What are hardware and software? Hardware and software make up the two categories that make up a computer system. The term “hardware” describes the actual, observable parts of the system, such as the display, CPU, keyboard, and mouse. On the other hand, software refers to a set of instructions that allow the hardware to carry out a certain set of activities. Both the hardware and the software are necessary for the hardware to operate effectively and for tasks to be completed. Both depend on one another, yet they also differ from one another.

You will learn what are hardware and software in this article, which will be useful for the computer awareness sections of numerous government exams. We hope that by the end of this article you will be able to understand what are hardware and software.

What are Hardware and Software

Computer Hardware

Hardware describes the visible and tactile parts of a computer or other equipment. A computer system, contains a circuit board, ICs, or other electronics. It is a tangible part that may be included in a variety of ways in the construction of a computer or other machine.

Examples of hardware in a computer system include memory devices, processors, central processing units, mice, and a keyboard. However, whether you are viewing this page on a tablet, monitor, or smartphone, the screen you are currently using is the best representation of the hardware. Without any hardware, a computer system would not exist and would not be able to run any software.

Hardware Components

Computer hardware is made up of a number of interconnected parts. Some components are necessary, while others just have added benefits. As seen in the image below, the CPU and peripherals make up computer hardware.

Computer Software

Software, which teaches a machine exactly what to do or enables user interaction with a computer, is a collection of protocols, instructions, and documentation. It is frequently shortened as S/W and SW, and it is crucial for computers and other comparable equipment. Without software, the majority of computers might be unusable. For instance, you cannot create any document that can be completed using MS Word if MS Word is not installed on your computer. Additionally, if your computer does not have Internet browser software, you cannot browse the Internet or access any websites. In addition, a computer without an operating system could not run the browser.

Software examples include Google Chrome, Photoshop, MS Word, Excel, MySQL, and more.

The software can be categorized into two types −

System software
Application software

System Software

Computer hardware components are directly controlled by system software. It offers a platform on which an application can run. The functionality it offers and supports is for users. Operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Unix, and others serve as examples of system software.

Application Software

A software application is made to help users do one or more tasks. Application software examples include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Oracle, etc. from Microsoft.

Differences between what are hardware and software


The physical components of the computer known as hardware are what actually process data.

Software is a collection of directives that specify to a computer what to perform.


Hardware is manufactured.

Software is designed and developed.


Without software, hardware is unable to carry out any task.

Hardware is required to run the software.

Creation Process

Hardware is made from a variety of materials, including electronic ones.

Created by writing instructions in a computer language.


Hardware is palpable because it is a real, touchable electronic object.

Software is intangible because we can see and use it, but we can’t touch it.


Generally speaking, hardware degrades over time.

The computer program doesn’t deteriorate over time. It might, however, have bugs and errors.


Input devices, output devices, storage, and internal components make up hardware’s four primary categories.

System software and Application software make up the majority of software.

Virus Effect

Computer viruses do not impact hardware.

Computer viruses affect software.


Hardware cannot be electronically transmitted via the network from one location to another.

Software is transferrable over a network.

Machine level language

Hardware is only known to understand machine-level language.

The software accepts information that can be read by humans, converts it into machine-level language, and then delivers it to hardware for further processing.


Hardware that has been harmed is changed out with new hardware.

It is possible to reinstall the software’s backup copy if it is damaged.


Hardware malfunctions are frequently brought on by dust, heat, and other factors.

Software errors are frequently caused by overloading, systematic error, major-minor version error, and other issues.


Examples of hardware include a keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, CPU, hard drive, RAM, and ROM.

Examples of software include MySQL, Photoshop, PowerPoint, Excel, and MS Word.

Is hardware required for a computer to run?

Most computers need a keyboard, video card, monitor, processor, hard drive, motherboard, memory, and power supply to operate correctly. A computer system like a thin client or server can be configured to function without a hard drive, screen, or keyboard.

When one or more of these components is missing or broken, the computer won’t start or will give an error. It is not necessary to include hardware such as a sound card, mouse, printer, network card, or speakers. However, they boost the computer’s capabilities.

Is software required for a computer to run?

Yes, a computer can function normally without any software being installed. However, if an operating system or interpreter cannot be located, a computer does not provide any output of information or shows an error. In order for users and applications to interface with the computer hardware, a computer system has to have an operating system. Installing software on a computer enables it to perform new capabilities in addition to an operating system. For instance, using MS Excel to work on a spreadsheet is possible even if it is not a program required to run a computer.


The terms “hardware” and “software” are now often used in everyday speech. Having stated that, we have discussed what are hardware and software as well as how they differ. If you want to share something more informative on what are hardware and software then please feel free to mention it in the chat box!


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