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Preemptive Multitasking

Definition - What does Preemptive Multitasking mean?

Preemptive multitasking is a type of multitasking that allows computer programs to share operating systems (OS) and underlying hardware resources. It divides the overall operating and computing time between processes, and the switching of resources between different processes occurs through predefined criteria.

Preemptive multitasking is also known as time-shared multitasking.

Techopedia explains Preemptive Multitasking

Preemptive multitasking is one of the most common types of computer multitasking techniques. It works on a time sharing feature, where each process may be allocated equal shares of computing resources. However, depending on a task's criticality and priority, additional time may be allocated.

For example, OS-specific background tasks may be considered more important than a user application’s tasks. Thus, they receive larger time slices than forefront tasks.

To prevent a program from taking control of computing resources, preemptive multitasking restricts the program to limited time slices.

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