The majority of users associate the term computer with its physical parts like casing, monitor, keyboard and so on, maybe at the most with some electronic elements such as the hard disk drive (HDD), the graphic or sound card and similar parts. Very few will think of the software as an essential part of any computer. In daily life, software means different kinds of computer programs and applications.
Software or programs are needed to operate the computer. It instructs the computer, when and how to perform a given task. The term software is very complex. Computer technology divides the category into three sub-categories: system software (operating software like Windows or Linux, drivers), application software (programs for accessing the internet, word processing and many more) and programming software, special tools, designed to help programmers in developing new software and making different programs work together smoothly.
This short list shows how important and complex the topic of software is. No computer can function without it. In the early days of computer technology, each of the machines had its own software which had to be installed by specialists. Those days are luckily gone. Now, users can choose between a wide variety of software. Especially in the field of application software there are countless programs around. A modern computer consists of the hardware, the operating system (mostly Windows or Linux) and application software like internet browsers. Another important part of system software are drivers. They are used to link external devices such as printers or DVD burners with the computer and enable the computer to operate them. Modern operating systems already include some oft the most commonly used drivers, for example those used to operate USB flash drives or headsets. Although the engineers are trying their best, no software is completely free from problems. In the computer language, those glitches are called bugs. However, modern operating systems tend to be very reliable.