What Is Software?

Home & Family, Technology
on March 4, 2012

Computer software consists of programs that tell computers what to do. These five common software examples should clarify the concept.

Operating systems. An operating system is a software program that allows your computer to communicate with other software programs. Without an operating system, a computer is useless. The most common operating system is Microsoft Windows for PCs and Mac OS for Apple. When you purchase a computer, it will already contain an operating system.

Web browsers. Whether you accessed this site through Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari, you have used a web browser. The basic uses and functions of a web browser are the same. Its objective is to help you search the Internet in the most convenient, user-friendly way possible. Specific web browsers contain some features each believes sets it apart from the others. Internet Explorer comes as standard software on computers using Microsoft Windows. Safari comes standard on Macintosh computers. Other browsers can be downloaded for free. The technology website CNET ranks Firefox as one of the top downloaded web browsers.

Office software. Computers have revolutionized word processing and presentation quality. Office software programs are why. The most popular office software is Microsoft Office, which includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Publisher. These come at an additional cost on Windows PCs. Office software can also be downloaded from the Internet. OpenOffice.org offers the same types of software at no charge.

Music players. The days of 8-tracks, cassettes, record albums and even CDs are going the way of the steam engine. No longer do you need to visit the record store to get the latest hits. Most music can now be downloaded from the Internet at a small cost. In order to access all that music, you must have the appropriate music software, the most popular being iTunes, Apple's music player and organizer. Windows Media comes standard on PCs, but PC users are not limited to Windows Media. They can download iTunes and other music players, such as RealPlayer. If you buy an mp3 player, it will most likely come with a music player/organizer that needs to be installed on your computer to help you transfer music to the device.

Document readers. Electronic publishers needed a way to distribute their written materials without fear of it being modified or copied illegally. Adobe stepped up and created a portable document format (PDF) reader. If you need to read just about anything online, you're going to need to download Adobe. It's free.

These are just a few examples of computer software. These examples have probably helped you think of dozens of others.