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.

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.

Software

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.

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