preemptive multitasking


Also found in: Dictionary, Medical.
Related to preemptive multitasking: Cooperative multitasking

preemptive multitasking

[prē ¦emp·tiv ′məl·tē‚task·iŋ]
(computer science)
A method of running more than one program on a computer at a time, in which control of the processor is decided by the operating system, which allocates each program a recurring time segment.

preemptive multitasking

A multitasking method that shares processing time with all running programs. Preemptive multitasking creates a time-shared environment in which running programs receive a recurring slice of time from the CPU. Depending on the operating system, the time slice may be the same for all programs or it may be adjustable to meet the current mix of programs and users. For example, background programs can be given more CPU time no matter how heavy the foreground load and vice versa. In addition, the OS is able to grab the machine cycles that a modem or network program needs for uninterrupted processing.

Mainframe operating systems have employed preemptive multitasking for decades. Desktop operating systems began to utilize this architecture starting with Windows 95 and Mac OS X. Contrast with non-preemptive multitasking. See multitasking.
References in periodicals archive ?
The hands-on program takes people from an introduction to a preemptive multitasking multithreading RTOS through to development and integration of drivers in a system.
Apple's Macintosh operating system (Mac OS) has always been considered easy to use, unfortunately, its technical underpinnings have lagged behind the times, Until Apple's ambitious OS X release, the Mac lacked modern features, such as preemptive multitasking, memory protection and dynamic memory allocation.
Basic system advantages such as memory protection, preemptive multitasking, optimized memory management, and excellent network properties enhance professional deployment and ambitious home use.
* Nemetschek North America (booth 2223) will demonstrate the new OS X-compatible VectorWorks 9.5, the best-selling CAD program on the Mac, which features a fully-compliant Aqua interface, improved virtual memory, protected memory and preemptive multitasking