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Unformatted text preview: HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
In order for a computer to produce useful output, the hardware and software must work
together. Nothing useful can be done with the computer hardware on its own and
software cannot be utilized without supporting hardware.
To take an analogy, a cassette player and the cassettes purchased from market are
hardware. However, the songs recorded en the cassettes are its software. To listen to a
particular song, first of all that song has to be recorded on one of the cassettes which
should then be mounted on the cassette player and played. Similarly, to get a particular
job done by a computer, the relevant software should be loaded in the hardware before
processing starts. The following important points regarding the relationship between hardware and software
are brought out by this analogy:
1. Both hardware and software are necessary for a computer to do useful job. Both are
complementary to each other.
2. The same hardware can be loaded with different software to make a computer system
perform different types of jobs just as different songs can be played using the same
3. Except for upgrades (like increasing the main memory and hard disk capacities, or
adding speakers, modems, etc.), hardware is normally a one-time expense whereas
software is a continuing expense. Just as we buy new cassettes for the newly released
songs or for songs whose cassettes we do not have, similarly one buys new software to be
run on the same hardware as and when need arises or funds become available.
TYPES OF SOFTWARE
A wide variety of computer software is available today. Although the range of software
available is vast and varied, most software can be divided into two major categories:
1. System software, and
2. Application software
These two types of software along with a few examples of each type are described below.
System software is a set of one or more programs designed to control the operation and
extend the processing capability of a computer system. In general, a computer's system
software performs one or more of the following functions:
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- Spring '14