Difference between hardware and software


Nowadays, it is very necessary to be familiar with computer terms. Today it is very common to use computers in our jobs and at home. If we have a problem with our equipment, we will need to identify what kind of problem it is. Or, for example, if we want to follow a tutorial to install some program, we must know the basic terminology.

Two very common concepts in the computer world are hardware and software. Surely you have heard them before. It is likely that you associate them directly with computers. But nowadays you can also associate them to devices such as smartphones. If you don’t know the meaning of both terms, here we will explain what each one means and what the differences between them are.


What is hardware?

Hardware is any physical and tangible component of the computer or equipment. Examples of hardware can be the mouse, keyboard, monitor, CPU. CPU components such as the motherboard, hard disk or RAM are also considered hardware. In short, if you can touch a component of your computer, then it is part of the hardware.

Hardware components can be classified according to their function into the following categories:


Input: if it allows the user to input information into the computer. For example, if the user clicks through the mouse, he will be giving an order to the computer. Or if the user types through the keyboard he may be giving a command or generating new data on the PC.

Outputs: are those that show data to the user, after the processing of such data. For example, we can see on the monitor the interface of a program after opening it.

Memory and processing: as its name indicates, they are responsible for saving and processing information. Examples of this type of hardware are the hard disk and the processor. Usually these components are not exposed to the naked eye.

partes del cpu

What is software?

You can define as software everything that our device needs to execute its functions, but that lacks a physical body. For example, in order to use our computer, we need an operating system. Surely you know some operating system like Windows or Linux. However, operating systems are not tangible. You can’t touch them. So, they are part of the software.

In conclusion, software is all that set of programs and lines of code that, when run, fulfill specific functions on the computer.


Software can also be classified according to its function. There are, in a generalized way, three types of software:

Systems: this is the software in charge of the computer’s resources administration. BIOS, which even indicates which component will be used to start the computer is an example of this type of software. So are operating systems such as Windows, Linux and MacOS. Even peripheral device drivers are system software. System software is the basis for the user to communicate with the computer.

Of applications: When executed, they will allow the user to perform a specific function. For example, Microsoft office applications allow the user to perform various tasks. Viewing and editing text, performing calculations and creating slide shows are just some of the possibilities.

Programming: The software is nothing more than a set of lines of code. Through these lines of code, instructions are given to the computer. No applications or systems could be created if there was no software to write these lines of code. That’s why there is software to program.


Differences between software and hardware

By definition, the main difference is that hardware is represented by physical components. While software is represented by digital components. Hardware components are tangible, software components are not.

Regardless of their differences, it is important to emphasize that both are necessary. With a component of its hardware damaged, a computer cannot properly perform its functions. Similarly, the user needs the software to interact with his device.

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Now that you know the difference between software and hardware, you will have an advantage. The next time you have a problem with your computer, it will be easier to understand what kind of component is failing. And that will make it easier to find a solution.

Tell us in the comments which software programs you know and what they are used for.

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