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Non-Preemptive Multitasking

Last updated: December 1, 2013

What Does Non-Preemptive Multitasking Mean?

Non-preemptive multitasking is a legacy multitasking technique where an operating system (OS) allocates an entire central processing unit (CPU) to a single process until the process is completed. The program releases the CPU itself or until a scheduled time has passed. It was unveiled in Windows 3.1 and similar Mac OS versions of that era.

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Techopedia Explains Non-Preemptive Multitasking

In non-preemptive multitasking, the CPU control largely remains with one program for longer durations. Non-preemptive multitasking works well with applications and programs that require intensive and continuous CPU resources. However, when a program holds the CPU for such long periods, it affects other programs that must wait for the current program to finish or voluntarily release the CPU.

Non-preemptive multitasking also incorporates some elements from cooperative multitasking, where one or more programs cooperate, to some extent, in CPU utilization sharing and collaboration.

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