Difference Between System Software and Application Software

Complete Guide To Difference Between System Software and Application Software.

SOFTWARE is a collection of data that tells the computer how to work. It is a contrast to the physical hardware from which the system is made up of and performs the work.

Computer software is all the information possessed by data, computer systems, and data. Computer software includes libraries, computer programs, and non-executable data such as digital media or online documentation.

Software is written in two types of language which are low-level and high-level language, but the majority of the software is written in high-level language as they are easier for the programmers as they are closer to natural languages than machine language.

Low-level language is a machine-based language, High-level languages are natural machine language and the programmers are also very familiar with the high-level language.

software and application software

There are two types of Software:

  • System software
  • Application software

System software includes the programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself; such as the operating system, disk operating system(DOS), and file management utilities. 

The operating system manages the computer hardware resources in applications and data. 

Without system software installed on our computer, we will have to type the instructions for each and everything that we need to do! 

System Software Includes

  1. Device drivers: It is a software that controls or operates the device attached to the computer. 
  2. Middleware/translator: It is a software that provides services to software applications.It makes software developers work easy to implement communication(input/output). 
  3. Utility software: It is a software that is specifically designed to help and tune the computer hardware.
  4. Operating systems: The system software responsible for the management and direct control of hardware and basic system operations 
  5. Windowing system and shells: It is a software that provides a window-based graphical interface. 

1. Device Drivers: 

It is a type of system software that brings computers to life.This makes it possible for all the connected devices and externals to perform their particular task. Without drivers, it will be impossible for the operating system to assign any duties.

Example of the devices which need drivers: 

  • Keyboard 
  • Network card 
  • Printer
  • Mouse 
  • Sound Card 
  • Display Card 

Input devices such as mouse and keyboard have their drivers installed. If the driver is new than the operating system, then the user has to download drivers from manufacturer websites.

2. Middleware/Translator: 

These are intermediate programs relied on software programs to translate high-level language to machine language.

Popular translator languages are: compilers, interpreters, assemblers. They are designed by computer manufacturers. 

Translators simplify the work of software developers, and also help in the following tasks: 

  • Identify syntax errors 
  • Provide diagnostic reports 
  • Allocate data storage
  • List source code and program details 

3. Utility Software:

These are types of system software which sit between system software and application software. These programs are intended for diagnostic and maintenance of computers. 

These are third-party tools but they can come in bundled with the os(Operating system).Third-party tools come with both bundled or individually with Boot CD, Ultimate Boot CD, and Kaspersky rescue disk. 

Examples and features: 

  • Antivirus and security software are used for the security of files and applications, e.g., Malwarebytes, Microsoft Security Essentials, and AVG. 
  •  Disk defragmentation which is used to organize scattered files on the drive. Examples are: PerfectDisk, Diskeeper, Comodo Free Firewall, and Little Snitch.
  • File Compression which are used to optimize disk space such as , Winzip, 7-Zip, WinRAR.

4. Operating System:

It is the type of system software that is between the computer hardware and the user.It is the first thing that is installed on the computer to allow devices and all the applications to be identified. 

Types of the operating system: 

  • Single-user and Single task OS applications on phone: Installed on devices like phones. 
  • Network OS: Type of operating system which is used to share resources such as files. 
  • Multi-user OS: It is installed in the network environments where many users can share their resources like files, links, etc. 
  • Single-user and Multitask: Installed on contemporary personal computers. 
  • Real-time OS: Installed in special-purpose systems embedded systems like robots, modems, and cars. 
  • Mobile OS: Designed to run on phones, tablets.and other mobile devices. 
  • Internet OS: Designed to run on online browsers. 

5. Windowing System: 

It is a software that manages different parts of the display screen separately. 

There are handful of windowing system, I am gonna list some of down over here:

For UNIX like Operating System:

  • MGR(manager): It was an early windowing system developed for sun computers in 1984 by STEPHEN A. ULHER. 
  • Sapphire: Application with which user interacts no longer runs on a single user’s desktop. That’s why this types of operating systems are created.
  • X window system: It is a windowing system for bitmap displays or common unix-like operating system.
  • W window system: It is a discontinued window system 

For Windows Operating System:

  • Classic Shell: It is a software for microsoft which provides user interface elements  to restore familiar features from past versions of Windows.
  • ReactOS Explorer: It is an free operating system which was made to be binary compatible with device drivers and computer programs.

Web Windowing System

  • Dojo
  • ExtJS
  • Web window manager


It manages everything at one time like start menu, taskbar, familiar desktop environment, and a graphical user interface to access the file management functions of the OS(operating system).

There are two types of shell

  1. Command-line shells: It is an operating system which uses alphanumeric characters on the keyboard to provide data and instructions to the operating system(OS).
  2. Graphical shells: It provides means for manipulating programs graphically by allowing operations such as moving,closing,opening and resizing windows.

Features of System Software: 

  • It is written in a low-level language(machine codes)
  • It is closer to the system 
  • Difficult to design and Understand
  • Hard to manipulate
  • A person doesn’t need to interact with (Less interactive)
  • Fast in speed
  • Very small in size 
  • Hard to use 

Application Software(app): 

Is a program or group of programs created for users. Applications may be bundled with a computer and its software system, or separately and may be coded as open-source, proprietary, or university objects.

It is a computer program that is designed to help people to perform the activity, Depending upon the activity for which it was designed an application can operate number,text,audio graphics and also combination of all these.

Some application focus on single ts such as word processing. It is a type of program that performs specific personal, educational and business function.

Difference Between System Software and Application Software

Application software includes:

  1. Word processor
  2. Spreadsheet
  3. Web processor
  4. An email client
  5. File viewer
  6. Media player
  7. Photo editor
  8. A comfort game

Types of application software categorised according to the work:

1. Data management

  • Contact manager
  • Database software
  • Spreadsheet

2. Documentation

  •  Word processor
  •  Email
  •  Blog processor
  •  Presentation software
  •  Diagramming software
  •  Document automation
  •  Desktop publishing software

3. Enterprise resource planning

4. Financial software

  •  Day trading software
  •  Banking software
  •  Arithmetic software

5. Field service management

  • Workforce management software

6. Project management software

  • Calendaring software
  • Employee scheduling software
  • Workflow software

Features of application software

  • Performs more specific tasks like photo editing, word processor and many more like this
  • It is bigger in size therefore needs more storage space
  • It is written in high-level language (strong abstraction )

Different components of system software

  • System software includes three components:
  1. Operating system (that manages hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer)
  2. System utilities (these are the core software functions which allow you to manage according to the way you are comfortable using it)
  3. Drivers (manages a device that is attached to the computer)

Categories of application software:

  • Database software Example- Oracle, ms access and many more
  • Word processing software Example- Notepad, Wordpad and ms-word 
  • Spreadsheet software Example- Microsoft excel, Apple numbers 
  • Multimedia software Example- Media player, Real player 
  • Educational software Example- Dictionaries 
  • Presentation software Example- Microsoft power point,Keynotes 
  • Enterprise software Example- Customer relationship management system
  • Information worker software Example- Resource management tools, Documentation tool 
  • Application suites Example- Microsoft office 
  • Simulation software Example- Scientific and flight simulators

System Software Vs Application Software :

  • System software is used to operate an operating system. Whereas Application software is used by user to perform their task.
  • System software is already installed on the computer when the operating system is installed. Whereas Application software is installed according to the user.
  • There is no interaction of the user with system software But Application software works according to the user only.
  • System software can run independently as it doesn’t need any support system Whereas Application software can’t run without system software.

Difference Between System Software and Application Software

Difference Between System Software and Application Software

At last I would like to say that system software is independent to run just operating system is provided to run it is installed on the computer at the time of installation. Whereas, Application system is not independent to run it needs system software to run.

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