What is Computer Software?
Computer software is a collection of computer programs and associated data that instructs the computer what to do.
Program software performs the function of the program it implements by providing instructions to the computer hardware or by working as input to another software.
Unlike hardware, software is intangible (cannot be touched). Some types of computer software are:
Application Software. These are end-user applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, video games, etc.
System Software such as operating systems that control computer resources.
Firmware is low level software stored on electrically programmable memory devices (EPROM). It got this name because it's almost like computer hardware and is run by other software programs.
Device Drivers control components of the computer such as hard disk drives, optical drives, printers, sound cards, video cards, computer monitors, etc.
In continuing, computer software helps users to complete tasks with greater efficiency and accuracy and is a must for computer users.
Software is available for almost anything that you will want to do.
Today's computers are overloaded with unnecessary software or 'bloatware'. Bloatware is unnecessary software and features that are not used by end-users that tend to use up more system resources with little or benefit to users.
If purchasing a new PC, take timeout to remove all 'bloatware' in order to maximize the performance of your new PC.
Your personal computer would not be functional without this introductory computer software.
Whenever you buy a program, it is Software and the disk that this program is stored on is Hardware. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and WordPerfect are Software.
Computer Software consists of two categories:
(1) The Operating System Software (OS):
is the most important program that runs on your computer and enables the running of other programs.
Operating systems assist in the performance of tasks such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the monitor, organizing files and directories on the hard drive and controlling devices such as printers, disk drives, etc.
The OS also ensures that different programs and users running simultaneously do not interfere with each other.
Security is also a function of the operating system by preventing unauthorized user access of your system.
Another function of the operating system is providing a platform on which programs called 'Applications' can run. Hence, application programs must be 'Operating System Specific'. Therefore, your operating system very much determines the applications you can run.
Today's most popular operating systems are Microsoft Windows, MAC OS X and Linux in order of popularity.
There are other minority OSes which can be dealt with at a later date.
Click here to look at some operating systems.
Note: A special OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) licence comes with your Operating System if it was purchased with your new computer. This licence is not transferrable. If for some reason your hard drive crashed, sometimes it might be possible to negotiate an extension of your original licence or, failing that, you will need to purchase a retail copy.
Although there are many tasks associated with the function and management of your computer, your computer's main responsibility is the management of your files and your peripherals.
(2) The Application Software (Programs): -This is software that will enable you to complete your daily tasks such as:
- Word Processing - Creating your documents.
- Spreadsheets - Doing your calculations.
- Database - Creating a mailing list.
- Financial - Managing your accounting needs.
- Presentations - Making presentations for meetings, etc.
- Desktop Publishing - Laying out and designing your pages from your desktop computer.
- Antivirus and Firewall Programs - Keeping your computer and private information safe from viruses and hackers.
- Internet Browsers - Searching the Internet.
- Games - Playing games.
- Graphics - Creating logos, designing posters.
- Communications - Connecting to the Internet.
- Multimedia Software - CD and DVD authoring and copying. Archiving your old vinyl records in MP3 format. Compiling your photographic collection, etc.
Your Application Software is designed to work along with your Operating System.
If you are using a Macintosh computer, any software that you purchase must be designed to work with that Operating System. The same rule would apply if you have an IBM-compatible computer (PC).
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You should upgrade your software
Upgrading your software allows you to:
- Have current software.
- Take advantage of new features.
- Correct problems (bugs) in your software. 'Bugs' are programming errors.
You should register your Computer Software
After purchasing your software, it is important that you register it with the manufacturer. After registration, you will now be a registered user for that software.
Each software comes with a unique Product I.D. which will be needed when registering.
Some of the advantages of registering are as follows:
- Receiving technical support from the manufacturer.
- Be eligible for updates, upgrades and specials.
Your product ID will be unique to you and, therefore, cannot be shared with other persons.
If you did not purchase the software and you use a non-licensed Product I.D., it is illegal and is protected by U.S. and International Copyright Laws.
Sign up for software update e-mail notifications
This will allow the software manufacturer to notify you whenever software updates are available.
Install your software updates immediately
You should immediately download and install updates and security patches upon receipt of notification to do so. This will help to protect your computer against attacks.
Security issues, critical updates and service packs should be addressed immediately. Computers have now become so vulnerable to attacks via the Internet that it has now become extremely important that your computer is protected by using an up-to-date operating system and applications software.
Updates and patches could be for:
- Operating system.
- Web browser such as Internet Explorer.
- Microsoft Office.
- Antivirus and firewall.
- Pop-up blocker.
Free and Cheap Computer Software
Free and cheap computer software are easily available via the Internet but, unfortunately, some of the 'free' software might contain viruses, worms and other malicious codes. Click here to look at some computer software.
Computer Software makes your computer functional and is required for your computer to operate effectively. Without it, your computer would be useless!
Click here to learn about Computer Hardware
Click here to learn how to build your own cheap computer using cheap computer parts
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