Computer Hardware and Software – Types, difference, and Usage.

Computer Hardware and Software

In this write up we will explain about Computer Hardware and Software. After going through this article you will be able to understand the types of hardware and software. Difference between hardware and software. Usage of Software and Hardware, parts of the computer, etc.

What is Computer Hardware?

Several components in a computer working together are called hardware. It consists of mechanical devices such as CPU, keyboard, mouse, speaker, monitor, printer, hard disk and so on. All these devices can be touched and felt.

What is Computer Software?

Computer software helps the computer to perform the task using programs. It is generally a language that a computer understands.

Software is a set of instructions that helps the user to interact with the computer.  Computer software and hardware go hand in hand. Without hardware, the software cannot work and vice versa.

computer Software

Different Types of Software

In the world of technology, we come across various software that help us to make our lives easier and help our business grow. Software plays a very important role in computer technology.

If there was no web browser software, we would not be able to access the internet on our computer.

  • System software – System software acts as a middle layer between the user and a computer. They communicate with all the hardware components in the computer and also control the CPU, memory and other devices. When we switch on the computer the system software is the first application that gets initialized and hence it manages the entire computer system. This system software is loaded in memory and keeps running in the background. Two main types of system software are the Operating system and utility software. Utility software is installed with an operating system. Both software is dependent on each other and does not work independently. Some of the utility software are compilers, editors and drivers.
  • Programming software – This software is usually used by computer programmers. Most of the internet applications use Java or PHP as a programming language. Using programming language all the software programs and applications are developed and tested.
  • Application software – Application software is generally used by the end-users to perform any task. MS Word or Powerpoint applications are designed for the user to write a document or prepare presentations. The apps that we find out mobiles or tablets are all application software. Software that is used in the banking domain, telephone, airline, railways, software industries, etc comes under application software.

Also Read :- Types of Digital Computers

Different Types of Hardware

There are a lot of hardware devices available but we need to select the right device with a correct specification to get the best performance results.

All the devices vary in size, cost, and specification. We need to choose the compatible one.

Computer Hardware and Software

Some of the different types of hardware are –

  • Input devices – With the help of these devices, data is provided to the computer. They feed the data such as text, image, sound and helps in file transfers between different devices and the computer.
  • Output devices – This is a device that converts information to a human-readable format.  These devices are normally used for display. It extracts the information from the computer and displays it to the user. The monitor is the most prominent output device.
  • Storage devices – These are the devices that help to store the data and are further subdivided into primary and secondary memory.RAM (Random Access Memory) is the primary memory and it retains data only when the computer is switched on. All the instructions are read and executed from the memory through the central processing unit and accelerated processing unit. Secondary memory does not directly communicate with the microprocessor. This type of memory is non-volatile and is subdivided into two categories. They are
  • Internal device – These devices are always placed on the computer. Eg – Hard disk
  • External device – These are external devices that are connected to the computer using plug and play. Eg – External hard disk
  • Internal components – These are the processing unit of the computer. They are generally called as brain of the computer. They send signals to all the other parts of the computer, thus controlling the entire computer system. This is usually termed as CPU. (Central Processing Unit)  CPU consists of three components
  • Memory or storage unit
  • Control unit
  • ALU(Arithmetic Logic Unit)

Examples of Computer Hardware and Software

Computer hardware consists of physical components in a computer and examples are as follows –

  • Input devices –Mouse, Keyboard, Touchpad, Scanners, Joystick, Webcam, etc.
  • Output devices – Monitor, Printer, Headphones, Speakers, etc.
  • Storage devices – Hard disk, DVD, etc.
  • Internal components – Motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc.

Following are the examples of Computer Software

  • System software – Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, compilers, translators, interpreters, etc.
  • Programming software – Android, Linux, C++, Java, Unix, etc.
  • Application software – Word processors, Database software, Multimedia software, Graphics software, etc.

Why do we need software?

In this era of software technology, the software is very useful and important in day to day life. Software is everywhere starting from TV, Mobile, Computers, Electrical appliances, Alarm clock, etc.

Software applications are developed to enhance our life. We make use of it on websites, simulators, electronic devices which helps us save time and money.

Who invented Software and Hardware?

Alan Turing is the first person who came up with the software theory. Charles Babbage is considered as ‘Father of the computer’. In the 19th century, he introduced the concept of programmable computers to the world.

Some of the software characteristics are as follows –

  • Maintainability
  • Portability
  • Functionality
  • Efficient
  • Usability
  • Reliability

Uses or Advantages of Software

The main advantage of computer software is that it reduces the cost of manual effort. Every software is designed for a specific use. Information can be saved, retrieved quickly using the software.

There are various types of software available in the market these days. Computer software is immensely used in education, work, offices, entertainment, medicine, law, airlines, railways, and many other fields.

Not to forget the computers and software have also introduced several harmful inventions like theft, hacking and computer viruses.

Statistically looking at all the uses of software in the modern era, there are a lot of benefits in the way we communicate, transact business.

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