Hardware vs Software – Difference and Comparison

What is Hardware?

Hardware refers to all the physical components of a computer. Computer Hardware is any part of the computer that can be physically touched by us.

These are the primary electronic devices used to build up the computer. Examples of hardware in a computer are the Processor, Memory Devices, Monitor, Printer, Keyboard, Mouse, Central Processing Unit, etc.

Computer hardware can be categorized as:

1. Internal Hardware Component

Generally, the proper functioning of the computer depends on the internal hardware components, whereas external hardware components are attached to the computer to add or improve existing functionality.

Collectively internal components process or store the instructions delivered by the program or operating system (OS). Some of these include: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Hard drive, Optical drive, etc.

2. External Hardware Components.

This hardware components are connected externally to control input and output functions, this part is also referred as peripheral components.

The external hardware components provide proper instructions to the software( input) and bring out the execution(output). Some of these include:  Mouse, keyboard, microphone, camera, USB Flash drive, etc.

What is Software?

Software is a collection of instructions and documentation that performs various tasks on a computer system.

The two major types of computer software are:

1. Application software

It performs specific functions. Examples: Microsoft Word, Excel, Photoshop, etc.

2. System software

System software helps them to run hardware and application software. Examples: BIOS, boot, assembler.

We can say Computer Software is a programming code executed on a computer processor. The code can be machine-level code or code written for an operating system. Examples of software are Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Chrome, Photoshop, MySQL, etc.

Difference Between Hardware and Software

The difference between hardware and software is that Hardware is tangible as hardware is a physical electronic device. It can be touched whereas Software is intangible as we can see also use the software but cannot touch them.

Also, another difference concerns development, hardware is manufactured while the software is developed and engineered.

Comparison Between Hardware and Software

Parameter of Comparison  HardwareSoftware  
DefinitionHardware is a physical part of the computer which handles the processing of data.Software is a set of instructions that tells the computer to perform a specific task.
DevelopmentIt is manufactured.It is developed and engineered.
DependencyHardware cannot process any data without software.Software cannot be executed without hardware.
Process of creatingElectronic and other materials are used to create HardwareComputer languages are used to write instructions and create software.
TangibleHardware is a tangible physical electronic device that can be touched.Software is intangible as we can see and also use the software but can’t touch them.
TypesInput devices, output devices, storage, and internal component.System software and application software.
TransferIt cannot be transferred electronically through a network.It can be transferred electrically through a network.
Virus effectHardware is not affected by computer virusesSoftware is affected by computer viruses.
ExamplesKeyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Printer, CPU, Hard disk, RAM, ROM, etc.MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, MySQL, etc.


  1. https://content.iospress.com/articles/applied-ontology/ao175
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/115953.115982