Components and Terminology of Operating Systems

There are some basic terminology and components in each operating system, which all professionals should know irrespective of their educational background. Here are some of them. We are keeping it extremely brief in order not to confuse you, but yet in a way to convey the essential meaning and utility of each.


Registry is the central storage for windows configuration and applications config, file registrations, every configuration in windows is stored here, commands like regedit and regedt32 are used to edit and view, broken down into hives, hives are files on disk. To open registry we need to type

To restore the registry, we can use last known good configurations (f8)

You can also use ASR automatic system recovery that can be used to restore the registry from the backup.

Virtual Memory

It’s not the physical memory but is used to store data that was in physical memory but hasn’t been used, also called swap file or paging file, usually set automatically, not as good as physical RAM, a hidden file on your c:\driver, by default.

File Structure

Windows has its own file system and structure. Each file system is a partition on disk, the disk is formatted (NTFS, FAT, FAT32)