Software Explained

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Operating Systems

To function correctly computer systems need to run something called an operating system. The operating system is the base layer of software that manages and controls all the components and peripherals attached the computer system. It creates a standardised system architecture for applications to be installed within and decodes all input/output data as intended by the user. Whilst there are hundreds of different operating systems there are three main operating systems that hold the main personal computer market share. These are Windows with 91.68% of market share, Mac OS X with 6.64% market share and Linux with 1.68% market share. These systems are all able to install and incorporate hardware drivers, which allow hardware to be compatible with the software; on top of this, they all enable the installation of applications that further the functioning ability of the computer system.

Application Programs

Whilst operating systems manage the workings of a computer system they don’t directly benefit the user by performing a useful task, this is the job of software called an application. An application is installed within the operating system to add functionality that is useful to the user, for instance – Word Processors, Database Tools, Image Editors, Music Editors and Web Browsers. All of these applications help users control, manage and edit varying types of data in a way that’s useful to them. Below is a list of the most popular downloaded apps on mobile operating systems; this goes to show the necessity of applications.


Utilities are another form of software that is used to analyse, maintain, configure and optimize either the operating system or computer hardware. They are usually pre-installed by the operating system itself but can also be downloaded and installed from external sources. As an operating system they serve no direct use to the user, they are solely used for the operation of the computer. Examples of this type of software can be found pre-installed in the Windows 7 operating system such as Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter and Task Manager. There are others available from external sources such as Piriform’s Ccleaner, Malwarebytes and Wise Registry Cleaner. All of these utilities help to keep the computer in check and functioning well so the user can continue to use applications efficiently and safely.

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