Application Software Vs System Software: 10 Differences You Must Know

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Types Of Software

Computer software are programs and procedures intended to perform specific tasks on a system. Computer software systems are categorized into three major types namely application software, programming software and system software. Programming software helps in writing programs through tools such as linkers, debuggers, compiler/interpreters, ore and editors. Application software on the other hand, is used for attaining specific tasks whereas system software comprises of drivers, servers, OS and software components.

What Is Application Software?

Examples Of Application Software

Application Software also referred to as end-user programs or only an app. It is software capable of dealing with user inputs and help users to complete the task. It is programmed for simple as well as complex tasks. It is either installed or accessed online. Examples of Application software are:

  • Word processing software
  • Spreedsheets software
  • Presentation e.g Text editor
  • Graphics,
  • CAD/CAM,
  • Sending email etc.

What Is System Software?

System software is a type of computer program that provides a platform to run computer’s hardware and computer application to utilize system resources and solve their computation problem. The system software is installed on your computer when you install your operating system. It is written in a low-level language like assembly language so that it can easily interact with hardware with basic level. The programs that are part of the system software include: assemblers, compilers, file management tools, system utilities and debuggers.  Examples of system software include:

  • Operating systems like macOS, game engines, industrial automation, Ubuntu and Microsoft Windows.
  • System servers
  • Device drivers
  • Operating systems (OS)
  • Windows/graphical user interface (GUI) systems.

Application Software Features

  1. Application software performs specific tasks depending on how it has been designed. It cannot perform any other task that is beyond its scope.
  2. Application software consists of variety of programs that support the operation of computer.
  3. Application software cannot run independently. They cannot run without the presence of system software.
  4. Application software runs in accordance to user requests. It runs in the foreground.
  5. Application software is installed only when the user needs them.
  6. In application software, it is not mandatory to have application software installed/running on any system.
  7. Users interact with application software while using specific applications.
  8. Application software is written using high-level languages, such as Java, C++, VB, net etc.
  9. Application software has limited access to disks, memory etc.
  10. Examples of application software include: word processors, web browsers, media players, Microsoft office, Photoshop,  etc

 System Software Features

  1. Operating system is used to manage and control the computer hardware and application software.
  2. System software consists of a variety of programs that support the operation of computer.
  3. System software can run independently. It provides platform for running application software.
  4. System software is programmed and starts running as soon as the system is turned on. It keeps running until the system is shut down. It runs fully or partially in the background.
  5. It is installed on the computer/device at the time when the operating system is installed.
  6. In system software, hardware systems require at least one system software for the performance of their action.
  7. Users do not interact with the system software as it functions in the background.
  8. System software is written using low-level languages or assembly languages.
  9. System software has unlimited and continuous access to memory, disks etc.
  10. Examples of system software include: compiler, debugger, assembler, Text Editor, DBMS, diver, linker, BIOS, firmware, Macro Processor etc.

Application Software Vs System Software In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON APPLICATION SOFTWARE SYSTEM SOFTWARE
Function Application software performs specific tasks depending on how it has been designed. It cannot perform any other task that is beyond its scope.   Operating system is used to manage and control the computer hardware and application software.  
Made Up Of Consists of variety of programs that support the operation of computer.   Consists of a variety of programs that support the operation of computer.  
Dependence It cannot run independently. They cannot run without the presence of system software.   It can run independently. It provides platform for running application software.  
Operation It runs in accordance to user requests. It runs in the foreground.   It is programmed and starts running as soon as the system is turned on. It keeps running until the system is shut down. It runs fully or partially in the background.  
Installation It is installed only when the user needs them.   It is installed on the computer/device at the time when the operating system is installed.  
Requirement It is not mandatory to have application software installed/running on any system.   Hardware system requires at least one system software for the performance of its action.  
Users Users interact with application software while using specific applications.   Users do not interact with the system software as it functions in the background.  
Programming Language Application software is written using high-level languages, such as Java, C++, VB, net etc.   System software is written using low-level languages or assembly languages.  
Access Application software has limited access to disks, memory etc.   System software has unlimited and continuous access to memory, disks etc.  
Examples word processors  Web browsers Media players Microsoft office Photoshop, Compiler  Debugger Assembler Text Editor DBMS Diver  Linker  BIOS Firmware  Macro Processor etc.

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