Difference Between Hardware and Software

Hardware and software are very important components of any machinery creation and functioning. Both are computer-related terminologies.


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Through both the terms seem overlapping which they are, there is a difference between hardware and software.

Hardware vs Software

The difference between hardware and software is that hardware is the felt objects while the software is the program. An antivirus CD is a software, a program that needs to be made into a disc and inserted in a CD space of a laptop of CPU. Hence the disc CD and space where it’s inserted in the system is the hardware. So hardware and software go hand in hand.

Hardware vs Software

A second key difference between hardware and software is that hardware is a physical device while the software is a set of instructions given to a device in order for the hardware to perform.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonHardwareSoftware
MeaningHardware is the processing part of various parts of the computer.Software are instructions given to the hardware
PerformanceCannot function without softwareCannot be executed without software
TactionPhysical device. can be seen and touchedCan be used and felt
VirusNot affected by the virusGets affected by Virus
ComponentsInternal components, Input device, storage, an output device,System software, programming software, and application software


What is Hardware?

Hardware is a device that is or can be physically connected with the computer or laptop systems that permits physical touch.

Hardware alone cannot function and needs the assistance of other hardware and most importantly systemic interaction with the software.

Simply put, hardware cannot be operated in isolation. Example: CDROM, monitor, printer, USB keyboard, mouse, etc.

Hardware can be input (CD), output (external USB), storage(memory card. router), Processing ( internal motherboard).


What is Software?

The software allows the functioning of hardware. They are a collection of processes or applications that are user-friendly.

There are three types of software which are system software, application software. and programming software.

The system software examples are Msword, Ms excel, Outlook, quick books, etc. application software is something like an antivirus system, team viewer, Adobe, Grammarly, hotspot shield, etc.

The programming software is the distinction between the system software and application software seems blurred. Hence, it is important to understand that software is a user-friendly distinction and interface that allows the hardware to function.


Main Differences Between Hardware and Software


Hardware is the physical part of the computer wherein they can be touched externally like an earphone, keyboard, monitor, etc.

But the internal hardware can’t be touched. In simple language, the hardware is the workable product that executes larger tasks with the support of software.

Hardware can function only when the software is loaded and also wears out with time

On the other hand, the software is a set of procedures, applications, instructions, systems that helps the executions of the different task of a computer system.

The software is user-friendly. The software doesn’t fail or crash but a hardware can.

Also, the software doesn’t wear off with time like the hardware but can develop bugs with the passage of time.


The hardware is manufactured wherein many components come together to be a final product.

The product, the computer needs software to function.  Hardware is the operation and software is the operating system.

Some software is by default built-in the computers but much other software needs to be downloaded or purchased.


Can a human body function without blood, veins, and nervous systems? NO, right.

Similarly, for the optimal functioning of a computer, the synchronization of hardware and software is needed.

If we have had low sugar or low blood pressure, we feel it.

Likewise, the performance of hardware is, of course, dependant on the manufacturing dates but also on the interaction with the software.


Software’s like Msword, Photoshop, Ms excel cannot be touched. But yes may software can be either downloaded from the internet or purchased in a CD format.

For example, the antivirus is a software to stop the virus to enter the computer and it cannot be touched or felt but it can be observed.

But the CD in which is comes can be touched and felt.

The subtopic ‘components’ can be referred for the same.


Hardware can catch a virus only if a virus enters the software. Otherwise, the hardware by default is not prone to be affected by the virus.

Hardware is systematically manufactured and it is only the software interference that causes damage to the hardware in the long run.

That means the immediate effects are not noticed and the virus is only found when the damage to the hardware is done. Hence the software should always be updated and should be run for a virus check.


The hardware has various components that can be set into categories as listed below.

The input devices like microphones, external mouse, printer, scanner, etc.

The output devices are the external keyboard, ports, mouse pad, etc. The storage in the inbuilt capacity in gigabytes, e.t.c

Internal components are internal keyboard, motherboard, spare parts, sound cards, CPU, etc. The components of software have been explained in ‘What is a software’.

Difference Between Hardware and Software


  1. https://www.techwalla.com/articles/what-is-computer-software-hardware
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1600416/
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