teach-ict.com logo

THE education site for computer science and ICT

This page is part of the old A451 specification - current syllabus here

1. Introduction

Specification point:

Explain the difference between systems software and application software


frontpageA computer is an electronic machine that can process data. But it needs to be told what to do in the form of a set of instructions. These instructions are called a 'software program'.

Software allows the hardware to do something useful;  without software, the hardware wouldn't know what it was supposed to do. So software depends on hardware and hardware depends on software. Together they form a computer system.

Software programs are stored as files on a storage device such as the hard disk, DVD or memory sticks. When they need to run, they are loaded into the computer's memory (RAM).

Use the menu on the left-hand side to find out more about the different categories of software.