What is Hardware and Software? Definition and Differences
A computer owes its operation to two basic elements, hardware, and software, essential for the development of precise and efficient work. These are, thanks to their complementary, those in charge of all the tasks carried out in the team. But what does hardware mean? And software? At Valor Top we are going to answer that question for you.
What is the hardware?
Hardware refers to all the material and physical components of a device, that is, those that can be seen and touched. The monitor, the mouse, the CPU, the keyboard, or the RAM memory are some examples of those parts that, taken together, make up the hardware.
This term has its etymological origin in English, where “hard” means “hard” and “ware”, “things”, so it could even be defined as “the hard parts of a computer”. There are two types:
Found within the computer tower, such as cables, circuitry, central processing unit, or storage devices.
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They are located on the outside of the computer tower. Among them, we have the input peripherals, which give information to the system, such as the mouse or the keyboard; the output peripherals, which show the operations carried out on the computer, such as the monitor or the printer; and the input-output peripherals, which perform the two previous functions, such as USB.
Among all these components, the hardware is divided into basic, to refer to those devices that are essential for the operation of the computer,.
Such as the motherboard, keyboard, CPU, RAM, or monitor; and in addition, which develops specific additional functions, such as printers or pen drives.
In recent times, in addition, the concept of free hardware is gaining strength. This term uses to define hardware components whose designs and diagrams are accessible to everyone, either for free or through some type of payment. However, this is still an idea that generates confusion even in the authors who try to define it.
What is software?
Software is the digital part of the computer, that is, the set of computer instructions, programs, and rules that the computer requires to function. It, therefore, does not have a physical existence.
But is intangible and immaterial, like word processing programs or the operating system. This term was coined by the mathematician John Wilder Tukey in 1958 to refer to the programs that made electronic calculators work. The software is classified into:
It is a set of programs that allow the user to communicate with the system itself. They are the operating systems, device drivers, and utility programs for the maintenance of the computer.
It is a program design for the user to perform a specific task, such as writing. Word processors, spreadsheets, antivirus, or the movie player are some examples.
Programming tools are used by computer scientists to write new programs thanks to a specific language.
Finally, it should be noted that, here, the concept of free software is more established than in the case of hardware.
This definition refers to the possibilities that the user has to execute, copy, distribute, study and change the software.
Both are free of charge and by paying a certain amount.
How are hardware and software different?
These two basic elements of a computer feed into each other. That is, both instructions give for the performance of tasks and, without one of them, the operation of a computer would not possible.
However, despite this complementarity, their difference is more than patent.
While the hardware can seen and touched, the software responds to digital elements and, therefore, intangibles, which lack a physical form.
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