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System software

The system software is the bottom layer, sitting between the hardware and the application software, if you conceive of software in layers. System software includes operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. When the device starts up, the operating system is loaded into RAM and has access to the hard drive.

Utility software

Utility software is part of the operating system and is responsible for keeping the computer running. Utility software runs in the background all of the time. Security and optimization programs are examples of utility software.

Anti-virus software looks for and removes viruses as part of security systems. Although most computers come with anti-virus software, you can add your own.

Tools for system cleanup, disc defragmentation, and file compression can all be found in optimization programs. These programs are usually included with the operating system. They have access to the hard drive and are responsible for keeping it clean.

Application software

An application or app is anything that isn’t an operating system or a utility. A word processor, spreadsheet, web browser, and graphics programme, for example, are all examples of application software that can do a variety of functions. Using the operating system, you can uninstall and add applications to your computer.

The operating system is directed by application software, such as a word processor, to load and save files from and to the hard drive on a regular basis. When you work on a file, it is saved in RAM for the time being. It is not written to the hard drive until you choose to save it. This is why, if your computer crashes while you’re working on a file, any changes you haven’t saved may be lost. The information stored in RAM is volatile. When the RAM loses power, the data is lost.

The operating system is also used by application software to communicate with the computer’s hardware and other software. When a web browser requests a web page, the operating system is in charge of controlling internet access and retrieving information from the internet. Similarly, the operating system tells the application program what key is being pushed and where the mouse is on the screen: where it is, what it clicked, and where it’s moving. The operating system is primarily reliant on application software to do these operations and convey all of this data.

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