Applications software

Applications software is software that is applied to particular problems. It is not applied to the management of the resources of the computer such as memory, time spent on processing jobs and dealing with the input and output. It is however the particular purpose or application such as;

•Order processing


•Stock control


•Creating websites

•Image editing




Systems software

System software is any computer software that can be used to manage and control the hardware, which allows the applications software to do a useful job. Systems software is a set of programs which instruct the hardware what to do. Systems software consists of the following programs;

•Operating systems

•GUI (graphical user interface)

•File management


Brands of Systems Software


Microsoft windows is the most popular by far and it was developed to be compatible with many different types of computers with different manufacturers. There are many different versions that need to run more demanding applications and cope with the increased security issues, including;

•Windows 2000

•Windows NT

•Windows XP

•Windows Vista

•Windows 7

•Windows 8


This is a system software that was developed in the early years of computing. It can be used by different types of computer (mainframes as well as PC’s). It has a graphic language interface but also uses a command line interface. UNIX is programmed into language C, it is a multi programming operating system and can be used to run hundreds of terminals.


This is a free operating system that has only recently gained popularity. Advantages of using Linux is that it is secure and has good stability. It can be used as server software but it’s popularity with home and small business users is increasing.

Macintosh OS

This is a system software created by Apple. The Mac operating system is used with Mac computers which are popular in the area of graphic design. The latest Mac operating system is OS-X Mountain Lion but systems always change due to updates.

The Operating System

The operating system’s main purpose is to allow the applications software to interact with the computer hardware. It allows the computer hardware to behave predictably so that the applications software can use it. The tasks that the operating system would perform include;

•Diagnostic checks – performs this when computer is switched on

•Controls the receipt of input devices (keyboard and mouse)

•Controls output – sends info to screen or other output devices

•Memory management – controls memory allocations for programs

•Controls flow of data to and from the main processor

•Works out where to store the data on the hard disk drive

•Deals with security issues (usernames and passwords)

•Handles interrupts when applications software contains bugs or when there is a hardware fault


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Utilities and File Management


A utility is a program that is made to perform a very specific task. This could be anything from virus scanners to file converters and a series of these utilities are included in the systems software.

File Management

File management software comes as part of the systems software. This software is used to create files and it performs the following;

- File/folder organisation - this is used to create folders, copy folders/files, rename folders/files, delete folders/files, move files/folders etc.

- Backup copy creation - this is simply creating copys of folders/files for reasons within security

- File compression - used to compress files before being sent over a network

- Defragmentation - this is the software used to tidy up the surface of a magnetic hard drive to allow files to be accessed and read quicker by the operating system

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Word Processing

Word Processing software is used to produce documents containing text. This software is good for creating things like;

- Reports

- Letters

- Reference documents

- Memos

The user would enter the text into the word processing software, then the file could be imported into publishing software. There are many tasks that this software will complete for the user, including the page layout/format (borders, margins, page orientation etc), formatting text (font size, font colour/style etc), formatting blocks of text (justification, hyphenation, bullet points/numbering etc).


Spreadsheet software is used to manipulate numbers and text arranged in cells. You can use different formula to create relationships from one cell to other cells. The formula will automatically make calculations for you with the values you enter into the cells. Spreadsheet software is useful when working with the following;

- Budgets

- Cash flow forecasts

- Accounts (e.g. profit and loss, end of year accounts)

- Creating and using models

- Performing statistical analysis of data

- Producing graphs and charts from sets of data

Web Browsers

Web browser software is the software used to access the internet. There are many different versions, including Google chrome, Microsoft internet explorer and Apple's safari.