What is a Computer Application? Application Software?

In the past I did an article about the differences between Hardware and Software.    Then I wrote about what is a computer process


I have noticed that I come across questions that get a bit more technical in nature.  I decided I would try to explain in laymen terms today one of the more technical terms you may have heard about.


Today’s How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner is:  What is a computer application?  What is application software?


I think the best way to explain it is to introduced first what we call:

System Software


computer-applicationSystem software is programs that make you computer run.  It would be your operating system for example.    The system software is what makes your computer work.  It tells you computer to turn on, tells your computer hardware what to do.


I would say most of the time we take our system software for granted, because we don’t do to much literally with it.  The system software basically helps operate our computer.  It tells the machine – this is the keyboard, this is the monitor, this is the memory, etc.  It also shows the computer what to do with those things.


As you may see in  our picture today there are other technical system software categories as well.


Here is a brief description with additional pictures to show you system software.


Computer Application or Application Software


A computer application or application software would be a program like for example, Office 2010.  Office 2010 is what they call a Suite of programs.  It has more than one program you can use.  It may include Access, Excel, Word, Outlook, etc.


It laymen terms?  Its another word for a computer program or an executable file.   You execute the file most of the time by double clicking the programs icon.


Software that allows users to do things like create text documents, play games, listen to music, or surf the web are called Application Software.  If we view out picture today we can see programs that we may use to do some of the tasks mentioned.  If you deal with pictures (graphics) that would also be an computer application or application software.


Here is an article that goes into more technical terms for the computer application, or application software.


Computer Hope has a webpage called, The complete listing of Computer software.  These are all computer applications or application software.  Keep in mind new software is coming out all the time, but it sure does look like they nailed most of them!


That is our How-To Guide for the Computer Beginner on Computer application, application software, and system software.


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