When it comes to choosing tech for your business or at home, it’s important to understand the basics. Unless you have a background in IT, you might not be aware of the differences between hardware and software, which is important if you are going to be investing in things like cybersecurity, getting your equipment insured, or fixing simple issues with these things rather than relying solely on your IT department or service. So, here are the basics when it comes to the differences between hardware and software that you should know.
What is Hardware?
Hardware is what makes your computers or other tech devices work. It is the term used for the physical components that are put together to create the device you’re using. The basic hardware you will need to make a computer work is a keyboard, display, hard drive, motherboard, processor, power supply, video card, and memory. If any of your hardware components are faulty, this can result in poor performance, or your computer may not work at all.
You can also add hardware to your computer to enhance its performance, including a CD-ROM or DVD drive, printers, network cards, speakers, modem, etc. Adding hardware or investing in a computer that already has additional hardware fitted might be worthwhile to help certain software work more effectively. This can include your firewall and cybersecurity software which is essential to keep your data protected. Read more about this UTM Firewall Kit to learn more about hardware accessories for this kind of software.
What is Software?
Software is the term used for all of the programs that you will use on your computer. The most well-known examples include things like Microsoft Office programs like Word and Excel. Adobe is also a well-known brand that creates software for design and editing and is often used by businesses and individuals in creative fields like film, marketing, publishing, photography, etc. A computer also uses operating software to function, and although you can use a computer without this software, it will likely come up with an error message, and you will have very limited use of your computer. Your computer operating software will work with your hardware to help the computer function properly, but application software can be tailored to your specific needs, such as using design software, playing games, editing pictures or videos, or whatever it is you use your computer for.
Although you don’t necessarily need apps on your computer to use it, they will make a big difference, and the majority of people will use a variety of software to do things on their computers. It’s the same when you use your smartphone, the apps aren’t necessarily there to make it work properly, but they do allow you to use social media, shop online, monitor your daily step count, and so on.
You don’t need to be an IT whizz to use a computer, but it’s always good to understand the basics when it comes to the difference between hardware and software, so if there are any issues with your computer, you know where the problem is. It might be that you simply need to remove the software on your computer or clear space on your hard drive so that the software can be uploaded. If there is a problem with some part of your hardware, you might need to take it to a tech specialist to fix the issue or get a new computer altogether.