Browse Definitions:
Definition

system software

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

System software is a type of computer program that is designed to run a computer’s hardware and application programs. If we think of the computer system as a layered model, the system software is the interface between the hardware and user applications.

The operating system (OS) is the best-known example of system software. The OS manages all the other programs in a computer.

Other examples of system software and what each does:

  • The BIOS (basic input/output system) gets the computer system started after you turn it on and manages the data flow between the operating system and attached devices such as the hard disk, video adapter, keyboard, mouse, and printer.
  • The boot program loads the operating system into the computer's main memory or random access memory (RAM).
  • An assembler takes basic computer instructions and converts them into a pattern of bits that the computer's processor can use to perform its basic operations.
  • A device driver controls a particular type of device that is attached to your computer, such as a keyboard or a mouse. The driver program converts the more general input/output instructions of the operating system to messages that the device type can understand.
  • According to some definitions, system software also includes system utilities, such as the disk defragmenter and System Restore, and development tools such as compilers and debuggers.

System software and application programs are the two main types of computer software. Unlike system software, an application program (often just called an application or app) performs a particular function for the user. Examples (among many possibilities) include browsers, email clients, word processors and spreadsheets.

 

See also: firmware, middleware

This was last updated in June 2015

Continue Reading About system software

Join the conversation

8 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

YOU STUPID AS FUCK YALL GAY ASS
TELL YO MAMS TO STOP SUCKING DICK
Cancel
stop it
Cancel
eat shit Asshole
Cancel
software is a computer device that is not a physical form. I love learning computer software
belajarkomputer00.blogspot.com
Cancel
this was sick
Cancel
kieran burke
Cancel
Myles Drinkwater
Cancel
shut up
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining ...

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • non-volatile memory (NVM)

    Non-volatile memory (NVMe) is a semiconductor technology that does not require a continuous power supply to retain the data or ...

  • hybrid hard drive (HHD)

    A hybrid hard drive (HHD), sometimes known as a solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD), is a mass storage device that combines a ...

  • USB flash drive

    A USB flash drive -- also known as a stick, thumb or pen drive -- is a plug-and-play portable storage device that uses flash ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close