Software, which is abbreviated as SW or S/W, is a set of programs that enables the hardware to perform a specific task. All the programs that run the computer are software. The software can be of three types: system software, application software, and programming software.
The system software is the main software that runs the computer. When you turn on the computer, it activates the hardware and controls and coordinates their functioning. The application programs are also controlled by system software. An operating system is an example of system software.
i) Operating System:
An operating system is the system software that works as an interface to enable the user to communicate with the computer. It manages and coordinates the functioning of hardware and software of the computer. The commonly used operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Apple Mac OS X.
Some other examples of system software include:
- BIOS: It stands for basic input output system. It is a type of system software, which is stored in Read Only Memory (ROM) located on the motherboard. However, in advanced computer systems, it is stored in flash memory. BIOS is the first software that gets activated when you turn on your computer system. It loads the drivers of the hard disk into memory as well as assists the operating system to load itself into the memory.
- Boot Program: Boot refers to starting up a computer. When you switch on the computer, the commands in the ROM are executed automatically to load the boot program into memory and execute its instructions. The BIOS program has a basic set of commands that enables the computer to perform the basic input/output instructions to start the computer.
- An assembler: It plays the role of a converter as it receives basic computer instructions and converts them into a pattern of bits. The processor uses these bits to perform basic operations.
- A device driver: This system software controls hardware devices connected to a computer. It enables the computer to use the hardware by providing an appropriate interface. The kernel of a Computer’s CPU communicates with different hardware through this software. Operating systems generally come with most of the device drivers. If the operating system does not have a device driver for hardware, you have to install the device driver before using that hardware device.