System Software , What is system software

System Software

The system software is an essential component of every computer system . The computer needs different types of system software components to communicate with the various hardware components connected to the system.

The computer system consist of both software and hardware components . The software components can be grouped into two categories which includes application software and system software.

The operating system itself is a type of system software  designed to operate the computer system . However , the operating system internally makes use of another set of system software used to manage and control the various hardware components.

What is system software

The system software is a special software usually developed by the computer manufacturing companies to communicate with the hardware device.

In this article , you will learn what is system software , why computer needs system software , different types ,  its functions and other related important topics .

What Is System Software ?

Table Of Contents

What Is System Software ?

The computer system consist of number of hardware components . These hardware components can either be internally places inside the system case or connected externally.

The operating system is responsible for managing both the software and hardware resources . The operating system also performs system maintenance and management functions through some system utility programs inbuilt in to the operating system.

The user interacts with the computer through operating system . The operating system in turn communicates with all the hardware components.

Types System Programs
System Utility Programs

The operating system internally needs a special software called system software to communicate with the hardware devices and perform some special task for the system maintenance .

So , we can define the system software as a low level program specially designed to provide an interface to manage and control hardware components. This also includes system maintenance and management functions performed by the operating system.

These system program software generally written in low level language  such as assembly language or C language that can easily be programmed  for hardware interaction.

Types Of System Software

Operating System

The operating system is the most commonly used system software . The operating system is an essential component of the computer system and the first program that gets loaded into the main memory RAM every time the computer is powered on.

The operating system provides the user an interface to perform various tasks on the computer system. The operating system effectively functions as a over all in charge of the computer and handles some of the most important functions.

The operating system functions include resource management , process management , system security , command interpreter , file management , input output functions and the memory management.

Operating System Functions

The operating system also provides an interface to the user and application programs to communicate with the various hardware devices and perform the desired operations.

Some of the most commonly used operating system for personal computers includes MS Windows , MAC iOS and  Linux . Whereas the android OS continues to be the most widely used operating system for the mobile devices.

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Operating System Fundamentals

Operating System Functions

Device Drivers

The operating system internally communicates with various hardware components through a special system software designed to manage and control a specific hardware component. This software is called a device driver.

The operating system consist of number of device drivers to drive the most commonly used hardware components .

However , some times the user may have to upload the device driver if it is not available in the operating system.

Computer System Architecture

The device drivers are usually provided by the computer manufacturing companies and the operating system will ask for the driver if that device is plugged into the computer system.

Compiler And Interpreter

The computer system understands only machine code instructions in binary due to its architecture at the hardware level . The binary code consist of patterns of only two numbers that is either 0 ( zero ) or 1 ( one ).

However , the computer CPU can execute only machine code instructions in binary . And therefore , the computer program written in any high level programming language must be first converted into binary machine code .

This conversion process from high level program code to low level machine code is called as program compilation. The  computer programs are compiled with the help of a compiler .

Program Compilation
Program Compilation Interpreter

A compiler is a type of system software which converts the high level program into the low level executable machine code . Similarly , for interpreted language , an interpreter converts the program to machine code line by line.

Both compiler and interpreter perform the same job except the compiler converts the entire program whereas the interpreter converts line by line.  

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Introduction To Computer Programming

Firmware BIOS Setup Software

The BIOS is another essential system program that is responsible for the system booting process.

The computer system becomes available to the user to perform any task when the operating system is fully loaded and operational. And therefore , when the computer is switched on , the CPU’s first task is to load the operating system .

The CPU initiates the system booting process with the help of another system program called the BIOS. The BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System.

Computer BIOS

The BIOS completes the system booting process by loading  the operating system into the main memory RAM and hands over the control to the operating system.

The BIOS is called firmware because it is placed into the ROM ( Read Only Memory ) chip . The firmware ROM is part of every motherboard components.

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