Multiprogramming vs Multitasking in Operating system: Difference and Comparison

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

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

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Multiprogramming operating systems allow multiple programs to reside in memory simultaneously, improving resource utilization and reducing idle time.
  2. Multitasking operating systems enable a single user to work on multiple tasks or applications simultaneously by rapidly switching between them.
  3. Both multiprogramming and multitasking operating systems aim to improve efficiency and productivity, but they differ in focus, emphasizing resource utilization and multitasking focusing on user experience.

Multiprogramming vs Multitasking in Operating system

Multiprogramming operating system is a system where one or more programs are loaded into a main memory that will implement them at the same time to improve CPU utilization. Multitasking operating system is a system that executes different programs, threads, and tasks which are running simultaneously.

Multiprogramming vs Multitasking operating system

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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 executing multiple programs, tasks, and 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. In contrast, the program goes for IO operation, i.e. In Multiprogramming, the operating system keeps several jobs/programs in memory, so the CPU selects and executes a job.

When that job needs to wait for any IO operation, the CPU switches to another job and executes 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, search for something on the internet using a browser and make a word file for your assignment.

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

The PC requires a large memory (RAM or ROM) for multitasking. 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 time interval to each task to be executed.

Advantages of Multitasking

  1. Shorter response time
  2. Logical parallelism

Disadvantages of multitasking

  1. It 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 Systems

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

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Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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