very basic.
7.3 Flow Charts
Flow chart is a symbolic representation of an algorithm or process representing the data in boxes connected with
arrows in the direction of flow of data. This flow chart is basically used by system analysts through which they go
through to design the successful system implementation.
The features of system flowcharts are as follows:
• The sources from which data is generated and device used for this purpose.
• Various processing steps are involved.
• The intermediate and final output prepared and the devices used for their storage.
Flow chart provides an easy and effective approach for preparing a document and analysing the flow of data and
control in a system. It helps verify and validate the developed program for appropriate debugging. Table below
lists the symbols that you can use for creating a system flow chart.
Table Flow Chart Symbols and their Use

Symbol Name Description

Start or End Specifies the start and end points
of a flow chart

Arrows Connects different flow chart

Process Specifies the condition to be

Input or Output Specifies the input or the output of
the process

Decision Specifies whether or not the
specified condition is true

Off-page Connector Helps connect the flow chart
drawn on different pages

Stored Data Specifies the name of the file
stored on the disk

Connector Connects two parts of a program
7.4 Coding
A program always has two sets of code, source code and object code. Source code is what is created beforehand,
the language that the programmer uses to give instructions to the computer’s compiler in order to make the
program run. The result of the compiler having compiling these source code instructions is called object code.
The terms are intuitive, in that source code is the means to the end that is object code. In other words, the source
code is the beginning, or source, of the operation and the object code is the desired result, or object, of the whole
exercise. Object code is stored in files that are created by the computer’s compiler and can then become the
ultimate end intended by the programmer. Once source code has been compiled into files, it can then continue on
to the computer’s processor, which executes the final instructions. Commonly available software applications are
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 61
huge collections of object code, which cannot be altered fundamentally since the source code is not included. It is
like having the solution to the problem but not all the steps used to solve that problem.
7.5 Debugging and Testing
In computers, debugging is the process of locating and fixing or bypassing bugs (errors) in computer program
code or the engineering of a hardware device. To debug a program or hardware device is to start with a problem,
isolate the source of the problem and then fix it. A user of a program that does not know how to fix the problem
may learn enough about the problem to be able to avoid it until it is permanently fixed. Debugging the programs
means implying and fixing the bugs. Debugging is a necessary process in almost any new software or hardware
development process, whether a commercial product or an enterprise or personal application program. Debugging
tools known as debuggers help to identify the coding errors at various development stages. Some programming
language packages include a facility for checking the code for errors as it is being written. While there are many
types of debugging tools, a simple example is a tool that allows the programmer to monitor program code while
manipulating it to execute various commands and routines.
Testing is the precursor to debugging. It is commonly the forte of programmers and advanced users, and
occurs when a product is new or is being updated and needs to be put through its paces to eliminate potential
problems. Testing identifies bugs or imperfections so that they can be corrected in the debugging process.
7.6 Structural Programming
Structured analysis is a top-down approach, which focuses on refining the problem with the help of functions
performed in the problem domain and data produced by these functions. This approach facilitates the software
engineer to determine the information received during analysis and to organize the information in order to avoid
the complexity of the problem. The purpose of structured analysis is to provide a graphical representation to
develop new software or enhance the existing software. Generally, structured analysis is represented using a
data-flow diagram.
Data-Flow Diagram (DFD)
IEEE defines a data-flow diagram (also known as bubble chart and work flow diagram) as, ‘a diagram that
depicts data sources, data sinks, data storage and processes performed on data as nodes and logical flow
of data as links between the nodes.’ DFD allows the software development team to depict flow of data from
one process to another. In addition, DFD accomplishes the following objectives.
• It represents system data in a hierarchical manner and with required levels of detail.
• It depicts processes according to defined user requirements and software scope.
A DFD depicts the flow of data within a system and considers a system as a transformation function that
transforms the given inputs into desired outputs. When there is complexity in a system, data needs to be transformed
using various steps to produce an output. These steps are required to refine the information. The objective of
DFD is to provide an overview of the transformations that occur in the input data within the system in order to
produce an output.
A DFD should not be confused with a flowchart. A DFD represents the flow of data whereas a flowchart
depicts the flow of control. Also, a DFD does not depict the information about the procedure to be used for
accomplishing the task. Hence, while making a DFD, procedural details about the processes should not be
shown. DFD helps the software designer to describe the transformations taking place in the path of data from
input to output
A DFD consists of four basic notations (symbols), which help to depict information in a system. These
notations are listed in Table.
62 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
DFD Notations
Name Notation Description
External entity Represents the source or destination of data within the
system. Each external entity is identified with a
meaningful and unique name.
Data flow Represents the movement of data from its source to
destination within the system.
Data store Indicates the place for storing information within the
Process Shows a transformation or manipulation of data within
the system. A process is also known as bubble.
While creating a DFD, certain guidelines are followed to depict the data-flow of system requirements
effectively. These guidelines help to create DFD in an understandable manner. The commonly followed guidelines
for creating DFD are listed below.
• DFD notations should be given meaningful names. For example, verbs should be used for naming a process
whereas nouns should be used for naming external entity, data store, and data-flow.
• Abbreviations should be avoided in DFD notations.
• Each process should be numbered uniquely but the numbering should be consistent.
• A DFD should be created in an organized manner so that it is easily understood.
• Unnecessary notations should be avoided in DFD in order to avoid complexity.
• A DFD should be logically consistent. For this, processes without any input or output and any input without
output should be avoided.
• There should be no loops in a DFD.
• A DFD should be refined until each process performs a simple function so that it can be easily represented
as a program component.
• A DFD should be organized in a series of levels so that each level provides more detail than the previous
• The name of a process should be carried to the next level of DFD.
• The data store should be depicted at the context level where it first describes an interface between two or
more processes. Then, the data store should be depicted again in the next level of DFD that describes the
related processes.
8.1 Classification of Networks: LAN, MAN, WAN
Computers are connected by many different technologies. An interconnection between more than one computer,
over a virtual and shared connection, in a client-to-server or peer-to-peer manner is called a network. That is to
say, so that the flow of information is accommodated, computer resources are connected using networks. This is
just the opposite of the old terminal-to-host hardwired connection. Although a network can support terminal-to-
host connections through terminal emulators or a terminal server, it offers a lot more flexibility in switching
connections. The disadvantage of this explosion in terms of sharing information arises when one computer wishes
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 63
to share its information system with another which has different network protocols and different network technology.
As a result, even if you could agree on a type of network technology to physically interconnect the two computers
at different locations, your applications still would not be able to communicate with each other because of the
different protocols.
A very basic question arises about the requirement of networks. This may be justified with the help of the
following points:
• Sharing of resources can be easily done.
• Reliability—There is no central computer, so if one breaks down you can use others.
• Networks allow you to be mobile.
The term networking applies to:
• The exchange of information among institutions, groups or individuals.
• The process of data communications or electronic voice.
Communication networks are broadly categorized into three categories as follows:
Local Area Network
The Local Area Network (LAN) technology connects machines and people within a site. LAN is a network that
is restricted to a relatively small area as shown in Figure. LANs can be defined as privately-owned networks
offering reliable high speed communication channels that are optimized to connect information processing equipment
in a small and restricted geographical area, namely, an office, a building, a complex of buildings, a school or a
A LAN is a form of local (limited-distance), shared packet network for computer communications. LANs
interconnect peripherals and computers over a common medium so that users are able to share access to peripherals,
files, databases, applications and host computers. They can also provide a connection to other networks either
through a computer, which is attached to both networks, or through a dedicated device called a gateway.
Local Area Network (LAN)
The components used by LANs can be categorized into hardware, cabling protocols and standards.
Various LAN protocols are Ethernet, Token Ring: Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), NetBIOS and NetBeui,
TCP/IP, Fibre Distributed Data Interchange (FDDI), SMB and IPX/SPX.
Metropolitan Area Network
Such large geographic areas as districts, towns and cities are covered by a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN).
By linking or interconnecting smaller networks within a large geographic area, information is conveniently distributed
throughout the network. Local libraries and government agencies often use a MAN to establish a link with private
industries and citizens. It may also connect MANs together within a larger area than a LAN. The geographical
limit of a MAN may span a city. Figure depicts how a MAN may be available within a city.
64 Computer Organization and Operating Systems

Ethernet Ring Network



Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
In a MAN, different LANs are connected through a local telephone exchange. Some of the widely used
protocols for MAN are ATM RS-232, OC-3 lines X.25, Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), Frame
Relay, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and (155 Mbps), etc. These protocols are quite different
from those used for LANs.
Wide Area Network
This technology connects sites that are in diverse locations. Wide Area Networks (WANs) connect such large
geographic areas, as the world, India or New Delhi. There is no geographical limit of WAN. This kind of network
can be connected by using satellite uplinks or dedicated transoceanic. Hence, a WAN may be defined as a data
communications network covering a relatively broad geographical area to connect LANs together between
different cities with the help of transmission facilities provided by common carriers, such as telephone companies.
WAN technologies operate at the lower three layers of the OSI reference model. These are the physical data link
and network layers.
Figure explains the WAN, which connects many LAN together. It also uses switching technology provided
by local exchange and long distance carrier.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
Packet switching technologies, such as Frame Relay, SMDS, ATM and X.25 are used to implement WAN
along with statistical multiplexing to allow devices to use and share these circuits.
8.2 Satellite Communication
Satellite radio, quite simply, is a non-terrestrial microwave transmission system utilizing a space relay station.
Satellites have proved invaluable in extending the reach of video communications, data and voice, around the
globe and into the most remote regions of the world. Exotic applications such as the Global Positioning System
(GPS) would have been unthinkable without the benefit of satellites.
Contemporary satellite communications systems involve a satellite relay station that is launched into a
geostatic, geosynchronous or geostationary. Such satellites are called geostationary satellites. Such an orbit is
approximately 36,000 km above the equator as depicted in Figure. At that altitude, and in an equatorial orbital slot,
the satellite revolves around the Earth with the same speed as that of the speed of revolution of the Earth and
maintains its relative position over the same spot of the Earth’s surface. Consequently, transmit and receive Earth
stations can be pointed reliably at the satellite for communication purposes.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 65
Satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit
The popularity of satellite communication has placed great demands on the international regulators to
manage and allocate available frequencies, as well as the limited number of orbital slots available for satellite
positioning are managed at national, regional and international levels. Generally speaking, geostationary satellites
are positioned approximately 2º apart in order to minimize interference from adjacent satellites using overlapping
Such high-frequency signals are especially susceptible to attenuation in the atmosphere. Therefore, in case
of satellite communication, two different frequencies are used as carrier frequencies to avoid interference between
incoming and outgoing signals. These are:
Uplink Frequency: It is the frequency used to transmit signals from an Earth station to a satellite.
Table 1.1 shows that the higher of the two frequencies is used for the uplink. The uplink signal can be
made stronger to cope better with atmospheric distortion. The antenna at the transmitting side is
centered in a concave, reflective dish that serves to focus the radio beam, with maximum effect, on the
receiving satellite antenna. The receiving antenna, similarly, is centred in a concave metal dish, which
serves to collect the maximum amount of incoming signals.
Downlink Frequency: It is the frequency used to transmit the signal from satellite to Earth station. In
other words, the downlink transmission is focussed on a particular footprint, or area of coverage. The
lower frequency, used for the downlink, can better penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and electromagnetic
field, which can act to bend the incoming signal much as light bends when entering a pool of water.
8.3 The Internet
The Internet, World Wide Web and Information Super Highway are terms which are used by millions of people all
over the world. The widespread impact of Internet across the globe could not be possible without the development
of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). This protocol suite is developed specifically for the
Internet. The Information Technology revolution could not have been achieved without this boundless chain of
networks. It has become a fundamental part of the lives of millions of people all over the world. All the aforesaid
services provide us the necessary backbone for information sharing in organizations and within common interest
During late 1960s and 70s, organizations were inundated with many different LAN and WAN technologies,
such as packet switching technology, collision-detection local area networks, hierarchical enterprise networks,
and many others. The major drawbacks of all these technologies were that they could not communicate with
each other without expensive deployment of communications devices. Consequently, multiple networking models
were available as a result of the research and development efforts made by many interest groups. This paved the
66 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
way for development of another aspect of networking known as protocol layering. This allows applications to
communicate with each other at high speed and comparatively at low cost.
Typically, the word Internet is a short form of a complete word Internetwork or interconnected network.
Therefore, it can be said that the Internet is not a single network, but a collection of networks. The Internet is
known as ‘the Network of Networks’. It is like a phone system that connects almost anywhere around the world.
It exchanges information and acts as a global link between small regional networks. Internet services offer a
gateway to a myriad of online databases, library catalogues and collections, and software and document archives,
in addition to frequently used store-and-forward services, such as UserNet News and e-mail the commonality
between them in order to communicate with each other is TCP/IP. The Internet consists of the following groups
of networks:
• Backbones: These are large networks that exist primarily to interconnect other networks. Some examples
of backbones are NSFNET in the USA, EBONE in Europe and large commercial backbones.
• Regional networks: These connect, for example, universities and colleges. ERNET (Education and
Research Network) is an example in the Indian context.
• Commercial networks: They provide access to the backbones to subscribers, and networks owned by
commercial organizations for internal use and also have connections to the Internet. Mainly, Internet
Service Providers come into this category.
• Local networks: These are campus-wide university networks.
The networks connect users to the Internet using special devices that are called gateways or routers.
These devices provide connection and protocol conversion of dissimilar networks to the Internet. Gateways or
routers are responsible for routing data around the global network until they reach their ultimate destination as
shown in Figure. The delivery of data to its final destination takes place based on some routing table maintained
by router or gateways. These are mentioned at various places in this book as these are the fundamental devices
to connect similar or dissimilar networks together.
Over time, TCP/IP defined several protocol sets for the exchange of routing information. Each set pertains
to a different historic phase in the evolution of architecture of the Internet backbone.
10 Mbps
10 Mbps
Local Area Networks Connected to the Internet via Gateways or Routers
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 67
9.1 Introduction to Operating System
An Operating System (OS) is the primary control program for managing all other programs in a computer. The
other programs, commonly referred to as ‘application programs’, use the services provided by the OS through a
well-defined Application Program Interface (API). Every computer necessarily requires some type of operating
system that tells the computer how to operate and utilize other programs installed in the computer.
Below is an abstract view showing these components of the computer system.

. . . . . . . . . .



MS Word

Application Programs

User-2 User-N User-1
9.2 Types of Operating System
The operating systems are classified on the basis of their functions:
(a) Multitasking or Multiprogramming: This type of OS permits multiple programs to be run simultaneously
by the same computer. A user of the computer can simultaneously play games while a Word document is being
printed, i.e., the user is simultaneously working with two different applications–Word and Games. Operating
systems supporting multitasking include UNIX and the Windows range.
(b) Multithreading: Multithreading is a form of multitasking that permits multiple parts of a software program
to be run simultaneously; for example, a user can perform a spell check on a Word document and simultaneously
print another Word document. User is working with two different components, one is Word Spell Check and
another is printing of the same application, Word. Operating systems supporting multitasking include UNIX,
Windows, etc.
(c) Multiprocessing: Multiprocessing involves the use of multiple processors (more than one CPU) to
simultaneously execute multiple programs. The inclusion of multiple CPUs in a single computer system improves
the performance to a large extent. Multiprocessing involves simultaneous processing by a computer system
having multiple CPUs, whereas multitasking involves simultaneous processing by a computer system with single
CPU. Operating systems supporting multiprocessing include UNIX, Windows NT, etc.
(d) Single User: This type of OS does not permit multiple users to use the computer and run programs at the
same time. This assumes that at any given time only one user uses the system and runs only one program, i.e., it
does not allow two users to concurrently work on the same program, e.g., MS DOS.
(e) Multiuser: This type of OS permits multiple users to use the computer and run programs at the same time,
e.g., UNIX, Linux, Windows NT.
(f) Parallel System: A parallel system is the outcome of the thoughts concerned about the limits on the ultimate
speed of computation achievable using the propagation speed of electronic signals. As we know, the speed of
electronic signals is 10 × 10
centimetre per second, and hence there is a limit on the physical size of the CPU
chip when operated at speeds above 1 GHz ( 10
cycles per second). This led to the development of parallel
processing systems with multiple CPUs/ computers.
(g) Distributed System: A distributed system composed of large numbers of computers connected by an high-
speed networks. The computers in the distributed system are independent, but they appear to the users as a large
single system. In distributed systems, users can work from any of the independent computers as terminals. The
applications or programs run on any of the computers distributed even geographically distant places, and possibly
68 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
on the computer (intelligent terminal) from which the user entered command to run the program. A distributed
system will have only a single file system, with all files of a user accessible (as dictated by the permissions
associated with each file) from any computers of the system with the same access permissions and using the
same path name.
(h) Real Time System: A real time operating system is the one which responds to real time events or inputs
within a specified time limit. The importance of real time systems has increased especially in today’s advanced
usage of embedded applications. Real time systems include satellite control systems, process control systems,
control of robots, air-traffic control systems and autonomous land rover control systems. A real time system must
work with a guaranteed response time depending up on the task; otherwise, the application might fail. In a real
time operating system, some of the tasks are real time, and the others are ordinary computing tasks. Real time
tasks are classified as hard and soft. A hard real time task must meet its deadline to avoid undesirable damage
to the system and other catastrophic events. A soft real time task also has deadline, but failures to meet it will not
cause a catastrophe or great losses.
(a) UNIX
UNIX is an operating system originally developed in 1969 by the employees of AT&T. The most significant stage
in the early development of UNIX was in 1973 when it was rewritten in the C programming language (also an
AT&T development). This was significant because C is a high level programming language, meaning it is written
in a form that is closer to human language than machine code. The philosophy among the IT community at the
time dictated that since operating systems dealt primarily with low level and basic computer instructions, they
should be written in low level languages that were hardware specific, such as assembly language. The advantages
that developing in C gave UNIX were portability, the need to make very little changes for the operating system to
run on other computing platforms. This portability made UNIX widely used among the IT community which
consisted predominantly of higher education institutions, government agencies and the IT and telecommunication
Currently the main use of UNIX systems is for Internet or network servers. Commercial organizations
also use UNIX for workstations and data servers. UNIX has been used as a base for other operating systems;
for example, Mac OS X is based on a UNIX kernel. An operating system that conforms to industry standards of
specifications can be called a UNIX system. Operating systems that are modelled on UNIX but do not conform
strictly to these standards by design are known as UNIX-like systems. Initially UNIX systems used Command
Line Interface (CLI) for user interaction but now many distributions come with a Graphical User Interface
Linux is a UNIX-like operating system originally developed by Linus Torvalds, a student of University of Helsinki.
Since the complete source code for Linux is open and available to everyone, it is referred to as Open Source. The
user has the freedom to copy and change the program or distribute it between friends and colleagues.
Technically, Linux is strictly an OS kernel. The kernel is the core of an operating system. The first Linux
kernel was released to the public in 1991. It had no networking, ran on limited PC hardware and had little device
driver support. Later versions of Linux come with a collection of software including GUI, server programs,
networking suites and other utilities to make it a more complete OS. Typically an organization will integrate
software with the Linux kernel and release what is called a Linux Distribution. Examples of popular Linux
Distributions are Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE. These organizations are commercial ventures, selling their distributions
and developing software for profit.
Linux is primarily used as an OS for network and Internet servers. Lately it has gained popularity as a
desktop OS for general use since the wider inclusion of GUIs and office suite software in distributions.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 69
(c) Mac OS
Mac OS is the operating system designed for the Apple range of personal computers, the Macintosh. It was first
released in 1984 with the original Macintosh computer and was the first OS to incorporate GUI. In fact, in
contrast to the other operating systems available at the time which used Command Line Interface (CLI), Mac OS
was a pure GUI as it had no CLI at all. The philosophy behind this approach to operating system design was to
make a system that was user friendly and intuitive where MS DOS and UNIX appeared complicated and
challenging to use in comparison.
Mac OS was originally very hardware-specific, only running on Apple computers using Motorola 68,000
processors. When Apple started building computers using PowerPC processors and hardware, Mac OS was
updated to run on these machines. All the versions of Mac OS were pure GUIs. The release of OS X (or Mac OS
10) was a significant change in the development of Apple operating systems. OS X was built on UNIX technology
and introduced better memory management and multitasking capabilities in the OS. It also introduced a CLI for
the first time.
(d) MS DOS
Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS DOS) is a single-user task operating system built by Microsoft. It was
the most commonly used operating system for PC in the 1980s and Microsoft’s first commercialized operating
system. It was the same operating system that Microsoft developed for IBM’s personal computer as a Personal
Computer Disk Operating System (PC DOS) and was based on the Intel 8086 family of microprocessors. MS
DOS uses CLI that requires knowledge of a large number of commands. With GUI based operating system
becoming popular, MS DOS lost its appeal quickly though it was the underlying basic operating system on
which early versions of GUI based Windows operating system ran. Even today you will find that Windows
Operating Systems continue to use and support MS DOS within a Windows environment. MS DOS was
initially released in 1981 and till now eight versions of it have been released. Today, Microsoft have stopped
paying much attention to it and is focusing primarily on the GUI based Windows Operating Systems.
(e) Windows
I. Windows 3.x
The first version of Windows 3.0 was released by Microsoft in 1990. It was a graphical interface-based package
and not a complete operating system, because it required DOS to be installed first on the computer and only after
that it could be loaded and used. With the launch of Windows 3.11, huge improvements in terms of usability and
performance were seen because the user did not have to remember complex DOS commands, work on a single
application at a time or suffer from the limited use of input devices such as a mouse or trackball.
Some of the prominent features of Windows 3.0 and 3.11 are; it supported GUI where programs could be
executed just by double clicking on them and most of the system settings could be modified from one point called
the Control Panel; it could perform most of the DOS housekeeping commands, such as creating, renaming and
deleting directories, copying, moving, renaming, deleting files, formatting disks, etc.; run multiple programs in
different Windows; interchange data within different applications using a utility called clipboard; support for more
options such as fax, drawings, graphical Internet browsing; work on mixed text and graphical documents, etc.
Most of the DOS applications could be executed from within the Windows environment and graphical interface
was extended to those applications which were designed according to Windows.
II. Windows 95
Windows 95 was a graphical user interface released by Microsoft Corporation in 1995. It had significant
improvements over the earlier version of an operating system distributed by Microsoft under the name of Windows
3.11. In addition to the complete change in the user interface, there were a number of important internal modifications
70 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
made to the core of the operating system. Windows 95, also known as Windows version 4.0 during its development
phase, was one of the most successful operating systems of that time. Windows 95 operated independently of
MS DOS rather than in conjunction with it and reduced the use of MS DOS to only a boot loader for Windows 95.
III. Windows 98
Microsoft released the next version of Windows in 1998. Like its predecessor, Windows 98 supported a hybrid 16/
32 bit file access system and better graphical user interface. It is often referred to as an operating system that
‘Works Better, Plays Better’. Code named ‘Memphis’ during its development stage, Windows 98 integrated
Internet Explorer into the user’s desktop to allow its users get a global view of technologies over the World Wide
Web and enable easy access to it.
IV. Windows 98 SE
The Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) is an improved and enhanced version of Windows 98. It includes new versions
of Microsoft applications as compared to Windows 98, to improve user experience and stability of the operating system.
Some of the new or improved elements of this operating system are: inclusion of Internet connection sharing, Windows
Driver Model (WDM) for Modems, Wake on LAN, Internet Explorer 5.0, integrated support for DVD-ROM drivers,
bug free Windows, Microsoft Plus!, support for Web TV and updates for other Microsoft programs such as NetMeeting,
MSN, Microsoft Wallet, Windows Media Player, etc.
V. Windows Millennium Edition
Windows ME (Millenium Edition) was released on 14 September, 2000 and targeted especially at home PC users.
This OS was in continuation to Windows 98 with restricted access to real mode MS DOS shell to improve
functionality. Among other changes Windows ME incorporated was an improved look and feel to the user interface
and a system restore option of going back to a previous state of the machine. The key features of this operating
system were that it had upgraded version of Microsoft products such as Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media
Player 7, System restore options, applications to easily connect with digital cameras and scanners, Windows
Movie, Improved Generic support for USB interface and shell extension of ZIP files into the Windows Explorer.
VI. Windows NT
Microsoft released this version of Windows in 1993. It increased ease of use and simplified management. It used
the Windows 95 interface and included advanced network support, trouble-free and better access to the Internet
and corporate intranets. With the intent of designing it as an operating system capable of supporting high level
language and at the same time processor independent and supporting a multiuser and multiprocessing environment,
Windows NT had high acceptance in both the home user and professional user markets. Various versions of
Windows NT were released over the years, starting from Windows NT 3.1 in 1993 to Windows NT 4.0 in 1996,
after which product development was stopped by Microsoft.
VII. Windows 2000
Microsoft released this version of Windows in 2000. It was an upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 and designed with
the aim of replacing Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT on all business desktops and laptops. This
version was easy to use, Internet compatible and supported mobile computing. It made hardware installation
much easier by including support for a range of new Plug and Play devices, including advance networking and
wireless products, infrared and USB devices. The main features of Microsoft Windows 2000 were: Dump
Capabilities, wherein the operating system gave its users the option of dumping either a part of the memory or the
entire contents into a file on the hard drive which helped in saving critical information in case of a system failure,
Microsoft Management Control to control the access to administrative tools and system settings, Recovery
Console and support to distributed file system.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 71
VIII. Windows 2003
Windows 2003 was released by Microsoft on 24 April 2003. This OS was designed and developed over various
functional parts of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It boasted better stability, compatibility and security than
Windows 2000 and XP. It improved performance of the system by taking advantage of the recent hardware
developments, redesigning the system interface and developing better services. Major updates of Microsoft in-
house applications and services such as Networking, Web Server, Compatibility with Windows NT, etc., were
released with this OS.
The main features of this OS are: support for 64-bit processors, Internet Information Services V6.0,
separate Web Edition of Windows 2003 specially designed as a web server, tighter security measures over
previous versions of Windows using built-in firewall, support of a hardware based monitoring system called
‘watchdog timer’ which could monitor the server for hang-ups and freezes, virtual disk services for offsite
storage and support for multiple roles such as that of a Web server, print server and storage server.
IX. Windows XP
Windows XP was first released on 25 October 2001 and since then over 600 million copies have been sold
worldwide. It is a successor to both Windows 2000 and Windows ME and the first OS aimed at home users built
on Windows NT kernel and architecture. Due to the integration of multiple technologies from various operating
systems it gained wide popularity among home and business desktop, notebooks and media centre users. As
acknowledged by most Windows XP users as well as Microsoft Corporation, this version of Windows is the most
stable and efficient OS released by Microsoft yet.
X. Windows Vista
The most recent in the line of Microsoft Windows personal computer operating system, Windows Vista codename
‘Longhorn’ was developed to succeed Windows XP and an improvement upon the security. Microsoft started the
development of Windows Vista five months after releasing Windows XP and the work continued till November,
2006 when Microsoft announced its completion, ending the longest development cycle of an operating system.
Since the original idea of building Longhorn from Windows XP’s code was scraped and it was built on Windows
2003 SP1. Several developments included all new graphical interface named Windows Aero, refined and faster
search capabilities, an array of new tools such as Windows DVD Maker, integrated Windows Media Centre in
the Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate Editions, print, audio, display subsystems and redesigned networking.
XI. Windows CE
The Windows Embedded Compact (CE) is an operating system optimized for devices with minimum hardware
resources, such as embedded devices and handhelds. It integrates advance and reliable real time capabilities with
Windows technology. The kernel of this OS is not just a trimmed down version of desktop Windows, but in fact it
is a brand new kernel which can run on less than a megabyte of memory. Besides the advantage of performing
on a minimum specification it is also an OS which satisfies the prerequisites of a real time operating system.
Another distinct feature of Windows CE is that it was made available in a source code form to several hardware
manufactures so that they could modify the OS to adjust with their hardware and also to the general public. Since
Windows CE was developed as a component based and embedded operating system, it has been used as a basis
in the development of several mobile operating systems such as AutoPC, PocketPC, Windows Mobile, Smartphone,
etc., and also embedded into games consoles such as Microsoft Xbox.
9.3 OS Installation
How to Install an Operating System on a Computer
1. Back up all user files if you are planning to perform a system recovery. Buy a large stack of CDs or
multiple flash drives. This is the best way to back up your hard drive, especially if you have got a large
72 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
quantity of files which take up a lot of space on the drive. The flash drives are particularly useful if you are
unable to burn files to disk. You can use the flash drives to transfer files to another computer, and then burn
them to CD. You also might want to try zip drives. Other alternatives include connecting the computer to
another computer using a null modem cable or a networking USB cable, then downloading all user files to
the second computer. Also, an external hard drive works very well as a backup drive, as does a tape drive.
This step is primarily for user files which you and other members of your household created. Save important
information such as program activation codes, your internet access information and usernames and
2. Gather together all the installation CDs which came with your computer and with the devices you have
added to your computer. This may include your printer, modem, router, access point, disk drives, graphics
card, sound card and any other devices which have their own separate installation software. Create a boot
disk for your chosen operating system to guard against system failure.
3. Ensure that your computer is set up to boot from the CD ROM drive. This is done in the system BIOS.
Most computers access the BIOS by selecting a function key on boot up. Watch the splash screen as your
computer boots and select the function key which your screen instructs to get into setup. In the boot menu
of the BIOS setup, select the CD ROM drive as the first choice for booting the computer.
4. Place the first CD for the operating system in the CD drive. This will either be the first CD of a set of
recovery CDs or a standalone version of the operating system on CD.
5. Turn the computer off. Wait a full 30 seconds before turning it back on again. Turn the computer back on,
and follow the instructions on the screen to partition and format your hard drive. This will erase all data
which previously existed on the drive.
6. Follow the instructions which appear on the screen.
7. Reconnect to the internet. Troubleshoot any problems with your installation by visiting the software provider’s
support website. Look in particular for online knowledge bases. These contain valuable information which
can help you to overcome even the most difficult installation problems. Use several different search terms
to search for the solutions you need.
8. Install or reinstall your antivirus software and promptly download and install all the definition updates. If
possible do this without opening a web browser.
9. Navigate immediately to the update site of the operating system’s manufacturer and download all critical
updates. Set up automatic updates if possible. Do not forget to upgrade the browser to the latest version,
as old browsers often have security vulnerabilities which are susceptible to viruses and hackers. Avoid
beta versions of web browsers.
10. Install the software for any additional devices which did not come with your computer. Update the drivers
for all of your devices. Check device manager to see which version of each driver you are using and check
the date.
For uninstalling the operating system, start the PC in safe mode by pressing F8 on starting of the PC and
follow the instructions. For closing the operating system, shut down the PC.
9.4 Microsoft Disk Operating System
(a) Introduction of MS DOS
Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS DOS) is a single user, single tasking operating system. DOS has a
command line, text-based/non-graphical user interface commonly referred to as Character-based User Interface
(CUI). When the computer is switched on, a small program checks all internal devices, electronic memory and
peripherals. Once this process is completed, MS DOS is loaded.
Computer Organization and Operating Systems 73
(b) DOS Prompt
The DOS prompt known as the command prompt looks like C:\> or D:\> where ‘C’,‘D’ represent the hard drives
of the computer system. All commands are typed at the DOS prompt. Enter key is pressed to view the output of
the typed command. If the command is correctly typed desired output would be displayed. Otherwise an error
message (Bad command or filename/Invalid parameter) is displayed on the screen.
(c) Internal DOS Commands
Command Syntax Explanation Example Notes
DATE DATE Displays the system’s current date and
prompts to enter the new date.
C:\>DATE The current date is: Fri 05/09/2003
Enter the new date: <mm-dd-yy>:
TIME TIME Displays the current time and prompts
the user to enter the new time.
C:\>TIME The current time is: 12:55:25.34
Enter the new time:
VER VER Displays the windows version. C:\>VER Displays the Windows version
installed on your computer.
PROMPT PROMPT [Text] Changes the MS DOS command prompt
to the specified text. If the command is
typed without any parameters then the
default prompt setting is restored.
D:\>PROMPT Changes the prompt to the default
COPY COPY <Source>
Creates a copy of the specified file and
places it in the specified location, file
will exist at the specified location as
well as the source location.
Creates a copy of HELLO.TXT in
the LETTER folder of the C: drive.
REN REN <Path>
<01dfile> <Newfile>
Renames the old file name by the
specified new file name.
Renames ‘HELLO.TXT’ as ‘Hi.TXT’
Deletes the specified file present in the
Specified path/location from the hard
Deletes the file ‘Hi.TXT’ located in
the ‘DATA’ folder of the C: drive.
TYPE TYPE <Filename> Displays the contents of a text file. C:\DATA>TYPE
Displays the contents of TMP.TXT.
Directory -
Name Name>
Displays all the sub-directories and files
of the specified drive/directory. It also
shows the size of the files and the date
and time they were last modified.
C:\>DIRD: Displays all the contents (files and
directories) of the D: drive.
Directory -Name>/P
Displays the contents of directory one
screen at a time and pauses until any
other key is pressed to continue the
Displays the contents of the ‘DATA’
directory by pausing the screen.
DIR/W DIR <Drive/
Displays the contents of the directory
width-wise. It omits file size, date and
time of creation of file so that more files
can be displayed at one time on the
Displays the contents of the ‘DATA’
directory width-wise.
DIR/W/P DIR <Drive/
The Wide and Pause display option can
be combined.
Displays the contents of the ‘DATA’
directory width-wise and by pausing
the screen.
CD CD<Directory-
Name> CD\ -
Directly takes to the
root directory.
Displays the name of the current
directory if no parameter is specified
with the command. Changes the current
directory to the specified directory.
Changes the current directory to
MD <Drive/
Creates a new directory in the specified
Creates a directory named ‘HELLO’
in the C: Drive.
Removes the specified directory. C:>RD HELLO To remove a directory first you
should come to one level above the
current directory and then remove
command should be given. This
command will delete the ‘HELLO’
directory from the C:drive.
Deletes a directory and all the sub-
directories and files in it.
Prompts the user for confirmation. If
user selects ‘Y’ (Yes) then the
directory ‘TEMP’ and all its sub-
directories will be deleted.
74 Computer Organization and Operating Systems
I. Wild Cards
Wild card characters can be used in specifying filenames in DOS. There are two types of wild cards (?,*):
? It is used to represent any single character in the file name.
Displays all the text files in the C: drive starting with ‘BA’ and ending with any single character.
Examples: BAT.TXT, BAG.TXT, BAR.TXT, BAD.TXT, etc.
* It is used to represent one or more characters in a file name.
Displays all the text files in the C: drive starting with ‘CON’.
(d) External DOS Commands
Command Syntax Explanation Example Notes
LABEL LABEL Makes, changes, or deletes the label of
volume of a disk.
C:\>LABEL Displays the current volume label
and volume serial number. Also
prompts to enter a new label.
EDIT EDIT Starts MS DOS editor, which produces
and changes ASCII files.
C:\>EDIT Opens the MS DOS editor.
ATTRIB + Clears an
attribute A-Archive
attribute R-Read
only attribute H-
Hiddenfile attribute
S-System file
Displays or changes file attributes. C:\>ATTPJB+H +R
Sets the attributes of ‘FIRST.TXT’ as
Read only and hidden.
Copies files and subdirectories to the
specified location.
Copies the entire contents of the
‘DATA’folder to ‘INFO’folder. If the
‘DATA’ folder contains ‘ami’
subdirectories, then they will also be
copied to the 'INFO' folder.
Displays directory paths and files in each
/F – Displays file names in each listed
/A – Specifies the alternative characters
(plus signs, hyphens, etc.) used to draw.

Lists a tree listing of the C drive.

List a tree listing of the D drive.
(e) Limitations of MS DOS
I. It has a text based user interface where the commands have to be typed for each operation that the user
wants to perform. The user is expected to remember the commands as well as their syntax.
II. It is a single user, single task operating system and the working is limited to one megabyte of memory. 640
kilobytes of the memory is used for the application program.
III. It does not allow using long file names. The user is restricted to eight-character file names with three-
character extensions.

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