The process scheduling is the activity of the process manager that handles the removal of the running process from the CPU and the selection of another process on the basis of a particular strategy. The prime aim of the process scheduling system is to keep the CPU busy all the time and to deliver minimum response time for all programs. For achieving this, the scheduler must apply appropriate rules for swapping processes IN and OUT of CPU.


Schedulers are special system software which handle process scheduling in various ways. Their main task is to select the jobs to be submitted into the system and to decide which process to run.

Types of Scheduler

  • Long term scheduler
  • Mid - term scheduler
  • Short term scheduler

Long Term Scheduler

It selects the process that are to be placed in ready queue. The long term scheduler basically decides the priority in which processes must be placed in main memory. Processes of long term scheduler are placed in the ready state because in this state the process is ready to execute waiting for calls of execution from CPU which takes time that’s why this is known as long term scheduler.

Mid – Term Scheduler

It places the blocked and suspended processes in the secondary memory of a computer system. The task of moving from main memory to secondary memory is called swapping out. The task of moving back a swapped out process from secondary memory to main memory is   known as swapping in. The swapping of processes is performed to ensure the best utilization of main memory.

Short Term Scheduler

It decides the priority in which processes is in the ready queue are allocated the central processing unit (CPU) time for their execution. The short term scheduler is also referred as central processing unit (CPU) scheduler.


The dispatcher is the module that gives control of the CPU to the process selected by the short-time scheduler (selects from among the processes that are ready to execute).

The function involves:

  • Context Switching
  • Switching to user mode
  • Restart the execution of process

Context Switching

A context switch is the mechanism to store and restore the state or context of a CPU in Process Control block so that a process execution can be resumed from the same point at a later time. Using this technique, a context switcher enables multiple processes to share a single CPU. Context switching is an essential part of a multitasking operating system features. When the scheduler switches the CPU from executing one process to execute another, the state from the current running process is stored into the process control block. After this, the state for the process to run next is loaded from its own PCB and used to set the PC, registers, etc. At that point, the second process can start executing.

The speed of context switching depends on:

  • The speed of memory
  • The of registers that must be copied
  • The existence of some special instruction