In computing, the terms hardware and software are used to refer to the two different and complementary aspects of any computerized system: the physical and tangible, on the one hand; and the virtual and digital, on the other—body and soul, respectively, of any computer system.
When we speak of hardware (from English hard, rigid, and ware, product) we are referring to the mechanical, electrical, or electronic assembly of the real parts that make up the body of a computer, that is, the boards, cards, integrated circuits, mechanisms, electrical devices, responsible for the processing, support and connection of the machine.
This hardware is classified according to its role in the overall system process:
- Storage hardware. It operates as the “memory” of the computer, where information and data are stored. It can be primary (internal, inside the computer) or secondary (removable, portable) storage.
- Processing hardware. The heart of the system is where the calculations are carried out, and logical operations are solved.
- Peripheral hardware. These are the accessories and accessories that are incorporated into the system to communicate with the outside and/or provide new functions. It can be of three types, in turn:
- Input hardware. It is used to enter data into the system, either by the user or operator or from other networked systems and computers.
- Output hardware. Similarly, it allows you to retrieve information from the system, or share it over telecommunications networks.
- Mixed hardware. Run the input and output functions at the same time.
Instead, when we talk about software, we are referring to the virtual content of the system: the programs, applications, instructions and communication protocols that interface with the user and control the way the system operates, and give it meaning. It is the “mind” of the system.
Said software can also be classified according to its function in the system:
- S was operating system (System or software ). They are in charge of regulating the way the system operates and guaranteeing its continuity, serving as the basis for other programs or applications, and allowing the interface with the user. They are usually incorporated into the factory system.
- Application software. This is the name given to all the additional programs that are incorporated into the computer, already equipped with an operating system, to carry out an endless number of possible tasks: from word processors, spreadsheets, internet browsers, design applications or video games.
The sum of hardware and software complete the entirety of any computer system.
Examples of hardware and software
Some examples of hardware:
- Monitors or projectors. Where the information and processes are displayed for the user, they are considered output hardware, although there are already tactile monitors (which would then be mixed peripherals).
- Keyboard and mouse. Input peripherals par excellence, allow the entry of user data: through buttons (keys) and movements and buttons, respectively.
- Webcams. Also called web cameras, since they became popular with the arrival of the Internet and videoconferences, they allow the entry and transmission of audio and video through the system.
- Microp sprinkler is. The core of the CPU (The Central Processing Unit) is a very powerful microchip that performs thousands of logical calculations per second.
- Network card s. These integrated circuits to the CPU motherboard give you the possibility to interact with remote data networks, whether through cables, radio signal, etc.
Some software examples:
- Microsoft Windows. Probably the most popular of the operating systems used today is typical of IBM computers. It allows the user to manage and interact with the different segments of a computer, through a friendly user environment, based on windows and visual representation.
- Mozilla Firefox. An extremely popular Internet browser, available for download without payment. Connects the user to the World Wide Web, to perform data searches and other types of virtual operations.
- Microsoft Word. Part of the Microsoft Office package, it is one of the most recognized word processors out there and includes tools for business, database management, presentation development, among others.
- Google Chrome. Another Internet browser, offered by the company Google, whose lightness and speed made it quickly popular with Internet users. Also, it opened the door to projects of a Google operating system.
- Adobe Photoshop. A well-known image editing and visual content development application, useful for graphic design and photo retouching, a product of the company Adobe Inc.