Hardware and software

Computer systems consist of hardware and software. Hardware is the physical components of the computer, such as the central processing unit (CPU), hard disk, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Software is the programs that run on a computer.

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Hardware is the physical components of a computer. Software is the programs that run on a computer.

A computer system requires both hardware and software to function. Aside from the internal components of a computer, additional hardware allows the user to communicate with the system through inputs and outputs. The table below shows some examples of input and output hardware.

Input deviceOutput device
MouseScreen
KeyboardSpeakers
CameraPrinter
MicrophoneLEDs
Central processing unit with input, process, output and secondary storage

The software in a computer system enables the hardware to function and the user to perform tasks. Software within a computer system is divided into two main types, system software and application software.

System software

System software is any software that assists with the running or management of the computer system. This can include operating systems, security software and file management software.

Application software

Application software is any software added to the system that enables the user to perform a task. For example, a word processor allows the user to type a document and a browser allows the user to view web pages.

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Application software enables the user to perform a task. System software helps the user manage the computer system.