Difference Between Multi-threading and Multitasking

By Anjnee Bhatnagar|Updated : October 7th, 2022

In operating systems, many processes can execute simultaneously and use the CPU. This allows the user to work in a multiprogramming environment. This multiprogramming environment allows a process to be operated in multithreading and multitasking. Here we will discuss multithreading, multitasking and the difference between multithreading and multitasking.

Difference Between Multithreading and Multitasking PDF

There is a primary difference between multithreading and multitasking. Multitasking allows users to execute multiple tasks at a time. At the same time, a program that supports multithreading can serve numerous users simultaneously without having to execute the same copy of the program on the computer more than once. Let us learn the difference between multithreading and multitasking.

Difference Between Multithreading and Multitasking

While multithreading facilitates the concurrent execution of several threads within a single process, multitasking allows the CPU to perform multiple tasks (threads, processes, programmes, and tasks). Variety of questions can be seen in the GATE exam as well from these topics. Let us now see the subtle difference between multithreading and multitasking.

Key Differences Between Multithreading and Multitasking



A task is divided into multiple threads and then executed completely.

It allows multiple tasks to execute on the CPU at the same time.

CPU switches between the threads of the process.

CPU switches between the processes.

Execution speed is faster because of threading.

Execution is comparatively slow than in multithreading environments.

Does not allow multiprocessing.

It allows multiprocessing.

They share the same memory space allocated by the system.

The system allocated separate memory and resources to the processes.

Completion or termination takes less time.

Completion or termination takes more time.

Multithreading and Multitasking

The fundamental limitation of single threading systems is that only one task can be carried out simultaneously. Multithreading, which enables the execution of many tasks, helps to address this limitation. The comprehensive multitasking feature of modern operating systems enables multiple programs to run simultaneously without interfering. Both Multithreading and Multitasking are important asper the GATE syllabus as well. 

What is Multithreading?

After checking the difference between multithreading and multitasking, let us discuss multithreading. The use of multithreading enables the application to split up its task into separate threads. Several threads can carry out the same process or task in multithreading, or we can say that the task is carried out by more than one thread. Multitasking is possible with the use of multithreading. This adds to the difference between multithreading and multitasking.

What is Multitasking?

The ability to run numerous programs simultaneously is a logical extension of a multiprogramming system. Multitasking in an operating system enables a user to handle multiple computer tasks simultaneously. Several activities are referred to as processes sharing similar processing resources, such as a CPU. You can switch between these jobs without losing any progress because the operating system monitors your performance in each of them. This reflects the subtle difference between multithreading and multitasking.

Additionally, a lot of operating system activities can operate concurrently. Multitasking is divided into two types:

  • Preemptive multitasking
  • Non-preemptive multitasking

Important GATE Topics


Fixed End MomentGravity Of Earth
Slope Deflection EquationCapacitors in Parallel
Capacitors in SeriesCarnot Cycle
Cement TestClamping Circuit
CMOS ConverterColumn Base


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FAQs on Difference Between Multithreading and Multitasking

  • The main difference between multitasking and multiprogramming is that Multiprogramming is the execution of numerous programs simultaneously on a single device while Multitasking occurs when a single resource is employed to carry out many tasks.

  • Multitasking in OS helps in executing more processes in the same amount of time, thereby increasing the overall throughput of the system. Another advantage is that it helps in increasing the efficient working of the CPU.

  • Well, the difference between multithreading and multitasking proves that if resources and memory are the main concern, then a multithreading environment is better than multitasking as threads share the same memory to access the data. Else if multiple programs need to be executed at the same time, then multitasking works best.

  • System resources are barely impacted by threads. Compared to a standard process, threads require less overhead to establish, maintain, and manage. Simplification of the program structure. Complex applications, such as server-class and multimedia applications, can benefit from having their structures streamlined using threads.

  • Even though only one CPU is used in multitasking, it appears as though all of the programs are running simultaneously since it switches between them so quickly. Preemptive and Non-preemptive multitasking are the two fundamental types.

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