At some point in your life, you may have heard the term hardware and software when referring to computer systems. You might have wondered what hardware and software are and what the difference is between them. If this question has ever crossed your mind, then you are in the right place! Computer systems are divided into two component categories: hardware and software.
Hardware is the physical component of a computer and is considered any part of the computer we can physically touch! Hardware encompasses all the parts used to build a computer. Hardware is manufactured because it is a real physical and tangible thing in the world. Some examples of hardware are the keyboard, mouse, CPU, RAM, hard disk, monitor, printer, ROM, sound card, and more! The monitor or phone screen you may be reading this article on at this very moment is hardware! Cool right? The four main components of hardware are the input devices, output devices, storage, and internal components which all work together to run your computer, laptop, phone, or any electrical device. However, hardware cannot perform any useful tasks without software!
Computer software is everything you cannot really see, but you see every time you use a piece of technology. The software performs a specific function! Some examples of this are when accessing the internet, sending an email, and opening and using documents. Software is the term used to describe the collection of computer programs designed to perform a task. Software is essentially a sequence of instructions which tells a computer, phone, or device what to do and when to do it. There are two different types of software.
System software allows for the operation, control, and processing capability of a computer. System software is quintessential for hardware and other applications to function. Where the hardware is like the body, the system software is like the beating heart or brain of a computer. Without a heart or brain, the computer body is just an assembly of parts.
Application software is software which allows you, a user, to achieve a specific task or requirement. Without the specific application software, you would not be able to finish the task you set out to do. Examples of this are creating a PowerPoint. System software allows you to download the ability to use PowerPoint and open up the PowerPoint software. The application software allows you to create a PowerPoint. Excel allows you to create a spreadsheet. Internet browsers are considered application software because the internet helps you achieve the goal of accessing the information when you need it! Microsoft products, Adobe products, and even video games are application software! Application software is like the senses, you can function without sight, but eyes help you see! Alternatively, a similar type of application software is called utility software, utility software functions similar to application software, but its task includes anti-virus programs and disk management.
Now your burning question about the differences between hardware and software has been answered! We know the hardware of a system is tangible, while the software of a system is intangible. Hardware is manufactured while the software is developed using a programming language. Hardware and software are two sides of a coin, very different in the description but completely reliant on each other to function! You cannot utilize the software without a computer and a computer cannot function without the software telling it what to do!