What is Multitasking?

By cavsi Category: Computing Operating Systems Tags:

Multitasking is the ability to execute more than one computer task (such as the operation of an application program) at a time. The operating system is able to keep track of where you are in these tasks and go from one to the other without losing information.

The terms multitasking and multiprocessing are often used interchangeably, although multiprocessing sometimes implies that more than one CPU is involved.

In multitasking, only one CPU is involved, but it switches from one program to another so quickly that it gives the appearance of executing all of the programs at the same time.

There are two basic types of multitasking: preemptive and cooperative. In preemptive multitasking, the operating system parcels out CPU time slices to each program. In cooperative multitasking, each program can control the CPU for as long as it needs it.

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