Difference Between Multiprogramming and Multitasking in Operating system

The operating system is an important piece of program that manages the computer hardware and other software applications.

We can say it acts as a middle man. This is because the user cannot give commands directly to the CPU in machine language nor the CPU can interact with the user directly.

Apart from the basic tasks which the operating system does such as controlling peripheral devices, showing output on the screen, tracking data, and files, the operating system also serves a higher purpose of multiprogramming and multitasking.

Multiprogramming vs Multitasking in Operating system

The difference between Multiprogramming and multitasking is that in multiprogramming the CPU executes more than one program simultaneously whereas in multitasking CPU executes more than one task simultaneously.

Multiprogramming vs Multitasking operating system


Comparison Table

Parameter of comparisonMultiprogrammingMultitasking
MeaningIn a Multiprogramming system, one or more programs are loaded in the main Memory which is ready to execute simultaneously.Multitasking refers to execute multiple programs, tasks, threads running at the same time
ObjectiveThe multiprogramming objective is to improve the utilization of the CPU.The multitasking objective is to improve the timing of the response.
TimeMultiprogramming takes more time to execute any program to processMultitasking takes less time to execute any task or program process.


What is Multiprogramming?

Multiprogramming focuses on increasing the utilization of the CPU. It runs multiple processes at the same time on a single processor.

The CPU jumps to another job or program while the program goes for IO operation i.e In Multiprogramming the operating system keeps several jobs/programs in memory so the CPU selects a job and starts executing it.

When that job needs to wait for any IO operation then the CPU switches to another job and starts executing it.

Multiprogramming can be done on a slow processing CPU. It requires less memory (RAM or ROM) to function. This whole idea of Multiprogramming is to keep the CPU busy as long as possible.

Advantages of Multiprogramming

  1. High CPU Utilization
  2. Shorter Response time

Disadvantage of Multiprogramming

  1. Scheduling implementation is not easy
  2. More management is required
multi programming

What is Multitasking?

Multitasking means working on more than one task at a time means you are using your computer and listening to songs. Also searching something on the internet using a browser and making a word file that’s your assignment.

Multitasking is quite similar to multiprogramming but in this CPU is allocated to a process for fixed timing i.e ‘Time quantum or time slice’ after that CPU ‘Context switch’ to another process.

For performing Multitasking, the PC requires a large memory (RAM or ROM). Its main objective is to improve the timing of response from the CPU.

Multitasking is a very complicated system. It is based on a time slice concept which allocates a fixed interval of time to each task to be executed.

Advantages of Multitasking

  1. Shorter response time
  2. Logical parallelism

Disadvantages of multitasking

  1. Can’t be implemented on a very slow speed processor.
  2. Requires large storage memory to work.

Main Differences Between Multiprogramming and Multitasking in Operating System

  1. Multiprogramming mainly focuses on increasing CPU utilization. The programs are arranged in such a way that the CPU will never be idle; it will always have one program after another to execute. One the other hand, Multitasking aims to improve the response time from the CPU.
  2. In Multiprogramming the switching between the process is done when the ongoing process stops and the CPU is allocated to another process, whereas in Multitasking, switching between the tasks or processes occurs when the time quantum or time slice of the currently ongoing process gets over.


  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/48012.48037
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5009151/
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