What Is Computer Software and Its Types?

Patrick Burnett

Computer software is a set of instructions and programs that tell a computer what to do. It is an essential component of any computing system and enables us to perform various tasks on our devices. In this article, we will discuss what computer software is and its different types.

What is computer software?

Computer software, simply put, is a collection of programs that enable a computer to perform specific tasks. It consists of instructions that are written in programming languages like Java, C++, Python, etc. These instructions are then translated into machine language so that the computer can understand and execute them.

There are two main categories of software- System Software and Application Software.

System Software

System software refers to the programs that manage the hardware components of a computer system. It provides a platform for running application software and manages tasks like memory allocation, input-output operations, security management, etc. Some examples of system software include:

  • Operating Systems: An Operating System (OS) acts as an interface between the user and the hardware components. It manages all the resources of a computer system and provides services such as file management, memory management, process management, security services, etc. Examples: Windows 10, MacOS.
  • Device Drivers: Device drivers are small programs that allow hardware components like printers or scanners to communicate with the operating system. They act as intermediaries between the hardware device and the OS.
  • Firmware: Firmware refers to a type of system software that resides on non-volatile memory chips on devices such as printers or routers. It provides low-level control over hardware devices.

Application Software

Application software refers to programs designed for specific purposes such as word processing or graphic designing. They run on top of the operating system and use its services to perform tasks. Some examples of application software include:

  • Productivity software: Productivity software refers to programs that help users perform tasks like creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. Examples: Microsoft Office, Google Docs.
  • Media Players: Media players are software applications that allow users to play audio and video files on their devices. Examples: VLC Player, Windows Media Player.
  • Graphics Software: Graphics software enables users to create and manipulate images or designs. Examples: Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW.


In conclusion, computer software is a crucial component of any computing system. It can be broadly classified into two categories- system software and application software.

System software manages the hardware components of a computer system while application software runs on top of the operating system and performs specific tasks like word processing or graphic designing. Understanding the different types of computer software can help users choose the right programs for their needs and make the most out of their computing devices.