System software is a type of computer program that is designed to run a computer’s hardware and application programs. If we think of the computer system as a layered model, the system software is the interface between the hardware and user applications. The operating system (OS) is the best-known example of system software. The OS manages all the other programs in a computer.

Other examples of system software include:

Additionally, system software can also include system utilities, such as the disk defragmenter and System Restore, and development tools, such as compilers and debuggers.

System software and application programs are the two main types of computer software. Unlike system software, an application program (often just called an application or app) performs a particular function for the user. Examples include browsers, email clients, word processors and spreadsheets.

This was last updated in December 2019



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