Types of Software in computer and their functions|

In the realm of computing, software serves as the backbone that empowers our interactions with computers and enables them to perform various tasks. The term “software” refers to a comprehensive collection of data, programs, procedures, instructions, and documentation specifically designed to execute predefined functions on a computer system. In this article, we are going to discuss about different types of software in computer, types of software and its functions with examples, what are the 3 types of software, etc.

types of software and their functions

What is Software?

At its core, software is the driving force that gives life and purpose to computer systems. It comprises a multitude of elements, including executable programs, scripts, and applications, along with non-executable data such as digital media and online documentation.

The symbiotic relationship between hardware and software is fundamental to the functionality of modern computing systems. Without software, the powerful hardware components of a computer would remain inert and essentially useless.

When we engage with our computers, whether it’s through the operating system that greets us upon startup or the applications we use for various tasks, we are interacting with different facets of software.

Types of Software with example :

As we embark on a journey to comprehend the intricate world of software, it is essential to unravel the layers of System Software – the backbone that facilitates seamless interaction between users and hardware. In this section, we explore the significance, types, and examples of System Software.

In this article, we will delve into the classification of software, exploring two main types – System Software and Application Software.

System software : 

What is System Software?

System software is the unsung hero that enables users and hardware to communicate and collaborate effectively. Acting as an intermediary or middle layer, it manages the behavior of computer hardware, offering essential functionalities that pave the way for other software to operate smoothly.

types of software in computer

Examples of System Software:

1. Operating System (OS):

At the core of system software is the Operating System, a fundamental component in every computing device. Examples of operating systems include Android, CentOS, iOS, Linux, Mac OS, MS Windows, Ubuntu, and Unix. Each OS provides a graphical user interface (GUI) through which users manage files, folders, and various tasks.

2. Device Drivers:

Device drivers are specialized software that controls specific hardware components connected to the system. From displays and sound cards to printers and USB devices, device drivers ensure seamless communication between hardware and the operating system. Examples include BIOS Driver, Display Drivers, Motherboard Drivers, Printer Drivers, USB Drivers, and VGA Drivers.

3. Firmware:

Firmware is a permanent software embedded into read-only memory, offering essential instructions on how a device interacts with other hardware components. Examples of firmware include BIOS, firmware in computer peripherals, consumer applications, embedded systems, and UEFI.

4. Programming Language Translators:

These mediator programs play a crucial role in translating high-level language code into simpler machine-level code. Interpreters, compilers, and assemblers fall under this category, simplifying code, assigning data storage, enlisting source code and program details, offering diagnostic reports, and rectifying system errors during runtime.

5. Utility:

Utility software focuses on analyzing, optimizing, configuring, and maintaining a computer system. It supports the infrastructure of the operating system, ensuring smooth functioning. Examples of utility tools include Avast Antivirus, CCleaner, Razer Cortex, WinRAR, and WinZip.

Application Software :

In the intricate realm of computer science, application software stands as a pivotal component that directly interacts with end-users, facilitating a myriad of tasks. Unlike system software, which ensures the overall functionality of a computer, application software is tailored to specific purposes, enriching the user experience across diverse domains.

types of software in computer

What is Application Software?

Application software, often referred to as end-user programs or productivity tools, is a class of computer programs designed to perform tasks ranging from document creation to multimedia editing. These applications reside above the system software layer and are utilized by end-users for particular functions. In this segment, we will delve into various types of application software, each serving distinct purposes and contributing to the diversity of our digital experiences.

Types of Application Software:

Word Processors:

Word processors are versatile applications that facilitate document creation, editing, formatting, and printing. They empower users to engage with textual content seamlessly. Examples of word processors include Abiword, Apple iWork-Pages, Google Docs, and MS Word.

Database Software:

Database management systems, a subset of application software, aid in creating and managing databases. These tools play a crucial role in organizing and manipulating data. Examples encompass Clipper, dBase, MS Access, and MySQL.

Multimedia Software:

Multimedia software encompasses applications capable of playing, creating, or recording images, audio, or video files. These tools find utility in video editing, animation, graphics, and image editing. Notable examples include Adobe Photoshop, VLC Media Player, and Windows Movie Maker.

Education and Reference Software:

Tailored for learning purposes, education and reference software serves as a valuable resource for specific subjects. Often referred to as academic software, examples include Delta Drawing, GCompris, KidPix, and Tux Paint.

Graphics Software:

Graphics software is designed for manipulating visual data and images. It includes picture editors and illustration tools, empowering users to create and edit graphical content. Examples encompass Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW, and GIMP.

Web Browsers:

Web browsers are fundamental applications enabling users to access and retrieve data from the internet. These tools play a vital role in our daily online activities. Prominent examples include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.

System Software vs Application Software: A Comparative Analysis

System Software vs Application Software :

TopicSystem SoftwareApplication Software
FunctionMakes all other software (application software) work well on the system and maintains system resources.Developed for a specific task.
DevelopmentDeveloped using low-level programming languages.Developed using high-level programming languages.
NecessityThe system cannot run without this type of software.There is no necessity to have application software. The system can run without it.
ExecutionStarts running when the system turns on and stops after the system shuts down.Starts and stops based on user requests.
ExamplesOperating systems, device drivers, firmware, programming language translators, utility programs.Word processors, web browsers, database management systems, graphics software, etc.
system software vs application software

Other Types of Software:

Understanding the diverse landscape of software involves exploring additional categories based on availability and shareability. These classifications shed light on the accessibility, distribution, and modification permissions of different software types.

1. Freeware:

Freeware refers to software available at no cost, allowing users to download and use it without any monetary exchange. However, it typically restricts users from modifying the software or charging a fee for its distribution. Popular examples of freeware include:

  • Adobe Reader: A widely used application for viewing, printing, and annotating PDF documents.
  • Audacity: An open-source audio editing software for recording and editing sounds.
  • ImgBurn: A tool for burning various types of discs, including CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.
  • Recuva: A file recovery tool that helps retrieve accidentally deleted files.
  • Skype: A communication platform offering voice and video calls over the internet.
  • Team Viewer: A remote access and support software for connecting to other devices.

2. Shareware:

Shareware is software distributed freely to users on a trial basis, often with a time limit. After the trial period expires, users are prompted to pay for continued access. Various types of shareware include Adware, Donationware, Nagware, Freemium, and Demoware (Crippleware and Trialware). Examples of shareware include:

  • Adobe Acrobat: A tool for creating, editing, and viewing PDF documents.
  • Getright: A download manager that enhances file downloading from the internet.
  • PHP Debugger: A debugging tool for PHP scripts.
  • Winzip: A file compression and archiving utility.

3. Open-source:

Open-source software provides users with access to the source code, enabling them to freely distribute, modify, and add features to the software. This category includes both free and chargeable software. Examples of open-source software encompass:

  • Apache Web Server: An open-source web server software widely used for hosting websites.
  • GNU Compiler Collection: A set of compilers supporting various programming languages.
  • Moodle: An open-source learning platform designed for educators.
  • Mozilla Firefox: A popular open-source web browser.
  • Thunderbird: An open-source email client.

4. Closed-Source:

Closed-source applications are typically paid, and their source code is proprietary, meaning it is kept confidential and protected by intellectual property rights or patents. Examples of closed-source software include:

  • macOS: Apple’s proprietary operating system for Mac computers.
  • Microsoft Windows: The widely used closed-source operating system.
  • Google Earth: A closed-source application for exploring the Earth’s surface.
  • Skype: While also available as freeware, Skype’s source code is closed.


Understanding the classification of software, including system and application software, is essential in navigating the technological landscape. Additionally, considering the availability and sharability of software, provides a holistic view. We hope this guide has clarified the two main types of software and its functions with example.

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