Difference between Hardware and Software

When we are asked to imagine a computer system, we generally think of a box known as a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and some electronic circuitry. But, computers are much more than this.

A computer system consists of two important parts known as hardware and software. In layman’s terms, the part of a system that we can touch, feel, and see is known as hardware.
Whereas the software is a part of a computer system that can’t be seen, touched, or feel but it tells the computer system how to operate the hardware.

Moving ahead in this article we will get to know more about the difference between hardware and software.

What is Hardware?

Hardware is a physical part of the computer that can be felt, touched, and houses various other parts of a computer system. i.e. memory, processors, peripheral devices, etc. Hardware is tangible. Thus every system requires hardware to execute the desired function of software and store the information.

Types of Hardware

Hardware can be divided into 4 groups-

  1. Input Devices
  2. Output Devices
  3. Internal Components
  4. Secondary Storage Devices

Input Devices – These are the electromechanical devices that are used to deliver the input taken from the user to the computer. Some examples of the input devices are Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick, etc.

  • Keyboard – It is used to feed texts and commands to the computer.
  • Mouse – It is used to control the position of the cursor on the screen.
  • Joystick – It moves in all directions and controls the movement of the cursor on the screen.

Output Devices – These are another set of peripheral devices that shows the output of the data fed via input devices. Some examples of output devices are monitors, Printers, etc.

  • Monitor – Monitor displays the video or data visuals from the computer.
  • Printer – It helps to print the data on paper.

Internal Components – These are parts usually hidden under the computer unit and are the core of the computer system. Some examples consist of CPU, RAM, ROM, motherboard, etc.

Secondary Storage Devices:- These devices are used to store the data permanently. These are external devices and can be moved freely. Some examples are SSDs, Hard Disk, etc.

What is Software?

Software is a set of instructions that tells a computer to perform a specific task or set of tasks.

The software can be classified into various categories depending on the nature of the source code, accessibility, and the basis of applications.

Types of Software

The two major types of software are-

  • System Software
  • Application Software

System Software – System Software is developed to act as a base to control the hardware and provide an interface for other software applications. These are the interface between the hardware and end-users. Examples of system software are – operating systems, device drivers, language translators, etc.

Application Software – These are also called end-user software. These are developed to perform specific tasks. Application Software can be classified into various categories on the basis of its use, availability, and several other parameters but we have broadly classified the application software into two types:

  • General Purpose Software These are designed to serve a large number of end-users. And are of low cost. Examples: MS Word, Notepad, Gmail, etc.
  • Custom Made Software – These are the software that is designed to serve specific user needs. These are a bit expensive. Examples. Web Application, Mobile Application.

We have already covered the software and its types comprehensively in our other article  Software And Its Types. Now, let us move to our key topic which is the difference between hardware and software.

Differences between Hardware and Software

1.DefinitionHardware is a set of physical elements of a computer system.Software is a set of instructions that tells a computer to perform a specific task or set of tasks.
2.NatureTangible in nature.Intangible in nature.
4.FunctionalityProvides a platform for the operation of computer software.Enables the user to complete different tasks with the help of software.
5.DevelopmentWith the help of electronic components.With the help of Programming language.
6.Construction of ProcessorManufacturedDeveloped
7.Virus AttackNot affected by the virusThe virus can damage software.
8.ReplacementEasy to replaceNeeds reinstallation using a backup copy.
9.Wear Ans TearDepreciates Over TimeDoesn’t depreciate. However, the bug may come.
10.ExamplesMouse, Keyboard, Printer, Joystick, etc.Whatsapp, Chrome, MS Office, etc.

Computer Hardware and Software are inter dependable on each other. However, hardware can run without the software but vice versa is not true. That’s all about the major differences between hardware and software.

This article is written by ArtOfTesting team member – Rahul Singh. He is a tech enthusiast and an avid learner.

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