The totality of programs usable on a particular kind of computer, together with the documentation associated with a computer or program such as operating instructions.
In simple terms, computers are general purpose machines. The ingredient that sets up a computer to perform a certain task is software – electronic instructions that usually reside in storage. A specific set of these instructions is called a program. When a computer is using a particular program, we say it is running or executing that program. The computer as such is just a box of metal and plastic. It is the programs that tell the machine’s physical components what to do.
Most software can be divided into two major categories: system software and application software. One major type of system software, called operating system, tells the computer how to use its own components. Application software tells the computer how to accomplish specific tasks for the user.
When you turn on a computer, it goes through several steps to prepare itself use. The first step is a self-test. Here the computer identifies the devices that are attached to it. Counts the amount of memory available, and does a quick check to see whether the memory is functioning properly.
Next, the computer looks for special program called an operating system. The operating system tells the computer how to interact with the user and how to use devices such as the disk drive, key board, and monitor. When it finds the operating systems, the computer loads that program into the memory, because the operating system is needed to control many of the computer’s most basic functions, it continues to run until the computer is turned off.
What is an operating System?
An operating system (OS) manages all the interaction between the user and the PC, individual programs and the PC as well as between the PC and other peripherals like printers etc. It helps a program, for instance, by taking over the task of locating files, displaying information, printing a document, interacting with other FC’s or generating sound effects.
From the user’s point of view, the OS provides the interface through which he or she interacts with PC. The first OS, DOS [Disk Operating system] provided only a line on which arcane commands had to be entered. Newer OSs offer graphical user interfaces [GUI] substituting command driven operations with menu driven ones, and using symbols and icons to represent files, programs, floppy drives et al.
After the computer finds and runs the operating system, it is ready to accept commands from an input device – usually the keyboard or a mouse. At this point, the user can issue commands to the computer. A command might, for example, list the programs stored o the computer’s disk or make the computer run one of these programs.
The operating system coordinates the work of the computer be telling it when it should accept information from the keyboard, where it should store information, and how it should do certain kinds of operations and hundreds of other important duties.
A computer which is running only on operating system is not very useful, because the operating system is mostly for the benefit of the computer. There are other programs which are required to make the computer useful for people. This is where the application software steps in. Application software has been written to do almost every task imaginable. There are literally thousands of these programs available for application in various fields.
User’s Software Choice of 1994:
Software User’s Choice Runner Up
Word Processors Word Perfect Word star
Spread sheets Microsoft Word Quattro Pro
Databases Fox Pro dBase
Graphics Software Corel Draw Harvard Graphics
DTP Software Corel Ventura Page Maker
Financial accounting Tally E –X
Anti- Virus Nashot Mc Afee Scan
Software Tools Borland C /C ++ CA Clipper
Now there are lot of changes in programs for user’s choice.