Software refers to a set of instructions designed to perform a particular task and it instructs the computer how to work. Software is of two types; they are System Software and Application Software. System Software is low-level software that controls and manages the hardware of the computer and also provides services to higher-level software. In this article, you will know in detail about what is System Software.

What is System Software?

A computer program that is designed to run the hardware of the computer and application programs. System software is an important type of software that works as an interface between hardware devices and user applications. It is used to manage computers and runs in the background by maintaining the basic functions of a computer. To perform certain tasks, users run higher-level application software.


Examples of System Software include Operating System (OS), Disk management utilities, Compilers, Device drivers, Antivirus software, Disk Formatting Software, etc. OS is a well-known example. OS manages all other programs by providing a foundational framework for other software and applications in the computer.

Features of System Software:

  • Smaller in size.
  • Difficult to design, understand and manipulate.
  • Written in low-level language.
  • Responsible for connecting the computer with hardware which enables the system to run.

Types of System Software:

System software is of the following types:

  1. Operating System
  2. Programming Language Translator
  3. Device Drivers
  4. Firmware
  5. Utility Software
Types of System Software

1. Operating System:

Operating System is the basic type of system software that helps in managing computer hardware and software. It is responsible for the smooth functioning of computer devices. When you start the computer the operating system operates your computer. If you did not install the operating system you will not be able to start the computer. Common examples of OS are Linux, Android, Microsoft Windows and macOS.

A few important tasks performed by the Operating System are:

  • Device management: It manages both input/output devices such as printers, mice, keyboards, etc.To enable communication between the computer and devices it provides required drivers and interfaces.
  • Resource management: Among the various processes and programs running on the computer, the OS allocates and manages CPU time, memory and other hardware resources.
  • Memory management: It manages the primary memory of the computer and provides mechanisms for memory use optimization.
  • Process management: It is responsible for starting, stopping, and managing programs and processes.
  • File management: It organizes and manages the file system including the creation, deletion, and manipulation of files and directories.
  • Security: It protects data and other software by implementing security policies.

2. Programming Language Translator:

Programming Language Translator is a program that converts high-level language into machine language. As you know, computers only understand machine language and the CPU understands this machine language that humans cannot understand. So, the user interacts with the computer in a high-level language such as C, C++, Java, Python, etc. Then the translator converts these high-level languages into machine code the CPU executes machine codes into binary which means high-level programming language should convert into binary codes first and the entire process of converting is known as Compilation.

Examples of programming language translators are Compiler, Interpreters, and Assembler.

  • Compiler: It is the software that translates the code written in one language to some other language and the meaning remains the same.

 Examples:gcc( C compiler), javac(Java Compiler), etc.

  • Interpreter: It translates high-level instructions into intermediate form and then executes.  Examples: Ruby, Python, etc.
  • Assembler: It converts assembly language into machine code.

3. Device Drivers: 

A type of system software that reduces the troubleshooting issues in the system. Internally, the operating system communicates with the elements of hardware. Device drivers help to manage and regulate this communication. To operate hardware components, the operating system contains a variety of device drivers. Mostly Mouse, Keyboard, etc. are the device drivers that are already installed in the system by the companies who manufacture the computer.

Few devices require a driver for the smooth functioning of the system:

  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Touchpad
  • Printer
  • Display card
  • Function keys
  • Sound
  • Network card etc.

4. Firmware:

 An operational software installed on the motherboards of the computer that helps the operating system to find the Flash, Memory chips, ROM, EPROM,and EEPROM. The main purpose of firmware software is to control and manage all device activities. Nonvolatile chips are used for initial installation and later installed with flash chips.

Two important types of firmware chips are:

  • BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) chip.
  • UEFI (Unified Extended Firmware Interface) chips.

5. Utility Software: 

Utility software acts as the interface between system software and application software. It is a third-party tool that is designed to reduce maintenance problems and to find errors in the computer system. It includes the computer’s operating system.

Features of utility software are:

  • Helps users by protecting against threats and viruses.
  • WinRAR and WinZip are the programs that help to reduce disk size.
  • Helps in recovering the lost data.
  • In the drive, it works as a disk defragmenter to organize the scattered files.
  • Assists disk partition and works as a Windows Disk Management service.
  • It helps users to back up old data and improves the security of the system.

Uses of System Software:

  • The operating system is used in many applications i.e. in embedded systems and supercomputers.
  • Programming tools are used to create, optimize and debug the software applications by developers.
  • Used in storing and organizing files.
  • Enhances security.
  • Allows remote access and control.
  • Performs system maintenance.

Issues in System Software:

  1. Security Issues: It may contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers or malware to steal data that is sensitive.
  2. Compatibility Issues: It may not be compatible with a few hardware components that may cause errors or crashes.
  3. Update Issues: The updates may contain compatible issues or bugs that can cause problems in the system or other software components.
  4.  Performance Issues: System software may not be optimized with hardware which may cause the system to slow down or freeze.
  5. User Interface Issues: Its user interface may be difficult to use which can affect the user.
  6. Licensing Issues: Few system software may require licensing or activation which can cause problems if there are licensing errors or if the license expires.

The above-provided information might be useful when someone asks you what is System Software.

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I hope this article helps you to know in detail what is System Software used for, its types, features, etc. As we know it is a general-purpose software without which the system cannot run, uses low-level language and runs application software the system software gives the path and the future of this software is great and is shaped by several factors, including advanced technology, changes in way of using a computer and enhancing the importance of data privacy and security.

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Q.1: What are the types of system software?

Ans: Types of system software are:

1.Operating System

2. Programming Language Translator

3. Device Drivers

4. Firmware

5. Utility Software

Q.2: What is the difference between system software and application software?

Ans: System resources are maintained by system software and give a path to run application software while application software performs specific tasks.

Q.3: What is the difference between a compiler and an interpreter?

Ans: The Compiler executes the whole program at once while the interpreter executes the program line by line.

Q.4: Give a few examples for operating systems?

Ans: Android, Apple iOS, Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows.

Q.5: What is System Software used in resource management?

Ans: It manages computer resources like memory, CPU usage, storage, optimizes their utilization and ensures that the system runs efficiently.

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