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Context Switching

Context Switching 

Context switching is the process that involves storing the state of a running process so that it can be restored and, later when required, the execution can start. Then, you can load and run the context of another process. It is a vital concept in operating systems and crucial for multitasking and effective resource management. Context switching is necessary for the operating system to switch between these processes so that each can have a share of the CPU’s time.

Why Do We Need Context Switching in OS?

Context switching is crucial in operating systems. Let us look at some of the reasons why it is essential:

  • It helps in working multiple processes constantly on a single CPU. This is crucial for the operating system that needs to support a massive range of applications such as email tools, browsers, and others. This will help the operating system to manage the CPU and other resources effectively.
  • Whenever operating will plan a new process to run, it requires switching to the state of the process. This process also needs to have a context switch.
  • During a system call by a process, the operating system must switch to core mode to handle the request. This will help save the current process and load the core process’s state.


In conclusion, context switching is a fundamental mechanism in operating systems that facilitates multitasking and allows multiple processes to share a single CPU efficiently. It involves saving and restoring the state of a process so that it can be resumed later without loss of data or continuity. The switching overhead is crucial in system performance optimization, as frequent switches can incur significant latency and above. Operating systems employ various scheduling algorithms to switch context effectively, balancing throughput, fairness, and responsiveness. While context switching is essential for multitasking environments, minimalizing frequency is necessary to optimize system performance and resource utilization.

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