Software is a generic term used to refer to applications, scripts and programs that run on a device. It can be thought of as the variable part of a computer, while hardware is the invariable part. software, instructions that tell a computer what to do. Software comprises the entire set of programs, procedures, and routines associated with the operation of a computer system. The term was coined to differentiate these instructions from hardware—i.e., the physical components of a computer system. A set of instructions that directs a computer’s hardware to perform a task is called a program, or software program. It’s a generic term used to refer to applications, scripts, and programs that run on devices such as PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and other smart devices. Software contrasts with hardware, which is the physical aspects of a computer that perform the work.

Without software, most computers would be useless. For example, a web browser is a software application that allows users to access the internet. Without the web browser software, reading this page on Webopedia wouldn’t be possible. An operating system (OS) is a software program that serves as the interface between other applications and the hardware on a computer or mobile device. TCP/IP is built into all major operating systems to allow computers to communicate over long distance networks. Without the OS or the protocols built into it, it wouldn’t be possible to access a web browser.