The Operating system, Utility programs and Drivers
Softwares such as Graphics Packages, Web Browsers
This is the part of the System Software, and a computer cannot function without one. Allows the application software to communicate with the hardware.
The tasks that the Operating System can do are:
1. Sorting out where to store data on disk drives
2. Dealing with security - user names and passwords
3. Organising files and folders
4. Managing data transfer from the CPU to the peripherals e.g. printer, monitor
5. Deals with saving, deleting, opening, closing files
Utility programs are part of the systems software.
Their Tasks are:
1. File compression
2. File sorting
3. File renaming
4. File conversion (e.g. convert a sound file to MP3)
5. File repair
6. Disk defragmentation (defragging, concentrating all files on a disk)
7. To find out more about utility programs, check out the utility program mini-website.
Software applications work through the operating system to gain access to the hardware.
A software application carries out tasks that the user is interested in doing such as writing a letter, creating graphs, sending an email or downloading a webpage.
Application software can be classified in to three categories:
1. General purpose software
2. Specialist software
3. Tailor made or bespoke software
A driver is a specially written program which translates the commands from the operating system into commands that the hardware will understand.
E.g. For printers so that the printers would understand what is the correct format to print in.
General Purpose Software
This type of software tries to be a 'jack-of-all-trades'. It provides many features that the majority of users will want e.g. formatting text, creating charts, organizing tables...
There are several good reasons for using general purpose software:
1. It is relatively cheap
2. It is easily available from most computer shops
3. It will have been thoroughly tested so there won't be any serious problems or bugs
4. There will be lots of user support i.e. books, user guides, online help and discussion forums on the Internet
It has to be purchased directly from the manufactures and they're designed to do specific tasks such as ompany payroll, stock control systems, appointment systems, ecommerce sites etc. Like general purpose software, there may be many features that the company does not need, or the features which are available may not work exactly as they would like in their business.
Software systems that are designed and developed specifically for a specific company. This is called 'tailor-made' or 'bespoke' software.
The main advantages are:
the company will get the exact software/system that they need
the software will work exactly how they want it to work
the software will only have the features that they specifically need in their business.
The main disadvantages of this approach are:
it takes a long time to develop such a system, between a few months to years
it costs a great deal of money to develop such a system.
the company may need to employ a team of people such as business analysts, programmers, testers etc
there will be little in the way of user support and online help
A package which contains a variety of softwares with different functions for the user to use. The aim is to be cheaper to buy the package than buying each software individually.