What Software Is Used on a Computer?

Patrick Burnett

A computer is an electronic device that can perform numerous tasks, from browsing the web to managing complex financial transactions. To accomplish these tasks, a computer relies on a variety of software programs. In this article, we will explore the different types of software used on a computer.

Operating System Software

The operating system (OS) is the most critical software installed on a computer. It manages the hardware resources of the computer and provides a platform for other software programs to run. Examples of popular operating systems include Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Application Software

Application software refers to programs that users install on their computers to perform specific tasks. Some examples of application software include word processors, spreadsheets, email clients, web browsers, and media players.

Word Processors

Word processors are used for creating and editing documents. They allow users to add text, images, tables and format them in various ways. Popular word processors include Microsoft Word and Google Docs.


Spreadsheets are used for managing numerical data and performing calculations. They allow users to create tables with formulas that automatically update when data is changed. Popular spreadsheet programs include Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

Email Clients

Email clients are used for sending and receiving emails. They allow users to compose messages, attach files, organize emails into folders or labels and manage multiple email accounts from one interface. Popular email clients include Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.

Web Browsers

Web browsers are used for browsing the internet. They allow users to access websites by entering URLs or search terms into an address bar. Popular web browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.

Media Players

Media players are used for playing audio or video files. They allow users to play files locally stored on their computers or stream them from the internet. Popular media players include VLC and Windows Media Player.

Utility Software

Utility software programs are used to perform maintenance tasks on a computer. Examples of utility software include antivirus programs, disk defragmenters, and backup tools.

Antivirus Programs

Antivirus programs are used to protect computers from viruses, malware, and other threats. They scan files and monitor network traffic to detect and remove malicious software. Popular antivirus programs include Norton Antivirus and McAfee.

Disk Defragmenters

Disk defragmenters are used to optimize the performance of a computer’s hard drive. They reorganize files on the hard drive so that they are stored in contiguous blocks, reducing the time it takes for the computer to access them.

Backup Tools

Backup tools are used to create copies of important data stored on a computer. They allow users to restore lost or corrupted data in case of hardware failure or other disasters. Popular backup tools include Carbonite and Acronis True Image.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, a computer relies on various types of software programs to perform tasks ranging from browsing the web to managing complex financial transactions. Operating systems provide a platform for other software programs to run, while application software allows users to perform specific tasks like word processing or email management.

Utility software is used for maintenance tasks like virus protection or data backup. Understanding the different types of software can help users choose the right programs for their needs and ensure that their computers run smoothly.