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difference betwen hardware and software

What is the difference between hardware and software?

This is one of those basic questions that everyone needs to know. It’s easy to answer at some point, but when it gets more detailed, you may find it a little harder than you think.

In simple words, the hardware is a concrete component of a computer. You can see it because it is a physical part of the computer. And more generally, anything you can touch in a computer is hardware. And it’s not just what is used in the machine. It can be a mouse or keyboard which are not inside of the computer, but they work with it and they are hardware, too.

On the other hand, the software is something totally different. Software is a collection of programming codes that tells your computer how to operate a task. It’s made of some instructions, procedures, and commands that are written in a programming language. a computer reads them and translates them into action. Software is not touchable, but you may be able to touch it when it’s on a CD or a DVD. You shouldn’t get confused about it. A CD is just a medium to store the codes.

How do software and hardware work together?
They are interdependent. The software needs hardware to be installed on and the hardware needs a task to do its job. This is how they complete each other.

What are different types of hardware?
The hardware usually is divided into 4 main types:

  • Input devices
  • Output devices
  • Secondary storage devices
  • Internal components

Now let’s have a closer look at each one of them.

Input devices

The components that send data to your machine are called input devices. For example, a keyboard is an input device. You press a key and your computer does what that button means. There is not just one way to interact with your computer. As you see, a mouse lets you control the machine, too. You move it and the cruiser moves on the screen. Some other examples of input devices are scanners, microphones, light pens, etc.

what is hardware?
different types of hardware

Output devices

The parts of the machine which receive data from it are output devices. These parts are crucial to help you interact with the computer. The monitor is one of the examples. It receives the data from your machine and shows them to the user. It’s necessary for the user to be able to know what s/he is doing. Output devices are here to change this monologue to a dialogue between the user and the machine. Other examples of output devices are speakers and printers.

Secondary storage devices

These parts of the machine store the data unless they are deleted. They keep the data permanently. It means when you turn off the machine, the data on these parts won’t be deleted. CD, DVD, Hard disc, Floppy disc, and SSD are some examples of secondary storage devices.

Internal components

Internal components are the most important parts of a computer. They do the main job: processing. But it’s not the only thing they do. These parts worth having a more accurate look at.

· CPU: CPU or Central Processing Unit is the main part of any computer. It executes the processing and it’s divided into two parts: The arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) and the Control Unit (CU). While the first one does the mathematic calculation and logic part, the latter is responsible to control signals to match other parts of the machine.

· RAM: RAM stands for Random Access Memory and has a crucial part alongside CPU. This part stores the data, programs, and other data that the CPU needs to perform a task. For this, the amount of RAM is an important factor in computer performance. Some people may ask if it is necessary to have a RAM when there are other parts to store the data. The point is it takes more time when the CPU needs to access the data on, for example, a floppy. When there is RAM, it will be used as the primary storage. It holds the data temporarily but presents them to the CPU at a higher speed. And with the term, temporarily, we mean when you turn off the computer, the data on RAM will be deleted.

·ROM: And there is ROM which stands for Read Only Memory. The data on this part can’t be written and it’s a nonvolatile memory. This part keeps the required data that the computer needs to start.

· Motherboard: Motherboard is a platform for other components. It connects CPU, RAM, HDD, and other parts to each other through cables and ports.

What are different types of software?

There are three main types of software and we are going to check them out.

System software

This kind of software contains the codes which operate, extend, and control the processing of the computer. The codes sync the activities of other parts and run them. Computer manufacturers usually develop system software. C, C++, and Assembly language are common programming languages to do so.

what is software
what is software?

The operating system, compilers, assemblers, interpreters, and device drivers are some examples of system software. The operating system is the most important system software. This software performs task management, file handling, memory management, hardware management, and many other tasks. An assembler translates the assembly language (or low-level language) to machine code. The compilers and interpreters convert the high-level language of programs into machine code. And the device drivers control and monitor the operational matters in some specific devices like scanners.

Application software

This kind of software is developed to do some specific task for the user. For instance, Microsoft Word lets users create word documents. Or browsers help users surf the internet.

Programming software

This one is only used by programmers to write the codes and programs they want. 

But there is another type of software, too.
There is another type of software called utility software. This kind of software is something between those two types and assists the computer to execute the tasks easier or better. Examples of utility software are antivirus programs, file management tools, and boosters.

What is firmware?

Firmware is another type of software that provides low-level control for specific hardware of the computer. For example, some codes inside a printer work alongside the drivers to make it work. 

Can a computer work without software?

first of all, you should clarify what do you mean by “work”? It can be turned on, but can’t do anything special. If there is no operating system software or interpreter, the machine will show an Error message or even nothing. An operating system comes in handy in these situations to help the machine and the user interact with each other.

Can a computer work without hardware?

let’s put it this way: Can a car work without its lights? What about without a motor?

Some parts are crucial for the computer to work. Those parts are the power supply, processor, memory, motherboard, display, hard drive, and keyboard. But even having all of these components, you can’t use your computer’s full potential unless you have some other parts. For example, VGA, network card, sound card, mouse, modem, etc.

Comparison chart

 Devices that are required to execute or run the software.A collection of codes and instructions that enable a user to interact with the computer.
typesInput, output, secondary storage, and internal devices.System software, application software, and programming software,
functionHardware work to run the codes of the software. If there is an operational goal, there must be some commands and something to execute the commands. Hardware does the execute part.The software contains some commands that are programmed to do a certain task. These commands will be done by the hardware components.
examplesMonitor, printer, scanner, keyboard, CPU, VGA, etc.Examples of software are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Google Chrome, notepad, file manager, paint, etc.
failureHardware failures are random and as they get older, failures occur more often.Software failures are systematic and it’s not dependent on the time of the usage.
physical conditionConcrete. You can see and touch it because it is a physical concept.Something logical. It is a set of codes that need a physical platform to be able to deliver the job.
durabilityWears out over time.It’s not physical, so time doesn’t affect it. Although, some bugs appear in software as time passes.
dependencyThe hardware can start without software (not all of them), but they can’t do expected duty without them.The software needs to be installed on the hardware.
developmentDeveloped using electronics and other materials like plastics and metals.Developed by writing instructions using a programming language.

Hardware and software are both necessary for a computer to function. None of these can work independently and they need each other. The difference between software and hardware is that hardware is something tangible and software is intangible.

Don’t forget that dewzilla builds responsive and engaging mobile apps for every industry, every platform and every user. If you needed any help, it’s easy to reach us.

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