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Single-User Operating System

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Single user operating system is also known as a single-tasking operating system, and a single-user operating system is designed especially for home computers. A single user can access the computer at a particular time. The single-user operating system allows permission to access your personal computer at a time by a single user, but sometimes it can support multiple profiles. It can also be used in official work and other environments as well. 

So this operating system does not require the support of memory protection, file protection, and security system. The computers based on this operating system have a single processor to execute only a single program at all times. This system provides all the resources such as CPU, and I/O devices, to a single user at a time. 

Single user operating system

Single-user operating system

The operating system for those computers which support only one computer. In this operating system, another user can not interact with another working user. The core part of the single-user operating system is one kernel image that will run at a time i.e there is no other facility to run more than one kernel image. 

Features of the Single-User Operating System:

  • Interpreting user’s commands.
  • File management.
  • Memory management. 
  • Input/output management.
  • Resource allocation.
  • Managing process.


  • This OS occupies less space in memory.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Less chance of damage.
  • This is a single-user interface it allows only one user’s tasks to execute in a given time. 
  • In this operating system only one user work at a time, so there will be no interruption of others.


  • It can perform only a single task.
  • The main drawback is, the OS remains idle for most of the time and is not utilized to its maximum.
  • Tasks take longer to complete.
  • It has a high response time.

Types of Single-user Operating Systems:

This operating system is of two types:-

  1. Single User Single-Tasking
  2. Single User Multi-Tasking

Single-User Single-Tasking: Operating system allows a single user to execute one program at a particular time. This operating system is designed especially for wireless phones and two-way messaging. Some functions such as printing a document, and downloading images and videos are performed in one given frame.

Example: MS-DOS, Palm OS (Used in Palm-held computers).

Single-User Single-Tasking

Single-User Single-Tasking


  • Uses less area in memory 
  • Cost efficient 


  • Less Optimized

Single-User Multi-Tasking: Operating system allows a single user to execute multiple programs at the same time, the single user can perform multiple tasks at a time. This type of operating system is found on personal desktops and laptops. The most popular single-user multi-tasking is Microsoft windows. This single-user multi-tasking can be pre-emptive or cooperative.

  • Pre-emptive: The operating system shares the central processing time by dedicating a single slot to each of the programs.
  • Co-operative: This is attained by relying on each process to give time to other methods in a defined manner. Some example taking photos while capturing video, a user can perform different tasks such as making calculations in excel sheets. 

Example: Windows, Mac


  • Time-saving
  • High productivity in less time frame
  • Less memory is used


  • Require more space
  • More complexity
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Last Updated : 19 Oct, 2022
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