Software is the set of instructions that tells the computer what to do and when to do it. The computer uses this instruction to manipulate data, and enhance the proper functioning of the hardware components. It is designed to exploit and provide the potential capabilities of the hardware to the user. It converts data into information and allows users to use the computer in different ways.
Computer programs are written by human beings, like you. This means that the person who writes a program also decides on its functionality and behavior; which explains why two programs that are supposed to do the same thing, don’t do it the same way. This is why, regardless of your expertise, you need to be acquainted with a particular program in order to make better use of it. The fact that you don’t know a particular program
doesn’t say anything about your intelligence or lack of it. It simply means that you are not familiar with that program.
These programs are usually stored and transferred via the computerís hardware to and from the CPU. Software also governs how the hardware is utilized; for example, how information is retrieved from a storage
device. The interaction between the input and output devices is controlled by software called the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) Software. Software as a whole can be divided into a number of categories based on the types of work done by programs. The two primary software categories are system software and application software.
There are two main types of software: systems software and application software. Systems software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself, such as the operating system, file management utilities, and disk operating system (or DOS)
This refers to set of programs that facilitate the optional use of the hardware systems by coordinating
them. It consists of programs that start up the computer and perform some utility functions such as checking and
getting the computer ready for use. They are usually written to accomplish loading, execution, storage, and
retrieval of files from/into the computer. They are basically an operating systems, utility software, and language translators.
An operating system is a program that acts as an intermediary between the application programs and the
computer hardware.You cannot directly use computer applications (or programs) with computer hardware
without a translation system between the hardware and the applications. This translation system is called the
operating system (OS). The Windows or Mac OS works ìbehind-the-scenesî to run your computer (i.e. the
software and the hardware). It tells the computer what to do when it starts up and keeps track of your
documents, files, and other software. It also provides the standard user interface component (like menus and the
desktop) that you see when you look at your computer screen. Both the Windows and the Mac OS operating
systems use a graphical interface (pictures or icons instead of text) that allow you to immerse yourself in
multitasking (accessing multiple applications and files simultaneously). You work with ìwindowsî in this
interface. These windows are a series of boxes, which can be opened and closed as needed.
We shall be using Microsoft Windows Operating System as it is the most common on the personal
computers. There are various types of Microsoft Windows. A type of Microsoft Windows is referred to as a
version. Examples of versions are Microsoft Windows 3.3, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows NT
Workstation, Microsoft Windows NT Server, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Microsoft Windows Millennium, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional, and Microsoft Windows Server
Operating System Components
- Process management
- Memory management
- File management
- Secondary storage management
- System Protection
- Command-interpreter system
Application Software is a computer program designed to help people perform a certain type of task. An
application thus differs from an operating system (which runs a computer), a utility (which performs
maintenance or general-purpose tasks), or a language translator (with which computer programs are created). Depending on the work for which it was designed, an application can manipulate text, numbers, graphics, or a
combination of these elements. Some application packages offer considerable computing power by focusing on
a single task, such as word processing, spreadsheet, graphics, and a database program.