Difference Between System Software and Application Software

System Software vs Application Software

System software and application software are computer programs. The system software is also installed during the installation of the operating system. However, the application software utilizes the capabilities of the computer on which it is installed.

System Software

The programs and the file that comprises the operating system are called system software. These files include configuration files, system preferences, system services, libraries of functions and the drivers for the hardware installed on the computer. The computer programs in system software include compilers, system utilities, assemblers, debuggers and file management tools.

Once you install the operating system, the system software is also installed. Program such “Software update” or “Windows update” can be used to update the system software. However, the end user does not run the system software. For example, while using the web browser, you don’t need to use the assembler program.

System software is also called low-level software as it runs at most basic level of the computer. It just creates a graphical user interface thorough which the user can interact with hardware with the help of operating system. System software just runs at the back so you don’t need to bother about it.

The system software provides an environment to run application software and it controls the computer as well as the applications installed on the machine.

Application software

The subclass of a computer program which utilizes the capabilities of computer is called application software. Application here means the application software and the implementation. The example of application software programs includes media players, spreadsheets and word processors. When multiple applications are packaged together then it is called application suite.

There is a common user interface in each application suite which makes it easier for the user to learn different applications. In some cases, such as Microsoft Office, the various application programs have the ability to interact with each other. This facility is very handy for the user. For example, a user can embed the spreadsheet in a word processor using the application software. Application software cannot run without the presence of system software.

Difference between system software and application software

• System software gets installed when the operating system is installed on the computer while application software is installed according to the requirements of the user.

• System software includes programs such as compilers, debuggers, drivers, assemblers while application software includes media players, word processors, and spreadsheet programs.

• Generally, users do not interact with system software as it works in the background whereas users interact with application software while doing different activities.

• A computer may not require more than one type of system software while there may be a number of application software programs installed on the computer at the same time.

• System software can run independently of the application software while application software cannot run without the presence of the system software.

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