What is a computer software?

In general we can say that software is a set of programs, procedures and documentation that have the ability to do some particular tasks on the computer system. Whereas all the physical components of the computer for e.g.:- the input storage, processing control and the output devices are known as hardware. When all these physical components linked together they form a working unit known as computer installation. Both hardware and software work in coordination as system. Nothing meaningful and useful can be done only with computer hardware or only with computer software.

To process data we have to feed some instructions that determine how the data is to be processed. These instructions that tell the computer to process information are known as software. Moreover other informations like when the data is to be processed, where to store its results and how they are to be printed etc. are also called as software. Computer software is of three types:-

1) System software
2) Utility or service software
3) Application software

All the programs, languages and documentation provided by the manufacturer along with the computer are system software. It is a group of programs and instructions that enable the user to control the operation of a computer system. System software contains the programs to start, read, store and execute application programs.

This is an interface between the user and computer. They are able to control all the operation needed to move the data in and out of the computer and the steps for executing an application program. Or in other words we can say that it supports the running of other software, hardware, CPU, peripherals etc.

They are categorized as follows:-
1) Operating system
2) Language translators

Operating system
Operating system is the first program that is to be loaded to random access memory (RAM) on any computer system. It acts as intermediate between the user and computer. It comprises of the collection of integrated set of special programs that work for the overall operations of computer.

Language translator
Computer understands only machine level binary language but it is very difficult for the user to write programs in machine level language. So the software required to convert the programs of high level language to machine level language before the execution of program is called translator software. Three types of translators are available – assembler, compiler and interpreter.

Utility software provides the service to facilitate the working of operating system or we can say that it helps or assists the user in organizing, maintaining and improve the work efficiency of computer.

It is classified in many categories like:-
1) File defragmantation
2) Data compression
3) Backup software
4) Data recovery software
5) Antivirus utility
6) Screen savers

File defragmantation
Whenever we save a file in the computer, the operating system allots it some contiguous sectors. But later on when we add some more data on the same file then the operating system stores that information somewhere else, where the sectors are available. So the file gets splited into pieces and its parts are fragmented. File defragmenter is a program that defragmant the files and hence speeds up the working of hard disk.

Data compression
Data compression software is used to compress data and they make the file as small as possible so that it occupies less space on the disk.

Backup software
It is the software used to copy files from hard disk to other storage media

Data recovery software
It is software that calls back the file that has been deleted from the disk. All deleted files are stored here until the user empties the recycle bin.

Antivirus utilities
This software finds the virus, tries to remove it and helps in the prevention of further spread. Example: – Mcafee, Norton antivirus.

Screen savers
It is a program that displays moving images on the screen if no work is done on it for several minutes. People use this software to protect their data from being seen by others when they are away from their computer. Different types of screen savers are available in the market.

These are the programs that are used to perform special functions or accomplish special tasks. Application software can do variety of tasks. Particular software can do a small work of word processing and other application software is used for a big purpose of reserving seats in the trains. So we can use application software according to our work or need.

They are of following types:-
1) Word processing software
2) Spreadsheets
3) Database management software
4) Graphics, multimedia and presentation software
5) Entertainment and education software
6) Communication software

Word processing software
We can say that it is a far better form of the typewriter. They make the user capable to change and correct the text easily furthermore allows to add graphics; change appearance of text etc. word processor allows the user to create almost any kind of document.

This software provides a large number of rows and columns and a user can view one portion at a time. User can put formulas, numbers and text on the worksheet and can easily change them according to requirement. It provides the facilities to create graphs and charts for more impressive presentation.

Database management software
This software helps in organizing and manipulating data like arranging the data in ascending or descending order, alphabetically, according to age etc.

Graphic, multimedia and presentation application
These are the programs that allow the user to create and manipulate the images using an electronic pointing device like mouse, light pen, pencil or brush. The best example for this is draw program or paint. In multimedia which is another application of graphics incorporates images, text, sound, animation and video. Presentation graphic allows the user to do professional visual work.

Entertainment and education software
These are the programs of games and tutorials. Education software is used to teach small kids by giving them simple and interesting examples.

Communication software
This is the software which enables the user to store information and data by creating a connection among the computers. Hardware devices like modems are used for this purpose along with the software. It is also called network software.

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