Difference Between Hardware and Software


Computer hardware refers to the physical parts of a computer system. The hardware includes the electronic circuits that make up the CPU, RAM and registers, and any peripheral devices like video cards or hard disks.


Computer software is any set of coded instructions designed to cause a computer to perform a specific function or tasks. The source code that makes up the program can be written in one of many programming languages, which often use standard programming language syntax and style conventions.

Differences between computer hardware and computer software

Computer hardware Computer software
Hardware is the physical part of a system. It is what you see, touch, and hear.Software are set of instructions that tell a computer how to perform tasks.
Hardware components includes the processor, RAM, hard drive, motherboard, motherboard connectors and ports etc.Software includes OS (operating system), applications and drivers/applications etc.  
Hardware does not require software to function.Software is an application that runs on a machine (such as a computer or smartphone).
Hardware can be upgraded over timeSoftware can be stored on a hard drive or CD-ROM and loaded into memory when needed.
Hardware is usually mass producedSoftware does require hardware for it to run properly
Hardware can be reusedSoftware runs on those physical objects.
Hardware can’t be copied and it’s easier to repair than softwareSoftware can only be updated through new versions of the operating system or applications.
Hardware is the physical objects that you use to run your softwareSoftware has to be installed before it can be used,
 Software is usually custom made for each specific task or purpose.
 Software must be discarded after use or sold when it becomes obsolete.
 Software is usually created for a specific purpose, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. However, it can also be used to solve problems in science, engineering and business, which cannot easily be solved by other means using traditional human knowledge or skills.  

Frequently asked questions

1. What are computer software examples?

Computer software is a broad term that covers many different kinds of software. Computer software can be divided into two main categories, which are user applications and system utilities.

User applications are designed to help people use computers and the Internet in their daily lives. Examples of user applications include word processing programs, spreadsheets and presentations programs, email clients, web browsers and media players. User applications help users do things such as create documents or send emails.

System utilities provide support for operating systems (OS) and hardware components. System utilities may be required by applications that run on the OS to perform specific tasks related to the application’s functionality or appearance. For example, an email client needs a file transfer utility to transfer files from one location to another on your computer or mobile device.

2. What are the components of computer software?

The basic components of computer software are:

Data: The data is the information stored in the computer. This may be numeric, alphanumeric or textual data.

Program: A program is the set of instructions that an operator uses to interact with a computer or other device. A program can be stored on a disk, tape or CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory).

Input/output devices: These are used to input and output data from/to a computer system that stores data on magnetic media such as tapes and disks. They include keyboards, mice, printers and disk drives etc.

Operating system: An operating system manages all applications running on a computer system by providing services such as scheduling tasks, memory management etc.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the key differences between software and hardware. Software typically focuses on manipulating data and information, while hardware is more concerned with physical operations.

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