PC Software – What You Need to Know

Many programs are free for downloading from the internet and can make your computer more productive. However, before installing anything new, it’s a good idea to backup your data.

There are three basic types of pc software: device drivers, system software and applications. Each does a different job, but they all work together.

System software

System software is the primary set of programs that control and run the hardware on your computer. It also serves as a platform for application software to interact more abstractly with the hardware and software. Examples of system software include BIOS, device drivers, and firmware.

This type of software manages the overall computer operation, including memory and process management, security, and input/output management. It controls the different parts of your computer and monitors how they are used, and it can also protect your data from unauthorized access. It also includes a variety of utility programs, which are tools that help you optimize and maintain computer tasks. These can include disk defragmenters and backup utilities.


Application software is any programme that assists a user with performing tasks. These are the programmes that most people use – they include web browsers, e-mail programs, word processors, music and video games and software development tools.

Application software runs on top of system software, but they don’t interact with each other directly. It provides a platform for other programmes to run on, and handles the low-level functions that hardware and system software can’t do themselves.

Application software enables users to perform many tasks efficiently, including managing spreadsheets, writing documents and designing websites. It can also be used to manage business processes and give companies a competitive edge. This kind of software is available in a range of formats, from full-featured suites like Microsoft Word to simple smartphone apps. Some of them work across platforms, while others only work on one (like the infamous Candy Crush Saga). Some are free, while others are sold for a fee.


Drivers are software that enable computer hardware and software applications to interact with each other. They are packed with tiny settings that help everything work together as it should. They also contain security tweaks and eliminate problems within the software or hardware. Drivers often update automatically with Windows updates. Make sure you always get your drivers from reputable sources, as free downloads from the Internet may include bundled software or malware.

Without drivers, your computer and hardware wouldn’t communicate. When a piece of software asks your OS for data from the hardware, the driver translates that request into a format that the hardware understands. For example, your video card converts data requests from the OS into commands to buffer and display a video. Traditionally, hardware manufacturers make their own device drivers, but open-source and generic versions are available. These drivers can be easier to maintain because they are released under a free license, which allows for collaboration with the community.

Root-user processes

Some background tasks like file sharing or malware scanning require root privileges. Unlike user interface programs, such background applications are not intended to be interacted with. Running software as root is dangerous because it imbues an application with incredible power that can be abused.

The solution is to implement a system of privilege separation. Each component of a program should run with only the privileges that it needs to perform its task. In this way, if one part of the program is compromised, its actions can be restricted to what it is supposed to do rather than potentially damaging the entire computer.

To achieve this, POSIX systems use a special access permission bit called setuid on executable files. When setuid is used on a program, the effective user ID of that program becomes the owner of the file. This also ensures that lower-integrity subjects cannot corrupt objects at a higher integrity level. The SELinux security kernel, for example, is widely used in secure enterprises and military and government agencies to limit the damage that can be done by rogue programs running as root.