What is a Computer System?
A computer system consists of software and hardware components that work together. The Input devices, Output devices, and the Central Processing Unit which is also called the CPU are basically considered as computer hardware while the software is a set of instructions that can be stored and run by hardware. In short, all physical components such as Monitor, CPU, mouse, Keyboard, etc can be considered as Hardware which you can touch and feel by hand.
We recently published a complete article on Types of Computer Hardware which will provide you an indepthh knowledge.
What is Computer Software?
A computer is nothing but pieces of wires and metals without Software. Software comprises the whole set of programs, procedures, and routines associated with the operation of a computer system. Basically, software instructs and tell a computer what to do.
The Computer Software on the other hand can be considered as the method we used to communicate with the Hardware components. Therefore Software instructs and guides the operations of a Computer system to function. Unlike Hardware, Software is intangible, that means cannot be touched or seen. Examples are the music and video files, games you play, the documents you create make up the software component. But there are really important Software or Program that keeps the Computer running. Let’s look at them next.
Types of Computer Software
As I mentioned in the above examples, there are various Software programs exists in the Computer. To begin with, all software mentioned such as audio and video players, word processing software, etc are called as Application Software. These software are applied to perform a general task for users.
Classification of Computer Software
Let’s look at the below illustration that describes the types of Software used.
The System Software as it called controls the overall operations of a Computer System. They are further identified as :
- Operating System
- Language Processor
- Utility Software
Combined together these Software makes the Computer functional. Let’s see each type in detail.
The Oeprating System is also called the OS in short. The Operating System as it’s name implies is the most important and basic software exist on any Computer System. The Operating System acts as the main interface between the user and the Computer Hardware.
Some examples are :
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple Mac OS
- Linux OS
The Micrsoft Windows is the most popular Operating System nowadays and it makes up the major portion of the whole market share. Refer to below table that illustrates the figures from the marketshare.com.
Desktop Operating System Market Share
Mobile Operating System Market Share
Basic functions of Operating Systems
- It provides an an environment to utilize Computer Hardware components in an efficient manner.
- It acts as the Resource Manager. A Computer system has many resources such as CPU, memory, I/O devices. The Operating System allocates these resources to specific programs and applications as necessary.
- It let’s you create and manage files and fodlers for storing and organizing information efficiently.
- It provides user security and access levels.
- It manages the Computer performance.
Since computers are electronic machines, it can only understand electricity that flows through it using two states, they are ON (Represented by 1) and OFF (Represented by 0). Similarly, the Binary language consists of two digits; 0 (Zero) and 1 (One). These Binary Digits are called bits. Therefore computers use instructions written in this Binary Language to operate. This is also called the Machine Language as it’s the only language Computers can intepret.
Currently there are many Computer Languages used by us daily. These Computer Languages vary from each other and has evolved towards Natural languages which are more convenient for humans. Some example of high-level Computer languages are C, C++, C#, Java, Python, etc
The job of the Language Processor is to make a bridge between these two ends. That means, the Language Processor is a Software that translates code written in High-level computer languages in to Machine readable Binary language.
As it denotes, Utility software are programs designed for maintenance or housekeeping work within a Computer System to ensure it operates smoothly.
Some popular examples are Anti-virus software, Disk Defragmentor, Backup Utilities, etc
An Anti-virus software is a special program that prevents unintended change, system crash, performance issue, etc trigered by harmful programs affecting the normal operations of a computer.
Harmful programs are generally known as Computer Viruses, Worms, Spyware, Malware, Ransomware, etc that disrupts normal functions of a Computer System. A harmful program may be invisible and may reside in the Computer affecting other Software.
The Anti-virus software will scan through the computer memory and storage to identify dangerous programs and remove them. Some Anti-Virus software will quarantine suspected programs or files if it is unable to remove it.
Some examples of popular Antivirus Software are :
- Nortan Anti-Virus
- Bit Defender
Microsoft Windows is the most affected Operating System by harmful programs because it has the highest market share. Microsoft Windows has it’s own anti-Virus Software called Defender by default. On the other hand, Linux Operating Systems are less vulnerable to harmful programs.
The Backup Utility software enables to keep a copy of the original data on the harddisk or elsewhere to prevent accidental loss or system crashes.
Disk Defragmentor - Disk Management Software
Disk Defgradmentor as a Disk Management Software helps to keep the data organized, improve data retrieval and improves overall performance of the Computer System.
Generally, data is not written on the same place of the disk but scattered across different locations. This is due to methods used by certain storage media like Harddisks to store data.
Disk Defragmentor speeds up the access of data on the Hardisk by rearranging the files and the free space. Fles will be arranged in nearby locations and the free space will be combined together to form contigous blocks speeding up the data retrieval.
Microsoft Windows shipepd with a Defragmentor software by default.
An application Software as the name implies, is a set of programs designed to help end users perform a specific task. For example, a Word Processing Software.
The Application Software makes the Computer versatile. There are thousands of Application software created for various purposes. Based on the purpose there are two types Application Software.
- General Purpose Application Software
- Specific Purpose Application Software
General Purpose Application Software
As it is clear, these types of Software developed to serve many people and therefore functions are standardised.
Exmples are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice.org Writer, OpenOffice.org Base, OpenOffice.org Calc, etc
Types of Gneral Purpose Application Software
- Word Processing Applications
- Spreadsheet applications
- Presentation Application
- Database Management Systems (DBMS)
- Desktop Publishing (DTP) Applications
- Multimedia Applications
Word Processing Applications
This type of Software facilitates in creating, editing, formatting and printing texts and graphics. They are used to create text based documents such as letters, reports, etc
Exmples are Microsoft Word, OpenOffice.org Writer, etc
This type of Software facilitates in working with data values and calculations. Spreadsheet applications uses a sheet called a Worksheet that consists of Rows & Columns. They also support Charts.
Exmples are Lotus 123, Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice.org Calc,
Database Management Systems (DBMS) Applications
Unlike Spreadsheet applications, DBMS support a large volume of data storage and manipulations more efficiently.
Examples are DBase, FoxPro, Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, OpenOffice.org Base, etc
This type of Software used to create and design slide shows and multimedia presentations.
Examples are Microsoft PowerPoint, OpenOffice.org Impress, etc
Specific Purpose Application Software
There are Software developed for specific purposes targeting specific organization or people. They are also called Customized Software.
For example Payroll Software, Inventory Control Systems, Point of Sale (POS) applications, etc
Relationship between Hardware & Software
We mentioned at the begining that Softwares makes a Computer System operational. As we went through different types of software and it’s applications, let’s have a look at how both are related and function together.
A computer system consists of software and hardware components that work together. The Input devices, Output devices, and the Central Processing Unit which is also called the CPU are basically considered as computer hardware while the software is a set of instructions that can be stored and run by hardware. In this article we will discuss in detail about hardware components and how they function.
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