Basic Types of Computer Software

By Jay Darrington

Most people just think of computer software as the kind of thing that you open and close. However, there's more to software than just the programs you work with or play with. Different types of software exist that help your computer work to its fullest and make sure everything works properly.

Operating Systems

The most important type of software for a computer is the operating system. Without an operating system, a computer would be nothing more than a machine with a loud hum. The operating system is what allows you to interact with the PC, by acting as an interpreter between the machine language of the computer and you.


Applications are the bread and butter of software, providing features and abilities the operating system doesn't have. They consist of popular software such as Microsoft Word, World of Warcraft and Internet Explorer. These types of software need an operating system in order to work.


If your computer has connections to hardware such as a monitor, printer or even a mouse and keyboard, it must have the necessary drivers in order to work with the computer. The driver acts as a middleman between the operating system and the hardware in question, and allows the user to interact with the computer using the hardware.

Programming Languages

Programming languages are a type of software that is used to create applications and operating systems. Languages such as Java, C++ and BASIC are designed to talk to the computer in order to create basic programs. The programs are then compiled and run, or placed in installers for people to install on their own computers.