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Hardware and Software in Computers Demystified

What is meant by hardware and software in computers?

Computers have become an important part of our lives, enabling us to carry out a wide range of tasks that, a decade or so ago, would have seemed impossible. From communication to commerce, most of the things that happen around the world today are, in one way or the other, handled by computers. You may have heard that computers are made up of hardware and software, and this article seeks to demystify. Continue reading to find out more about hardware and software in computing and how the two interact to give you the experience that you have come to expect from your PC.

  1. Hardware

an example of computer hardware
A mouse is an example of a hardware component in computers

The term hardware refers to the physical components that make up a computer. These are the parts that you can actually touch. Hardware components enable you to interact with your computer, in a wide variety of ways. So, what are some of the examples of the hardware components that can be found on a computer?

Examples of Hardware Components on a Computer

The following are but a few of the hardware components that can commonly be found on computers today. While most form part of the computer itself, a number, such as printers, form part of what are commonly referred to as peripheral device;

  • Mice
  • Keyboards
  • Hard Disk Drives
  • MotherBoards
  • Processors (CPUs)
  • Monitors
  • SoundCards
  • Printers

The Device Manager in Windows

One way through which you can get a much more complete picture of all the hardware components that make up your computer is by opening Device Manager in Windows. The Windows Device Manager is a useful utility that every computer user should be aware of. It is where you can diagnose many of the problems that occur as a result of compatibility issues between a computer’s hardware and its operation system.

  1. Software

what is software in computers

When we talk about software, we are referring to the programs or instructions that enable a computer to carry out specific tasks.

A good example of software is your computer’s Operation System. We are using Windows 10 on our PC, but there are other Operation Systems out there, including Linux and Mac OS. It is also possible to have multiple Operation Systems on a single computer. Another example of Software is Microsoft Office Word, the word processing program with which we are producing this article.

How to find the list of Software that’s installed on a Computer

Finding out which software has been installed on your computer is pretty simple. The first thing that you need to do is open Control Panel. In Windows 10, you can do this by typing “Control Panel” in “Search”.  In Control Panel, click on Uninstall, which you can find under Programs.

The Windows Control Panel
Control Panel in Windows
List of  Programs

Clicking on Uninstall brings up a list of most of the programs that are installed on your computer. (Don’t worry. We are not going to uninstall anything.)

The software on our computer
The programs that are installed on our computer

Hardware and Software: Which is more important that the other?

The hardware and software components that make up a computer are of equal importance. Your PC would not exist without either of them. Hardware and Software components work in unison to enable us to carry out an amazing array of tasks.

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