Updated June 1, 2023
Difference Between Hardware and Software
Hardware vs Software is a comparative topic that are related to components of the computer. Hardware is the tangible component that is associated physically with the computer system, whereas software is the intangible component of the computer system. Hardware is controlled through the software instructions, whereas the software are designed and developed to do certain specific task through the computer hardware. Some of the hardware related to computers are hard disk for stare, monitor to display, RAM for memory, and CPU to process the computer. Similarly, Some of the examples of software are Operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac. The browser software like Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, are some of the widely used software.
What are Hardware and Software?
Let us study much more about Hardware vs Software in detail:
The Internet browser that we installed in our system, which allows us to browse through the web page/websites and the operating system on which the browser is running on, is considered software. All software required at least one hardware device to operate.
We all have played some kind of computer game, which is software, uses the computer hardware like the processor (CPU), memory (RAM), hard drive, video card, sound device and other hardware devices to run and also to interact with the users.
We have also used word processing software installed in the computer with a processor, memory, hard drive, mouse, and keyboard to create and save our documents.
In the computer world, hardware is something that makes the computer work. The CPU (central processing unit) processes the information, and that information can be stored in RAM (volatile memory) or on a hard drive (nonvolatile memory). A sound card is responsible for processing the sound that could be heard from the speakers (sound devices). The video card is responsible for image and videos displayed on the monitor. All of this is hardware.
The same system required software can be installed and allow a person to interact with the hardware, and sometimes it is also necessary for the hardware’s to communicate internally with other hardware devices in the same system or outside the system.
An operating system, like Windows, Ubuntu, MacOS, is software. It provides a graphical interface for people to use the computer and a platform for other software to run on the computer. Operating systems once installed, then only any additional programs could be installed that allows the user to perform more specialized tasks.
So from the above discussion, we can say that Software is a collection of computer programs that perform some task on a computer system.
Categories of Software:
Technically in computer systems, we can divide software into three major categories:
- System software.
- Programming software.
- Application software.
Although this bifurcation is arbitrary, the software is typically programmed to easily interact with the systems.
Similarly, Hardware is best described as a device, such as a hard disk, that is physically connected to the system or something that can be physically touched. Monitor, printer, video card are all examples of computer hardware. A computer that failed to function without any hardware or software would have nothing to run on.
Both are dependent on each other and interact with one another. It is the Software that tells Hardware which tasks it needs to perform.
Head To Head Comparison Between Hardware and Software (Infographics)
Below is the top 8 difference between Hardware vs Software
Key Difference between Hardware and Software
Both are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the major difference:
- Computer hardware is any physical device, i.e. available or used in (external detachable devices) or with the system, whereas software is a collection of code that needs to be installed into the system. For example, the computer’s monitor that we are using to read this text is an output device, and the mouse that we used to navigate this web page or to scroll or to click is an input device, and both are computer hardware.
- Both are interdependent on each other.
- Hardware cannot perform the task without software. Similarly, the software could not perform and complete the task without hardware.
- Faults can occur on hardware, and there could be many reasons behind the fault. However, faults in software are almost negligible, but bugs can arise in the software with time.
- Hardware wears out with time Software does not wear out with time.
- Hardware only understands machine level language. The software takes input in human-readable languages, which it interprets to machine level language and passes it to hardware to get things done.
Hardware vs Software Comparison Table
Let’s look at the top Comparison between Hardware vs Software –
|The basis of comparison||Hardware||Software|
|Definition||Physical devices that are required to store execute (run) the software.||The software is a collection of instructions that let the user interact with the hardware and command it to do a particular task.|
|Types||Processing, Input, Output, Control, Storage, External||System, Application, Programming|
|Function||It is used to do the task at the machine level||It is used to give instruction on what kind of work the hardware should do based on the hardware types.|
|Dependency||Hardware is dependent on software. It starts functions once the software is loaded.||The software is also somehow dependent on hardware because the software provides the instructions to hardware to do a particular task, so without hardware, the software cannot complete the task.|
|Faults||Failure of hardware is random.||Software failure could have many reasons that may be due to a systematic error, major-minor version error etc.|
|Durability||Hardware wears out with time.||The software is durable and is not wear out, but with time bugs may arise in the software, which could be rectified.|
|Nature||Hardware’s are tangible.||Software’s are intangible.|
|Example||CPU, Hard drive, RAM, keyboard, mouse, USB drives etc.||Operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Linux’s Ubuntu, Apple’s Macintosh.), MS-Office, MS-Media player etc.|
After a discussion on what is hardware and what is software, we now can conclude our discussion with the facts that both play an important role in computer systems.
Both are dependent on each other, and thus neither Software, not the Hardware, could alone serve the purpose of doing the task.
We had also come across about the fault tolerance nature of both that where the faults can occur.
We had also covered the point of how durable it could be, and we find that hardware’s wear and tear with times, but software’s are durable; however, bugs may arise due to many reasons, and it can be fixed.
This has been a guide to the top difference between Hardware vs Software. Here we also discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more.