Technology Basics: Hardware versus Software

post8 - Technology Basics: Hardware versus Software

Hardware and software are the things we need to work on computers. Generally, you need both to successfully use a computer as they work together. A very basic distinction between hardware and software is that hardware can be seen and touched while software cannot. Let’s have a closer look at the difference between software and hardware.


Definition: Hardware refers to physical devices that make up your computer and that is needed to make the software work. It can be touched and seen.

Examples: monitor, keyboard, motherboard, processor, mouse, hard drives, power supply, graphics card, sound card, modem, printer, speakers, DVD-ROM, smartphone, tablet, etc.

So, if you are reading this article, you probably have all or some of these things right now – computer screen, keyboard, and mouse. You can’t necessarily see the motherboard or CPU, but it’s there. Hardware is the physical stuff and as things go with the physical, it has a tendency to get old and wear out. There are different moving parts that form part of the computer hardware and these can get worn out and break. Luckily, replacing hardware is generally easy.

If you are unsure about what exactly your computer’s hardware consists of, you can download free hardware detection tools to help you find out.


Definition: Software refers to the things that we cannot see, but trust to happen. Software is written in a coding language and we cannot see or touch this code. It can be copied, shared, and deleted unlike hardware.

Examples: internet browser, operating system, word processor, video and photo editor, Photoshop, music player, printer software, games, instant messaging, etc.

You’re still reading this article, so you are using software. You are using an operating system for your computer or smartphone, internet browser, and maybe a music player. Any program that you installed on your computer from a disk, the internet or flash drive, is software. Software makes it possible for the computer to perform certain functions or tasks. Hardware is the stuff that makes it possible to use the software.

Hardware and Software for Businesses

Most businesses in the world use a computer in some form. Large corporations may have thousands of computers and a small startup may only have one or two, but every business needs one. Choosing hardware and software for your business is very important and you should make sure you know what exactly you need. The hardware and software your business needs will depend on the nature of your business, daily operations, and so forth.

Hardware versus software is maybe the wrong way to have entitled this post as they actually need to work together and not opposite each other. Technically, a computer can work without software as long as it has an operating system. However, without specific software applications, you won’t be able to browse the internet, type documents, edit photos, listen to music or watch movies, or draw.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what the difference is between hardware and software. A better understanding of your computer system is always a good thing.

6 Hardware Detection Tools for Your Computer

post6 - 6 Hardware Detection Tools for Your Computer

Computer hardware is necessary for any complete computer experience. Knowing what you have and the specs involved is necessary for updates and repairs. Without the necessary hardware, the software would be useless.

If you want to find out exactly what type of hardware you have on your computer, you need to make use of hardware detection tools. These tools will tell you about your processor, memory speeds, motherboard chipset, graphics card and more.

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System Spec – This tool displays all the hardware that it detects as well as all the information about the specs for each. There are more in-depth details available for the CPU, sound, memory, USB and more. The tool offers different menus.

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HWInfo– This is one of the most popular and most downloaded hardware detection tools and for good reason. It offers very comprehensive information about every possible hardware component.

It will give you information about the CPU, temperatures, speeds, displays, memory, graphics, etc. There are some differences between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions, so check these before downloading.

HWInfo is free to download.

Speccy– Different versions of Speccy are available for download. It gives you information about clock speeds, frequencies, and all the other hardware stuff you want to know.

System Information for Windows (SIW) – As the name says, this tool is specifically for Windows operating systems. It displays all the hardware information you want as well as extra information about Windows and other software components.

It will also give you some information about your network activity and also offers tests for speed, bandwidth monitors, etc. and recently featured in bandwidth monitoring suggetions along with about 10 other products that are similar.

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BlackBox– BlackBox displays comprehensive information on the hardware components of your laptop or computer and also about other hardware devices that are installed. It is easy to understand and can be used by anyone.
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PC Wizard – This is another very popular tool that is free to download. It offers more and different features than most other tools.

Apart from the normal display of hardware detected and each component’s information, this tool also offers tests for specific computer systems.

You can check everything from temperatures to fan speeds and you can even pull up usernames and passwords.

Some of these hardware detection tools are only compatible with certain versions of operating systems. When looking for downloads, make sure to check the compatibility.

These tools are available for free download but you will find them on different sites and some have more than one version. Check the details before downloading.

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