Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between System Software and Application Software

System Software vs Application Software

System software manages and operates computer hardware thereby providing a platform for other application software. The one name that comes to mind in hearing the words “system software” is Operating System like Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows. Operating System makes it possible for different computer parts to work in tandem. It is also known as low-level software as it operates on the lowest computer level. It makes data movement possible between the memory and disks and manages the output to display devices. Another system software is BIOS and firmware. This helps in operating the built-in or connected computer hardware. We can make use of utilities like language translator, compilers, DBMS programs, and other diagnostic tools that are a special type of system software.

Application software is a subset of system software with the ability to employ certain computer functions directly as per user requirements. It gives the user the power to perform either single or multiple tasks. User specific software like animations, graphics, or macros follows under the aegis of application software. Other popular application software includes: CRM software, ERP software, accounting, graphics, and media software.

Many a times it becomes difficult to distinguish the subclass of application software from the main class of system software. But there are a few basic differences that help our understanding of the matter:

To understand the difference between system software and application software in layman terms, consider the example of a hydroelectric plant and tap water. Here “hydroelectric plant” is analogous to “system software” while “tap water” symbolizes “application software.”

In embedded systems like software used in microwave ovens and DVD players, it’s difficult to tread the thin line between application software and operating system software.

Well programmed system software abstracts its complex details from application software.

The number of system software running on your machine is less than application software as the presence of the latter depends on the user requirements.

System software can exist as a lone entity whereas application software needs system software for its existence.


1.System software is an integral part that aids in the computer’s functioning. It manages the computer resources in ways that they can operate in tandem.

2.Application software is created for users. They manage their specific tasks to suit their needs like a media player of word processors.

3.System software provides a platform for the execution of application software.

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  1. This is really a very good article for newbies in technology or people who do know much about software. Many people still don’t know what a software really means.

  2. this is a very good article,it really helped me a lot coz i’m new in the it department

  3. Very good even 4 layman

  4. when was this information written

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  8. Exclent topic very easy to understand

  9. easy to understand

  10. Thanks to delivered the much easier topic for our understanding ..

  11. very amazing but please define well

  12. Educative lecture thank you.

  13. Thanks to define
    I’m happy and vry easy to understand

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