Can a Computer Run Without an Operating System?


When you buy a new computer, it comes with several programs and applications pre-installed. You can play games, listen to pre-downloaded audio and video files, or can type a document without installing any additional software. 

What is it that makes your computer functional? All these functions are possible because of the operating system installed on the computer. 

So, can a computer run without an operating system? Let’s read this article to get an answer to this question. 

Operating System – a Synopsis 

Operating System is a program that can communicate with the hardware and software devices to make them functional. One major task of the operating system is to allocate the resources necessary to run a program. 

So how efficiently your computer handles heavy-load tasks depends upon its ability to allocate resources. The better your computer can manage tasks efficiently, the better you are likely to multitask. 

The processor’s ability to abort the task when it is accomplished successfully avoids conflicts between various programs and applications. But all this is possible when your computer has an operating system installed to handle hardware components and software apps. 

Is It Possible to Use a Computer Without an OS?

Let’s move on to the main question of discussion—can a computer run without an operating system, and what tasks can you perform on the device? 

Perhaps, you can, but you may not be likely to run preferred apps. If you try to run your computer without an operating system, you will be required to code a functional program that the device can understand. Even if you can write and execute code that works as an operating system, how would you be able to run apps and other utilities? 

Today’s programs are developed to run on an operating system. The programs we have on the web or in the physical stores are programmed to run on Windows, macOS, Linux, or all. If as long as you know how to code a program that can support various programs on the computer, you are not bound to install Windows or macOS or any major operating system. 


The challenge is to code a program that can instruct computers flawlessly. The set of instructions must be based on binary codes that your computer can understand. Once the program triggers a command, the computer must know to interpret it so that the hardware and software components can function as intended. 

What Do You Need to Get Started?

So, if you are planning to run your computer without any conventional operating system, you must have a functional instruction set ready. Without an OS, a computer will not work, and your own program may not be powerful enough to tackle different functional and performance discrepancies that come complimentary with any program. 

For example, if you are finding any difficulty, such as macOS not installing, there are multiple guides and other resources that you can refer to for fixing the problems. Similarly, if your self-coded program freezes in between when you are running an app, you should know how to fix it.  

If you are technically sound and know how to troubleshoot any issues if and when they appear, go ahead to take command.  

How to Set Up a Computer Without an OS?

setup computer without ios

So if you still wonder if a computer runs without an operating system, the answer is yes. You may buy a computer without an OS; it’s difficult to find one, though; try to speak with the brand sales team. If you manage to get one, there are a few things that you need to do to make it ready to use. 

  • Store All Files Properly

The latest computers require a CD or DVD for installing data. You can choose any one mode of storage to save installation files based on what your system supports. Check if the installation disk is not corrupted and properly bootable. 

The POST or Power-On Self Test is a potential way to instruct the installation disc to run a program automatically. All important files vital to booting the system and making it functional will be copied from the installation disc to your computer’s storage. 

  • Load the Program Into the Memory

More often, this step is automatic. The installation disc that you use on your computer leaves a bootstrap loader in the storage. Now, when the computer powers the storage media, such as the hard drive, the bootstrap loader starts its task to load the OS. 

Once the program loads in the memory, you can install and use any application that is compatible to run on the computer. If you are using a computer with a self-developed program, make sure to regularly back up your data. If anything adverse happens beyond repair, you can restore data from backup media. 

That’s all you need to do to make your non-OS computer functional and download the programs you intend to use. Also, check the minimum software requirements and compatibility of new programs before making a purchase.

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About Bhawesh Chaudhary

Meet Bhavesh, a visionary writer at the intersection of health and technology. With a passion for exploring the transformative potential of wearable devices in the realm of healthcare, [Author's Name] has become a prominent voice in the field of health tech wearables.

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