Hardware refers to all devices that are physically connected to a computer i.e. something that can be physically touched. Without any hardware, software would have nothing to run on.
Hardware is the physical part of a computer which includes the digital circuitry as distinguished from the computer software that only executes within the hardware. It starts functioning once software is loaded on it.
Hence, the input device, storage, output devices are hardware.
It is a general term used to describe a collection of computer programs, procedure and documentation that performs a series of task on a system. It is an ordered sequence of instructions for changing the state of computer hardware in a particular sequence. It is usually written in High level programing languages that are easier and efficient for humans to use and understand.
Software refers to planned step by step instructions required to convert data into information.
It may be classified as:
(1) System Software
It is a set of one or more programs designed to control the operation and extent of processing capabilities of a computer system.
It supports the development and execution of other applications software
It monitors the effective use of various hardware resources such as CPU, memory, peripherals
It communicates with and controls the operation of peripheral devices
Types – Operating System, Device drivers, Language Translators, System Utility Programs, Communication software
(2) Application Software – It is set of one or more programs, designed to solve a specific problem or perform a specific task.
There are various application software like:
Word processing Software
Spread sheet Software
Personal Assistance Software
(3) Utility Software – This is a connection link between system software and application software. These are used as specific tools to develop any program, to perform any task etc.
(4) Shareware – It is a public-domain software also known as shareware. They are available for free, or for a nominal charge. They can be downloaded and used immediately from the internet by anyone. A Shareware may or may have not developed by professionals and are not tested professionally for user usage. The main con of such software is that bug fixing may never take place in case of some software.
(5) Firmware – It refers to a sequence of instructions, which is substituted for hardware and stored in the read only memory. With the advancement in technology, now software is made available on ROM chips to reduce hardware cost. ROM chips can be easily plugged into the computer system, and they form a part of the hardware.
Computers are used for immediate data processing as well as for storing large volumes of data for future purposes. Therefore a computer uses two types of memory i.e. Main/Primary memory and Secondary memory.
The Storage location where the data is temporarily stored is called primary memory while secondary memory is the storage location where programs and data are permanently stored for future use.
The data and instructions stored in the primary memory can be directly accessed by the CPU, however information stored in the secondary memory has to be transferred to the primary memory with help of Input/output devices and is then sent to the CPU.