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Difference between Software and Firmware

Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2022
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1. Software: Software, as the name suggests, is simply a collection of a set of programs, procedures, data, or instructions used by a computer to perform specific tasks and allows the user to interact with the computer. 

2. Firmware: Firmware, as the name suggests, is simply a type of software program on a hardware device that provides a control for specific hardware and provide essential instructions on how the device communicates with various other computer hardware. 

Difference between Software and Firmware:

S. No. Parameters Software Firmware
1. Definition Software’s are generally a set of instructions to instruct a computer. Firmware’s are generally a type of software used to control hardware devices.
2. Interface  Software (application software) runs on top of the operating system and has no direct interface with hardware. Firmware is low-level software that stands between the hardware and the operating system.
3. Categories Various categories of software include application software, computer programming tools, etc. There are no such categories of firmware.
4. Types Types of software includes application software, shareware, system software, etc. Types of firmware includes BIOS, EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface), etc.
5. Size The size of the software is very big and generally ranges between hundred kilobytes (KB) to a few gigabytes (GB). The firmware size is very small and generally ranges between a few kilobytes (KB).
6. Programming Languages Software’s are usually developed using both low level languages and high level languages such as java. Firmware’s are usually developed using low level languages.
7. Functionality Software’s cannot be a firmware. Firmware can be a software.
8. Update Updating of software’s are very easier. Updating firmware’s usually tricky.
9. Designed for Software’s are designed for user interaction. Firmware are not designed for user interaction and are instead hidden on device.
10. Memory Software memory is accessible and changeable. Firmware memory is inaccessible and cannot be altered simply by the user.
11. Runs on The software usually runs on the CPU and main processors. The firmware does not run on CPU, instead runs on smaller processors.
12. Stored on Software is kept on the computer’s secondary storage device. The hardware’s flash storage is used to keep the firmware.
13. Type of Change It can be changed constantly. It is rarely changed.
14. Features Features of software includes efficiency, usability, functionality, dependability, etc. Features of firmware includes perfect rotation counter support, floating point variable, perform all control, etc.
15. Time It requires more time to create software than firmware. It requires less time to create firmware than software.

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