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How is hardware different from software? Give two reasons why hardware is useless...

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computerscience | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2010 at 2:07 PM via web

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How is hardware different from software? Give two reasons why hardware is useless without software?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM (Answer #1)

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Hardware is the machinery of a computer, things like the hard drive and the memory chips.  These are physical devices that you can look at and touch.  Software is the programming, the things that are written and copyrighted rather than built and patented.  You can't see the software -- just the hardware (like a DVD) that the software is encoded on.

Hardware is useless without software because the machinery will not and cannot do anything without programming to tell it what to do.  Without an operating system, the computer can't do anything.  Without other software, like Microsoft Office, you can't type anything or listen to music or watch video or anything.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 28, 2010 at 9:12 PM (Answer #2)

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Information technology systems are frequently classified in two major components called hardware and software. Hardware consist of physical equipments that are used for processing information in various ways, and software consists of the instructions or programs that determine tasks be performed by the hardware and the way these tasks are performed.

Hardware refers to the physical equipment used for information processing, including systems in these equipments used for accepting input data for processing and generating output information to be supplied for information. Traditional equipments like typewriters, visible index systems, slide rules and calculators are all examples of hardware used in information systems. But the most important class of information processing hardware today is computers. The development of advanced computer technology and its widespread use has given rise to a wide range of devices and systems that use the highly versatile, economical, and speed capacity of computers. For example, the digital photography is now poised to completely replace the film-based photography for common use.

Another important set of hardware used in information processing is the communication equipment used for sending and receiving information from on place to another. These days the communication systems also rely heavily on computers for effective, speedy, and economical operation.

Software is a set of instructions that enables a computer to perform specific tasks, as opposed to the physical components of the system or the hardware. In the good old days of manual information systems, these instructions and programs were executed primarily by people who constantly interacted with the physical equipment to make it work in the desirable way. However in today’s highly automated information systems, the instructions need to be executed by the equipment with very little and infrequent human interaction. For example, the old typewriters were operated by pressing keys for typing each character and performing so many other actions. However, a modern computer printer, once set up properly, can type out any amount text as well as graphic material without any human intervention. This is because the printer is receiving instructions for each dot to be printed by it in the form of software fed to it.

Software includes application software such as a word processor, which enables a user to perform a task, and system software such as an operating system, which enables other software to run properly, by interfacing with hardware and with other software or custom software made to user specifications.

Software is an ordered sequence of instructions for changing the state of the computer hardware in a particular sequence. It is usually written in high-level programming languages that are easier and more efficient for humans to use (closer to natural language) than machine language. In practical terms, a computer program might include anywhere from a dozen instructions to many millions of instructions for software of applications like word processing or a web browser.

There is only one reason why hardware will be useless without the software . The hardware will simply not do any thing automatically.

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