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Definition: software

Instructions for the computer. A series of instructions that performs a particular task is called a "program." The two major software categories are "system software" and "application software."

System Software Runs the Computer
System software is made up of the operating system and other control programs for managing the hardware and running the applications.

Application Software Runs the Business
Application software is any program that processes data for the user (inventory, payroll, spreadsheet, word processor). Even games and DVD playback software are applications. The terms "software," "program" and "application" are synonymous and commonly interchanged in the same discussion. See system software, application software, information system, data processing and wares.

Software Is Not Data
A common misconception is that software is data. It is not. Software tells the hardware how to process the data.

     Software is "run."

     Data are "processed."