What are the essential hardware components to running an operating system?

by on October 9, 2009

Q: What is essential to run an Operating system? Is it only a hard drive to store the operating system and a processor to run it?

5 Responses to “What are the essential hardware components to running an operating system?”

    It depends on the operating system you are running but for a normal headless computer you would need the motherboard, ram, cpu, hard drive, and power supply.

    I think it could also be argued that you probably need a network card to be able to communicate with the computer remotely and it is also possible that you would need a video card but that would really depend on the operating system. It would be impossible to diagnose any problems with the system related to booting up without a video card.


    So let’s say that the operating system is linux. Now are all of those components still needed if the only task that that operating system will proform is receieve every file off of a windows’ computer and then transfer every file back to the windows computer? (It only has to transfer the files back and forth technically not have to run them)


      My fist question to you is how would you install linux without a DVD drive and a video card?

      I can tell you I have been using linux for longer than I care to admit and when people talk about a headless system it usually still has a video card in it. It is usually just missing the monitor.

      The fact that you want to transfer files makes the network card go from optional to required. So unless you are doing some really weird stuff you need everything that would be in a normal computer that I listed above. So you really just get to lose th monitor, keyboard, and mouse.


    Thank you very much I have a much better understanding now and only have one further question. If the task for this headless system is only transferring files would the motherboard, ram, and cpu need to be equivalent in size as they are inside a computer, or could they be bought or made in a much smaller size to make the system basically portable?


      if you need it to be portable then I would suggest getting an older used laptop and set the system up using that. All computer components in desktop computers are pretty much the same size.