When it comes to differentiating between computer hardware and software, it’s essential to understand what each term means. Computer hardware refers to the physical components of a computer, such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and central processing unit (CPU). On the other hand, computer software is a set of programs that enable a computer to perform specific tasks.
There are various types of computer software available in the market today. However, not everything that runs on a computer is considered software. Let’s take a look at some things that are not software before we dive into what exactly constitutes as software.
A mouse or keyboard connected to your computer cannot be considered as software because they are physical components. Similarly, an operating system like Microsoft Windows or Mac OS cannot be classified as software either. It is instead categorized as system software since it provides the fundamental functions necessary for running other applications.
So what exactly constitutes as computer software? Computer software refers to any program or application that runs on a computing device. Software can be categorized into two main categories: application software and system software.
Application Software comprises various programs designed to perform specific tasks or solve particular problems for users. An example of application software includes Microsoft Office Suite which includes Word Processor (Microsoft Word), Spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel), Presentation Tool (Microsoft PowerPoint), and Database Management System (Microsoft Access).
System Software refers to the operating systems and other low-level programs that interact with hardware directly. Examples of system softwares include Microsoft Windows OS, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems.
Other examples of computer softwares include Graphics Designing tools like Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, Multimedia players like VLC & iTunes, Web Browsers like Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox.
In conclusion, there are several types of computer programs available in the market today. However, not everything that runs on a computing device can be classified as a computer program.
By definition, a program must be designed with specific instructions to perform a particular task. So, the next time you’re unsure if something can be considered software, ask yourself if it’s a program designed to perform a specific task on your computer.