Introduction to Computers/Hardware and software

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Introduction to Computers Hardware and software
This page is part of the Introduction to Computers project.

Hardware and software are crucially important elements of computers. They are interconnected- without software, the hardware of a computer would have no function. Likewise, without hardware, software would be useless.


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Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer. A computer's hardware can also referred to as the machinery or the equipment of the computer. Examples of hardware in a computer are the CPU, motherboard, keyboard, monitor, and the mouse. Most of a computer's hardware is internal, meaning that it exists within the case of the computer. For example, the CPU is an internal element- the user cannot interact with it directly. On the other hand, the mouse is considered external hardware, as it exists outside of the computer's case. A computer's hardware is comprised of many different parts, but perhaps the most important of these is the motherboard. The motherboard is made up of even more smaller parts that power and control the computer.

Hardware is a physical entity. The computer's hardware is comprised of the tools that the machine uses to execute tasks and programs, also known as software.

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Software be described as a collection of routines, rules, and symbolic languages that direct the functioning of the hardware.[1]

Software is capable of performing specific tasks, as opposed to hardware which only perform mechanical tasks that they are specifically designed for. Practical computer systems divide software systems into three major groups:

  1. System software: Helps run computer hardware and computer system. Computer software includes operating systems, device drivers, diagnostic tools, and more.
  2. Programming software: Software that assists a programmer in writing computer programs.
  3. Application software: Allows users to accomplish one or more tasks.
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The term "software" is sometimes used in a broader context to describe any electronic media content which embodies expressions of ideas such as film, tapes, records, etc. Software is the electronic instruction that tells the hardware of a computer to do a task, and how to do it.

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Firmware is a type of software, built in to an element of the hardware, that determines how that piece of hardware handles input and output.

It is the embedded code (program) for the hardware so the hardware can perform functions specifically designed for that device. Every device has inbuilt firmware. That gives the device the ability to perform its work. There are lots of devices that use a screen and buttons. These devices consists of firmware that instruct the device to perform certain functions on given commands.

Examples are of firmware include the programming on video cards and sound cards. Both of these components can only execute functions relating to video and sound, respectively, because this is what they were programmed to do.

Firmware can be explained as programming instructions that are stored in a read-only memory and can only be used by connecting them with software. [2]

It is used so that each part of the hardware of a computer can operate efficiently.

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