Multitasking

Running two or more programs at the same time on the same single-processor (single CPU) computer. This seemingly simultaneous processing is deceptive because the CPU is actually attending to only one program at any given moment. The currently running program is said to be in the ‘foreground,’ all other programs are said to be running in the ‘background.’ Multitasking is of two main types: (1) in preemptive multitasking (such as in Linux, Unix, and Windows) the operating system (OS) controls the back-and-forth switching between the programs, and each program gets its turn in a predictable manner, (2) in non-preemptive multitasking (such as in Novell Netware) a program runs until it stops itself and its execution cannot be interrupted.

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