Hardware vs Software
Hardware in a computer system refers to the physical equipment that are directly involved in the performance of data-processing or communications functions, such as the central processing unit, peripheral devices, and memory. Software is the code and instructions that control the functioning of the hardware and direct its operation, such as Microsoft Windows and Internet browser. Without one the other would not exist.
Both hardware and software are integral components of all digital electronic devices like computers, cellular systems, satellite systems etc. These computer related terms work in a combination to make computers function. The components of computer that have physical existence and touchable are hardware while software are those programs that run on hardware. No doubt, both components have their individual identity and function-ability, but it is the fact that without any component other is useless. Therefore, to make a system operational, it is very necessary that both hardware and software support each other to run a program.
Any component that can be visually observed and has physical existence is called hardware. All parts of computer, either inside or outside, are hardware. In short all those components that are touchable and assembled to make a computer are lie in hardware category like motherboard, hard drive, processor, ram, CD or DVD drive, mouse, keyboard, power and data cables, power supply etc. Without hardware, there is nothing to run the software, so there is no computer or any other digital electronic device, if there is no hardware.
If you want to perform some work on computer, then without software it is impossible. Software is a combination those programs that use hardware to make a computer or any other digital device functional. Actually, software runs on hardware to execute any program. Software is a compilation of computer programs, documentation and procedures. Any program that is used to perform a task on computer by sending instructions to hardware is software like operating systems, web browser, MS-Office, programming software etc.
Differences and similarities
Hardware starts functioning, when software is installed on it. On the other side, to deliver its set of instructions software needs hardware. Hardware components remain same for different types of software. It means all kinds of software can be run on same hardware without changing its basic structure or parts; just some modification is required to execute heavy software. Hardware is that component that can store data while data itself is called as software. More than one software can be run on one hardware at a time; however there is no possibility to work on same and single program on more than one hardware. Technological advancements are quick in software development like new version of operating systems by same company or an operating system with different features by another company. On the opposite, hardware advancements are slow as compared to software like it takes long time to change the specifications of processor or increase the storage capacity of hard drive.
No doubt, hardware and software have diverse functions, structure, and appearance, but it is also a fact that both are useless without each other. The components of computer that have physical appearance mean hardware will be ready for functioning only when proper software is installed on it. Similarly to run a program of software, you require hardware which could execute this software. Therefore, beside all differences, hardware and software are essential for each other.