Software vs. Hardware

Difference Between Software and Hardware

 

Computer Hardware comprises the physical form and parts of a computer that actually perform the data processing. These include the memory disks, peripheral devices and central processing unit. Software on the other hand is the set of instructions and codes that control all functions of the hardware, direct operations and all other related tasks. Examples of software include your internet browsers and the operating system Microsoft Windows. Both software and hardware are required for a computer to work.

Software and hardware are integral parts not just of computers, but of all other electronic devices such as cellular phones, iPods, and even satellite systems as well. They work together as a team in order to make these devices work. The physical form of the computer and these other devices is what we call hardware, while the programs that make them function are the software.

 

Hardware

 

All the computer components that we can actually see and touch are part of its hardware. Whether it’s inside the computer or outside, all are hardware as long as they actually exist and can be perceived by our senses. These often include the components that lie on the motherboard, the hard drives, RAMs, processors, CDs or DVDs, power supply, data cables, and peripheral devices like the mouse and keyboard. Without your computer hardware, you’d have no computer at all.

Software

 

In order to make your computer do what it’s supposed to, you will need software. Software and hardware work hand in hand to make your computer or digital device functional. It is the software that tells the hardware what to do and how to do it. Software or programs that command the hardware include operating systems like Microsoft, Macintosh, and Linux, and application programs like MS Office, Word and all the other applications that you usually use in a computer. You can think of software as the computer’s brain and the hardware as its body.

Differentiating Between the Two

 

Hardware will only function if software is already installed. On the other hand, software will not have anything to do its bidding and perform its instructions if there’s no hardware. Hardware components may also not matter whatever the software is. Most hardware can accommodate numerous, if not all, varieties of software.

The physical storage disk is part of the hardware, but the data stored in it is categorized as software. You can’t touch that data or see it cramped inside the memory disk just like all other software. Software is not tangible, unless you’re viewing it on your computer monitor. Hardware in the other hand is very tangible. The memory disk where the stored data are supposed to be is as solid as it gets.

Technological advancement also favors software. It’s like every year, a new version of your operating system comes out and almost every day you get new updates on your current OS. Companies that make OS are competing with each other, copying some, getting ahead some. Hardware advancements, on the other hand, are quite slower. It takes time to change your processor’s specifications or come up with a new hard drive that packs a larger storage capacity.

Bottom Line

 

The computer’s physical and tangible appearance comprises its hardware, while the software is the set of instructions that guide the hardware in performing its tasks. The two must be compatible with each other and despite their vast differences; both software and hardware are required in order for your computer to function properly.