Software refers to a set of computer programs (instructions) which direct the hardware to perform a particular task. It controls the processing and movement of data within the computer system. A computer needs software to tell it what to do and it needs hardware to actually carry out the work. Software is written by people called computer programmers.

Software is the set of instructions for controlling the computer.

Software can be categorized according to what it is designed to accomplish. There are two main types of software: systems software and application software.


System Software

System Software

Systems software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself, such as theoperating system, file management utilities, and disk operating system (or DOS). The operating system manages the computer hardware resources in addition to applications and data. Without systems software installed in our computers we would have to type the instructions for everything we wanted the computer to do!

Application Software

Application Software

Application software, or simply applications, are often called productivity programs or end-user programs because they enable the user to complete tasks such as creating documents, spreadsheets, databases, and publications, doing online research, sending email, designing graphics, running businesses, and even playing games! Application software is specific to the task it is designed for and can be as simple as a calculator application or as complex as a word processing application. When you begin creating a document, the word processing software has already set the margins, font style and size, and the line spacing for you. But you can change these settings, and you have many more formatting options available. For example, the word processor application makes it easy to add colour, headings, and pictures or delete, copy, move, and change the document's appearance to suit your needs.

Computer Software


Create an account with Office 365 and use the Word application to complete the following questions :

  1. Define Software.
  2. What is Hardware? Include examples in your answer.
  3. What are the two main types of software?
  4. What is system software and what kinds of things does it do?
  5. What is application software? Include examples in your answer.
  6. Name one software suite you are familiar with and list the applications it contains.
  7. What are Cloud Computer Applications? Give an example of one cloud based App you are familiar with.
  8. List three reasons for using a Virtual Machine like Virtual Box to emulate the Operating System of a computer

Practical Exercise

Part of the assignment for this topic is to install software onto your Windows Machine

  1. Install the Atari 2600 emulator Stella onto you Windows Virtual Machine.
  2. Use Stella to play Atari adventure and solve LEVEL 1
  3. You will find the Stella Emulator here :