Explain Device Management in Operating System

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Device Management in the Operating system manages all the hardware and virtual devices on a PC or computer. Device management assigns input and output devices to processes based on priority. It also allocates them in a way that is either temporary or long-term based on the circumstances.

What exactly is Device Management in an operating system?

There are various options for input devices for computers, such as keyboards, mice, scanners, microphones, and many more, and other output equipment, such as speakers, printers, and more, apart from these additional hardware devices like Disk, USB, etc.

Additionally, there are virtual devices that aren’t connected to hardware but function in a similar way to hardware-based devices. Because all PC functions are handled or controlled through the Operating system, hardware devices and virtual devices are managed by the device Management system.

A process could require many resources. If the resources aren’t available, the process is stopped until the needed resources are available; they are assigned to the process. The operating system and the hardware or devices of the computer aren’t connected directly to each other but are linked via special programs referred to as drivers.

The principal function of drivers is to serve as a translator between the high-level programming language used by an operating system and electrical signals generated by hardware devices.

Drivers also have a benefit in the sense of acting as a translator between the operating system and hardware. As a result, it allows for easy drive updating compared to operating systems. Also, similar operating systems can be used after updating hardware to different hardware sets.

The Device Management functions in the Operating System

As we’ve seen earlier, the operating system controls devices through drivers and ensures that they use the device how it functions. There are a variety of functions in this device-management system of the operating system. Let’s examine the following functions:

  • This device’s management software acts as a controller for input and output, which is why it can keep track of every device’s data, such as the location, status, etc.
  • The device management software in the operating system creates schedules and determines, based on priority, and what process will be held by a specific device and for the length of time it will be held it.
  • Device management helps in the enhancement of the driver.
  • Device management systems within the operating system assigns and delicates devices. The deallocation process is performed twice, firstly when the process lets go of the device temporarily in response to the Input/Output command. Second, the device can be permanently released after the task is completed.
  • It searches for every single electronic or virtual device and maintains the current status of every one of them.

The Types of Device Management in the Operating System

Before we get to the type of device management within the operating system, let’s explore the basics of devices called Input/Output, which are classified into three types:

  • Boot Device
  • Character Device
  • Network Device

Let’s talk about the three types mentioned above of devices in more in-depth:

  • Boot Device: These devices form hardware components containing the necessary files or data to begin the PC or computer. Hard disks, CD-ROM drives, Floppy disk drives, DVD drives, and USB jump drives are all part of the Boot Device class.
  • Character Devices: Any device in which input is required or accepts the output of the character stream that is transmitted since they don’t have their memory is known as a character device.
  • Network Device This device helps connect a computer to the network by sending data packets, also referred to by the term network device.

Regarding the operating system, the hardware and virtual devices are separated into three distinct parts:

  • Dedicated Devices
  • Shared Devices
  • Virtual Device

Let’s talk about the three types mentioned above of devices in-depth:

  • Dedicated devices: There are numerous devices that, when allocated to a particular process, are released only after the task is complete. The reason behind this is that it isn’t efficient to switch between multiple devices.

    Sometimes not releasing devices until the task is completed can be unfavorable since, when the current procedure does not make full utilization of it, then we can’t release the device. Plotters, printers, tape drivers, etc., are some examples of such devices.

  • Shared devices: Devices assigned or shared to multiple processes simultaneously are called shared devices. To share the same device among at least two processes, the device manager should ensure that they manage the interleaving process and that all pre-defined policies are followed.

    HDDs or SDDs, tape silos, and optical jukeboxes are a few examples of shared devices.

  • Virtual Devices Third kind of device, also known as a virtual device, is a combination of two mentioned devices. When dedicated devices are turned into shared devices, they are called virtual devices. One of the most famous examples of a virtual device is the printer.

    The printer can be turned into a shared device that is dedicated to making use of the spooling software, which means that all printing requests are directed to the disk. When we convert an individual device into a shared device, we can create a variety of different virtual versions of the current device and increase its efficiency of the device.

Device Management Features in the Operating System

We’ve discussed the features of the system for managing devices of the operating system in the preceding article. Let’s now take a look at the capabilities it has to offer:

  • To connect with device controllers and allocate the device to various processes running on the computer, the OS for device management uses the advantage of device drivers.
  • Device drivers are software applications that function as a translator between devices’ signals and the programming language that is part of the operating system. They can be utilized to regulate the operation of devices in a correct or expected way.
  • The device controllers in the operating system utilize status, command, and registers for data for device management.
  • As we’ve discussed previously, the device drivers mediate between hardware and software.
  • Application Programming Interface or API is a set of programs or functions that permit the application to communicate with the software, and the operating system does the data processing for device management.


  • Device Management within the Operating system manages all hardware and virtual devices in PCs and computers.
  • Device management assigns input and output devices to the process following priority. It also allocates devices and also reallocates continuously based on the circumstances.
  • Driver’s work is the intermediary between electrical signals generated by your hardware and the high-level programming used by the Operating System.
  • It is possible to find three types of devices for input and output `**: Character, Boot, and Network devices.
  • It is possible to distinguish three types of management for devices in the Operating System: sharing devices, dedicated devices, and virtual devices.
  • Dedicated devices are non-shareable. It means that only one application can use them. However, shared devices can be used by multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Virtual devices are a hybrid version of shared and dedicated devices. By using spooling programs, dedicated devices can be transformed into shared devices to improve their effectiveness.

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