CHAPTER-7 What is Computer Software

CHAPTER-7 What is Software

Computer Software

DEFINITION- Software is a set of programs, which is designed to perform a well defined function. A program is a sequence of instruction written to solve a particular problem.

Software, commonly known as programs, consists of all the electronic instructions that tell the hardware how to perform a task. These instructions come from a software developer in the form that will be accepted by the platform (operating system + CPU) that they are based on. For example, a program that is designed for the Windows operating system will only work for that specific operating system. Compatibility of software will vary as the design of the software and the operating system differ. Software that is designed for Windows XP may experience a compatibility issue when running under Windows 2000 or NT.

Software is capable of performing many tasks, as opposed to hardware which only perform mechanical tasks that they are designed for. Software is the electronic instructions that tell the computer to perform a task.  Practical computer systems divide software systems into two major classes:


1. System software
 2.Application software

1. System softwareThe system software is collection of programs designed to operate , control and extend the processing capabilities of the computer itself. System software is generally prepared by computer manufactures.

*It is Close to system.
*It is fast in speed.
*It is Difficult to manipulate.
*It is smaller in size.
*It is Difficult to design.
*It is Difficult to understand.
*It is generally written in low level language.

1. System control program
2. System support program
3. System development programs

-System control program– They control the execution of programs .exp-Operating system

Device drivers-Device drivers are system programs, which are responsible for proper functioning of device. Exp – device like printer, a user must load the device driver of that particular printer.

-System support programs-They provide routine service function to other computer programs and users. Exp-utility programs.
Some utility programs are-Text editors, They are used to create and edit files. For exp-notepad is the text editor.

Backup utilities-These utility programs help us to backup of our important data.
By using these programs files are backed up to floppies, CD and DVD.

Data recovery softwareSometimes an illegal operation may result in an accidental loss of data which was still to be needed then we used data recovery software. Exp-Recycle bin.

Compression utilities- Compression utility are used to compress large sized files so that they can be stored in storage of low capacity. Win-zip is a popular compression utility used in window based desktops.

Anti virus utility– Any program that effect the normal working of the other programs or effect the boot sector of the disk is a virus. The antivirus software detects the virus, identify and prevent it from spreading. Some examples of anti-virus software are Norton’s antivirus, MacAfee etc.

-System Development Programs– They assists in the creation of computer programs.  Examples of system development are – programming language, language translations.

2. Application software-Application software are the software that are designed to satisfy a particular need of a particular environment. All software prepared by us in the computer lab. Examples of application software are-student record software, railway reservation software, income tax software, word processors etc.

Features of application software:-

*It is close to user.
*It is Slow in speed
*It is Easy to understand.
*It is Easy to manipulate
*It is generally, written in high level language
*It is easy to design.

General Purpose application software– General purpose application software are designed to satisfy common needs of various businesses.


WORD PROCESSOR-word processor is the software used to word processing. There are many word processors available in the market. The common and the popular among are: Word Star, MS-WORD.

ELECTRONIC SPREADSHEET:-A spreadsheet contains greed of cells arranged in columns and rows. Data is entered into the cells to represent information. Examples of electronics spreadsheet are lotus 1, 2, 3 and excel.

PRESENTATION SOFTWARE-presentation software are the software which are used to present information to a large number of people. Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular presentation software.

DESKTOP PUBLISHING SOFTWARE desktop publishing software are used for type setting and designing purposes. Well know desktop publishing software are page marker and Coral Draw.
 WEB BROWSER SOFTWARE-with an internet connection, this type of software enables a user to visit from one site to another by following, to search locations and view web documents .Examples are Netscape communicator, Microsoft internet explorer 6.

SPECIAL PURPOSE APPLICATION SOFTWARE-application software are created to satisfy specific needs of an organization. Example are payroll software, railway reservation software etc.

Types of Applications




Word processing

Allows editing, formatting etc of words, mail merge, inserting graphics, inserting files created in other programs.

Creates text based documents eg letters, reports, memos.

  • Microsoft Word
  • Writer


Allows calculations and recalculations using mathematical formulae.

Creates number-based worksheets useful for planning, cash flow forecasting and budget tracking.

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Calc


Provides forms for data entry and storage. Data can be sorted, extracted, and reports printed from the database.

Produces fact-based information stored in related files eg formatted reports required for management based on specific data required.

  • Microsoft Access

Desktop Publishing

Provides a layout program that allows you to make different layouts, multi page documents, book folds insert pictures and text.

Creates printed documents, for example newsletters, magazines, brochures, fliers, and booklets.

  • Microsoft Publisher