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Difference between Hardware and Software

Last Updated : 27 Apr, 2023
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Pre-Requisite: Computer Hardware, Computer Software

Computer Hardware and Software, both are essential parts of a Computer System. In short, Hardware and Software make a System compatible with the user. In this article, we are going to discuss the basic differences between Computer Hardware and Computer Software.

Components of Computer

Components of Computer

Computer Hardware

Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer. Computer Hardware is any part of the computer that we can touch these parts. These are the primary electronic devices used to build up the computer. Examples of hardware in a computer are the Processor, Memory Devices, Monitor, Printer, Keyboard, Mouse, and Central Processing Unit. 

Types of Computer Hardware

1. Input Devices: Input Devices are those devices through which a user enters data and information into the Computer or simply, User interacts with the Computer. Examples of Input Devices are Keyboard, Mouse, Scanner, etc.

2. Output Devices: Output Devices are devices that are used to show the result of the task performed by the user. Examples of Output Devices are Monitors, Printers, Speakers, etc.

3. Storage Devices: Storage Devices are devices that are used for storing data and they are also known as Secondary Storage Data. Examples of Storage Devices are CDs, DVDs, Hard Disk, etc

4. Internal Component: Internal Components consists of important hardware devices present in the System. Examples of Internal Components are the CPU, Motherboard, etc.

Computer Software

Software is a collection of instructions, procedures, and documentation that performs different tasks on a computer system. we can say also Computer Software is a programming code executed on a computer processor. The code can be machine-level code or code written for an operating system. Examples of software are MS- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Chrome, Photoshop, MySQL, etc. 

Types of Computer Software

1. System Software: System Software is a component of Computer Software that directly operates with Computer Hardware which has the work to control the Computer’s Internal Functioning and also takes responsibility for controlling Hardware Devices such as Printers, Storage Devices, etc. Types of System Software include Operating systems, Language processors, and Device Drivers.

2. Application Software: Application Software are the software that works the basic operations of the computer. It performs a specific task for users. Application Software basically includes Word Processors, Spreadsheets, etc. Types of Application software include General Purpose Software, Customized Software, etc.

Difference Between Hardware and Software

Parameters Hardware Software
Basic Definition Hardware is a physical part of the computer that causes the processing of data. Software is a set of instructions that tells a computer exactly what to do.
Development It is manufactured. It is developed and engineered.
Dependency Hardware cannot perform any task without software. The software can not be executed without hardware.
Process of creating Electronic and other materials are used to create hardware.  Created by utilizing a computer language to write instructions.
Tangible Hardware is tangible as hardware is a physical electronic device, that can be touched.  Software is intangible as we can see and also use the software but can’t touch them.
Durability Hardware typically wears out over time. The software does not wear out with time. However, it may contain flaws and glitches.

It has four main categories:

1. Input Devices 

2. Output Devices 

3. Storage Devices 

4. Internal Components.

It is mainly divided into

1. System software 

2. Application software.

Virus effect Hardware is not affected by computer viruses. Software is affected by computer viruses.
Transfer It cannot be transferred from one place to another electrically through the network. It can be transferred via a network means.
Machine-Level language Only machine-level language is known to be understood by hardware.  The program accepts human-readable input, interprets it in machine-level language, and sends it to hardware for additional processing.
Replacement If the hardware is damaged, it is replaced with a new one. If the software is damaged, its backup copy can be reinstalled.
Failures Dust, overheating, humidity, and other factors are commonly responsible for hardware failures.  Overloading, systematic error, major-minor version error, and other factors are commonly responsible for software failures.
Examples Ex: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Printer, CPU, Hard disk, RAM, ROM, etc. Ex: MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, MySQL, etc.


1. What are different types of Hardware?


There are basically four types of Hardware:

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

2. What are different types of Software?


There are basically two types of Software:

  1. System Software
  2. Application Software

3. What is the impact of Viruses on Hardware and Software?


Computer Hardware is not affected by Viruses, but Computer Software is affected by Viruses.

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