Have you ever been baffled by the terms hardware and software because you have no idea what they are or how they are different? If so, you’re not alone! These two terms are probably two of the most important terms in the IT world and we are here to help you understand what they are.


First and foremost, hardware describes the physical devices, such as keyboards and hard drives, printers, your mouse, a display monitor, a video card, etc. Hardware is anything physical that can be connected to your computer. As you may assume, without hardware, a computer would not function. It is, therefore, very important. You generally get five different types of hardware: input, storage, processing, control and output devices.


We have now established that hardware is the physical aspect, but where does software come in? Software is a general term that is used to describe a collection of computer programs, procedures and documentation. It is the code that provides instructions for the hardware. It is a program that enables a computer to perform specific tasks.  These computer systems can be divided into three major classes: programming software, system software, and application software. Popular examples of software would be Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer and Quickbooks.

The differences

One major difference between hardware and software is that hardware does not need software to function. The hardware is capable of performing basic tasks without software, but the software is there to act out specific functions and send out specific instructions.

This image is, in a way, an illustration of software.

Hardware serves as the delivery system for software solutions. The hardware of a computer is infrequently changed, in comparison to software and data, which are ”soft” in the sense that they are readily created, modified, or erased on the computer. Hardware serves as a delivery system for software solutions. In nature, hardware is physical, whereas software is logical.

keyboards are examples of hardware

Hardware, frustratingly enough, fails randomly whereas software has systematic failures that do not have an increasing failure rate like hardware. As you may assume, hardware is not unquestionably durable. It wears out over time, whereas software does not. The only issue that may arise with software as time passes is the discovery of bugs. To read more about malware or viruses, visit these sites.

Then, of course, you get firmware. Firmware is software on a chip that is built into the hardware. Essentially, it is ¨software for hardware¨. Okay, so what is the difference between software and firmware – you may ask? Good question. Software is more of an umbrella term that firmware falls under. It is a special kind of software that serves a very narrow purpose for a piece of hardware. Where software is interchangeable, firmware is not and while hardware can function without software, it cannot function without firmware.

The above chip is a representation of a firmware chip

Have you ever heard of wetware? Well, it certainly is a real thing. It refers to the mixture of software, hardware, and biology. Computer hardware can be contrasted with a human’s “hardware” like the brain and nervous system, and software can refer to our thoughts or DNA instructions. This is why wetware is commonly associated with devices that interact or merge with biological material, such as thought-controlled devices, brain-harnessed super devices, and biological engineering.

Are you wanting the best software and operating systems? Are you wanting to top up your hardware or update your software? Or, do you have any questions that lay unanswered? If so, we can help! Contact us here and our trained professionals will get back to you.