Difference Between System Software and Application Software

In this tutorial, we will learn about the system software, application software, and difference between them. By Monika Jha Last updated : May 08, 2023

Software is referred to as a set of programs that are designed to perform a well-defined function. A program is a particular sequence of instructions written to solve a particular problem.

There are two categories of software,

  1. System Software
  2. Application Software
System Software and Application Software

Application and System Software

1. System Software

A collection of programs that are designed to operate, control, and extend the processing capabilities of the computer itself, is known as system software.

  • The computer manufacturers prepare System Software. It includes the programs that are written in low-level languages that interact with the hardware at a very basic level.
  • System Software is a general-purpose software and it works as an interface between application programs (end users) and the computer hardware.
  • System Software manages the system resources and provides a path for running the application software.

For Instance, Operating System and Language Translators are a system software is the System Software. An Operating System (OS) is Software that acts as an interface between end-user and the hardware of the computer.

It provides a specific graphical user interface (GUI) to control the computer.

Features of System Software

The following are the features of system software:

  • It is close to the system
  • It is faster and smaller in size
  • Difficult to design and also difficult to understand
  • Less interactive and difficult to manipulate
  • It is written in machine language

2. Application Software

Application software is a special purpose software which is used by the user to perform a particular task.

  • Application software is designed to meet a particular requirement of a particular environment. All software applications written by the user are Application software.
  • This software we can install onto our Operating System. It includes a single program, just like Microsoft's notepad for writing and editing a simple text. under the various Operating Systems, these Applications software are written to run on OS.
  • If an application contains a collection of programs these are referred to as a software package. It works together to accomplish a task, such as a spreadsheet package.
  • Other examples such as Payroll Software, Student Record Software, Inventory, Income Tax Software, Railways Reservation Software, Microsoft Office Suite Software, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, etc.

Features of Application Software

The following are the features of application software:

  • It is close to the user
  • Easy to design and more interactive
  • It is generally written in high-level language
  • It requires more storage space as it is bigger in size

Difference between system software and application software

The following are the key differences between system software and application software:

  1. System Software is designed to manage the resources of the system like memory management, process management, protection, and security, etc. and also gives the path for application software to run. On the other hand, Application Software is designed to accomplish the requirements of the user for performing particular tasks.
  2. The System Software is written in a low-level language like assembly language or machine language. However, a high-level language is used to write Application Software. High-level languages such as Java, C++, .net, VB, etc.
  3. The System Software starts running as the system is powered on and run till the system is powered off. The Application Software starts when the user starts it and stops when the user stops it.
  4. A system can only run with the System Software while the system always runs without the Application Software as they are only meant for a user.
  5. The System Software are Operating system, compiler, assembler, debugger, driver, etc while the examples of Application Software are VLC player, etc, Photoshop, etc.
  6. The System Software is general-purpose software while Application Software is counted in specific purpose software.

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