Difference Between Hardware and Software

A computer system is divided into two categories: Hardware and Software. Hardware refers to the physical and visible components of the system such as a monitor, CPU, keyboard and mouse.

Software, on the other hand, refers to a set of instructions which enable the hardware to perform a specific set of tasks. The software must be installed in the hardware to function properly and similarly, the hardware must be present for the tasks to be performed. Both are interdependent, yet they are also different from each other.

Difference Between Software and Hardware - UPSC 2020

Further differences between Hardware and Software will be discussed in great detail within the context of the IAS Exam                                                                                                                                                        

Differences between Hardware and Software



Hardware is further divided into four main categories: 

  • Input Devices
  • Output Devices
  • Secondary Storage Devices
  • Internal Components
Software is further divided into two main categories:

  • Application Software
  • System Software
Developed using electronic and other materials Developed writing using instructions using a programming language
When damaged, it can be replaced with a new component When damaged it can be installed once more using a backup copy
Hardware is physical in nature and hence one can touch and see hardware The software cannot be physically touched but still can be used and seen
Hardware cannot be infected by Viruses The software can be infected by Viruses
Hardware will physically wear out over time A software does not wear out but it can be affected by bugs and glitches
An example of Hardware is hard drives, monitors, CPU, scanners, printers etc. An example of software is Windows 10, Adobe Photoshop, Google Chrome etc.

Candidates can check important Computer software and hardware questions on the given link to practice and prepare well.

Both Hardware and Software are covered under the Science and Technology segment of the UPSC Exam. To learn about the topics in this segment, aspirants can refer to the following links.

Aspirants can find more Difference Between Articles, by visiting the linked page

Difference Between Software and Hardware – Download PDF Here

For more UPSC Exam related preparation materials visit the following links given below:

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