27 System Software & Application Software Examples of 2024

Updated Oct 14, 2022.
System Software & Application Software

Although application and system software are an essential part of every day’s IT world, not many people are familiar with these computer science terms even though they use them regularly.

You use computer software examples like Microsoft Word and Google Chrome, but do you know what software category they fall in? What category does utility software fall in?

This article will show examples of computer software, namely system and application software.

What is System Software?

System software is designed to aid the effective operation of other software. Other types of computer software, such as application software programs depend on systems software to run optimally.

Every computer system or machine is made up of computer hardware. Despite the usefulness of this computer hardware, it is grossly inefficient to run some application programs such as Microsoft Word.

Without a functional system software, the physical computer components which comprise computer hardware can be rendered dormant.

System software in its scope of operation is not just limited to operating systems as its basic functionality. It performs many more basic functions in a computer system.

Take, for instance, a game engine. This computer program is one of many system examples. A game engine is categorized as system software because it provides the means for other application software games and computer programs to function. 

Some well-known system software examples are; boot programs, operating systems, system utilities, and device drivers, among many others.

System Software

What is Application Software?

Application software comprises a series of computer programs that function on a computer system. They are specific in their basic operations.

The task carried out by application software on application programs involves mainly the effective management and control of the computer system's physical components such as the keyboard, monitor, hard disk drive, and printer.

Application software can be described as productivity programs. They double as management tools as all their features ensure end users get the most value for their work while providing an easy-to-use functioning environment.

This software type is designed in various types, each performing a specific task. Desktop, mobile, server, and web applications are common types of application software.

application software

Differences Between System Software and Application Software

As important as application and system software are to the entire computer system, they are entirely different from each other in various functions.

Some of the notable differences between system software and application software are:

1. Basic Function

The major difference between them is that system software runs on the hardware of the computer system or machine for its basic functions. On the other hand, application software helps end-users perform specific tasks.

2. Dependency

Application software depends on system software to carry out its basic operations. A typical example is the Microsoft Word application software which cannot function without Windows, Mac, or other operating software.

In contrast, system software does not depend on application software to run its basic operations.

3. Function and Usage Control

System software can only function when the computer system is turned on and functional.

Unlike application software that can be turned on and off at any time as long as the computer system or machine is functional, system software cannot function independently and has no direct control over its use.

4. Programming Language

The programming language used to write applications and system software differ. Application software uses a high-level programming language such as Java or C++, unlike system software that uses a low-level programming language.

5. Use of the Computer’s Hardware

System software uses the memory and processing function of the computer's hardware to function. On the other hand, application software does not need to use the computer's hardware to function.

6. Mode of Installation

The mode of installation of these two software programs is one of the ways they both differ.

While system software is installed during the setting up stage of the computer system or machine, some application software comes pre-installed with this device or can be downloaded and installed when need be.

Examples of System Software

System software is a computer program that manages other software operations better.

For a computer program to warrant the term system software, it must be capable of effectively managing the computer infrastructure and hardware devices for a better user interface.

1. Windows OS

The Windows Operating System has been one of the most common and widely used operating systems since its inception.

This operating system allows its users ready access to a wide variety of application software such as Word processors like Microsoft Word, web browsers like Google Chrome, and various other applications.

Many computer systems and mobile phones function on the Microsoft Windows OS as they have the largest market share of operating system users.

The Windows operating system interacts closely with your device's hardware to enable it to function as system software.

2. Mac OS

The Mac OS comes second to the Windows OS in market shares. Despite being one of the oldest and most widely used operating systems after windows, the Mac operating system is still very relevant in today's age and time.

Even though the Mac OS limits the type of application software that can function, most application software can run seamlessly on this system.

3. Chrome OS

Unlike Microsoft and Mac OS, Chrome OS does not enjoy widespread popularity as it is known and used by only a few. 

Being one of the examples of web-based system software, Chrome OS is needed to run the Google Chrome application software. You can use it to run a variety of android apps; of popular mention is the Microsoft Word Android app.

4. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free and open-source operating system that runs on Linux. As a system software, Ubuntu allows users to access various application software available on the Ubuntu Software Centre for free.

This system software is another operating system running on Linux. The Ubuntu system software allows you to run applications like Firefox, Skype, and Telegram. You can download application software from the Ubuntu Software Center.

5. Android OS

Like every other computing device and machine, mobile phones and tablets require system software for their basic operations. The Android OS comes into play here as it is the most widely used mobile system software.

Android system software enables users to run applications such as Google Chrome, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook mobile apps, among others.

The Android system software would still function optimally irrespective of the application software pre-installed on your mobile device as it is independent of application software.

6. iOS

The iOS system software is the second most widely used mobile system software that affords its users some distinct mobile application software that is unavailable for android mobile system users.

This mobile OS has a wider access coverage as you can use it on several platforms than mobile phones such as tablets and iPads.

7. Blackberry

Despite facing near extinction in the competitive mobile system software world, the blackberry system software still has a tiny foothold in the mobile system software sphere. It has unique application software that distinguishes it from other mobile system software.

8. PlayStation System Software

The PlayStation system software is unique in that each version designed comes with unique system software that drives its operation.

PlayStation 4 is unique as it utilizes an operating system called Orbis OS, which allows its users to run a series of applications such as listening to music and surfing the internet alongside the primary function of playing games.

9. Xbox System Software

The Xbox system software aids the Xbox console to function as it is designed to fit with the Windows system software.

Newer versions of the Xbox system software have been designed to be much more compatible with the Windows system software.

10. Nintendo System Software

All Nintendo devices come with their uniquely designed system software that allows them to perform various functions other than the primary function of playing games. One such function is the ability to chat with other gamers across the globe.

11. Programming Language Translators

The primary function of a programming language translator is to translate high-level code, which characterizes application software, to a low-level language code that both the system and computer system can understand.

Computer systems require programming language translators to run applications and programs effectively.

As humans, we deal with a high-level language, which is why application software is written in high-level language for easy understanding by its users. On the other hand, the system processor deals solely with low-level language as it is the only language it understands.

Programming language translators are usually pre-installed by the system software manufacturer as they are required to help facilitate the effective running of your personal computers, desktops, or machines.

12. Device Drivers

Device drivers, or hardware drivers as it is otherwise called, are an example of system software needed for the optimal operation of a computer system.

A device driver ensures a steady flow of system commands by simply enabling hardware devices to communicate effectively with your computer system operating system.

For any hardware device that the operating system installed on the computer system does not recognize, a hardware driver is required for the device to be able to communicate effectively with the operating system.

Devices such as a motherboard chip and a printer fall under this category of hardware devices and would require a hardware driver.

Most devices and machines readily come with pre-installed generic drivers to help them function effectively. A typical example is a keyboard and mouse, which have generic drivers to aid communication with the system's operating system.

13. Firmware

Firmware is software that comes fixed into your computer system and remains an integral part of it as it cannot function without it. It consists of basic computer instructions that guide your computer system on how to carry out its functions.

The drivers' firmware plays the role of a “middleman” by standing in the gap between the operating system of your computer system and computer hardware.

Without the firmware, your hardware would not be able to interact with your operating system, and your computer system would be unable to function.

Software vs Firmware
Source: HardwareBee

14. Utility Programs

Utility programs are examples of system software despite not being software your computer system can operate on. They are considered system software because they perform the basic functions of system software to facilitate the computer system's operations.

A typical example of a utility program that serves as a system software is an antivirus. An antitrust software provides diagnostic functions that aid the smooth running of the operating system.

Firewalls, data backup and restoration software, disk partitioning, and defragmentation are all system utility programs that double as system software.

Utility programs

Examples of Application Software

Application software exists in various forms and works to help users complete tasks and perform various functions. Computer programs and mobile apps are among the most popular and widely used forms of application software due to their ease of accessibility.

1. Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word falls under the category of application software termed word processors. This application software allows users to write, read, and make a series of changes to a document as they please through various features.

Like all application software, Microsoft Word does not play any role in the smooth operation of your operating system but requires an operating system in place for it to function.

2. Google Chrome

You can use Google Chrome with a Windows or Android operating system. This internet browser is a common application software under the web browsers category that allows users ready access to surf the net as long as they are actively connected to the internet.

3. ClickUp

ClickUp is application software designed to perform two main functions for its intended users. The first is its ability to serve as an effective collaboration tool. With ClickUp, project managers can remotely manage their team's activities without contacting them directly.

The other key function this application software performs is as an effective productivity application software. ClickUp is a productivity tool that helps users generate the maximum results in the shortest possible time.

4. Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is another example of an application software under the web browsers category and performs similar functions to Google Chrome. Users can browse the web effortlessly with the Firefox software.

5. Skype

Skype is an application software categorized as communication application software. It offers a wide range of accessibility as it is compatible with all Windows, Android,d, and iOS devices. 

This application software is a virtual meeting platform for real-time online communication between people from around the globe.

By affording its users with features such as video calls, video chats, and text messaging, with then the internet being the only requirement, Skype is readily bridging the communication gap.

6. Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player is application software designed to allow users the necessary tools to create or store data as multimedia files. Application software that fulfills these criteria is categorized as multimedia application software.

Although this application software comes pre-installed on your computer system and various devices, it is not system software as your device will continue to function effectively with or without its use. 

VLC Media, MX Player, and Apple Logic Pro X are other common examples of multimedia application software.

Multimedia Software

7. Microsoft Excel

Spreadsheet software is a category of application software that allows users to perform tasks requiring calculations while storing data in a table format. Microsoft Excel falls under this category of application software.

Users, apart from using Microsoft Excel to perform calculations, are provided with several formulas and functions to assist users in performing specific calculations.

Other examples of spreadsheet application software are Google sheets, Apple Numbers, and Zoho Sheets.

Spreadsheet Software

8. Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is application software that is categorized as database management software. This software offers data storage and data management features.

Database management software helps users collect, collate, and organize files, data, and documents on the computer system.

9. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a popular photo editing software for various graphic design roles. From making changes in visual data, animation, and imagery to the highest attainable resolution, Adobe Photoshop offers the best attainable graphics standard.

Other examples of graphics software include; PaintShop Pro, CorelDraw Graphics Suite, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, and Canva, among others.

Graphics Software

10. Facebook

Facebook is an example of an online communication application software designed to help its users connect to people around the globe and make new friends without needing physical meetings.

As a social media platform, Facebook offers its users a messenger feature that allows them to chat with friends, comment and post on matters that interest them and watch and upload videos to gain a wide range of coverage, among many other functions.

Unlike most online communication application software that utilizes the app platform, Facebook can be accessed directly through the web from the Facebook website without needing an app. It is one of the reasons why Facebook is easily accessible and has the largest number of users.

11. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is another example of an online communication application software that requires users to install its app, available for desktop or mobile devices, and agree to its users' agreement before use.

Its pre-configured features allow users to chat with friends and make voice and video calls across the globe.

Other notable examples of online communication software are Instagram, Google Meets, and Zoom.

12. iTunes

iTunes is an example of a music application software that allows users to readily download or listen to music and podcasts of their choosing.

Despite being initially designed to work only alongside iOS, iTunes has made necessary changes to ensure it is readily available for download on almost all mobile devices.

Other examples of music application software are Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify.

13. Netflix

With this particular application software, users can readily stream movies and catch up on their favorite TV shows from the comfort of their desktop or mobile phone. So far, there is an internet connection available.

Netflix is available on the web, making it more readily accessible. Other types of software platforms include Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, but Netflix remains the most popular online streaming application software globally.

Types of Software

Apart from the conventional system and application software, they are other software categories.

1. Freeware Software

A freeware software program is free software that any user can easily access. Any software program that falls under this description is regarded as freeware.

Most application software is regarded as freeware as they are easily accessible by a simple download, but some system software is also free. Note that freeware is copyrighted to limit its distribution and usage.

Freeware examples are Windows Media Player, Word Processors, and Internet Browsers.

2. Open Source Software

Open source software is software programs that proprietary owners of the software programs make the source code available and easily accessible for all and sundry. There is room for the source code to be altered into an entirely different software program.

A vast majority of application software is open sourced, but so is some system software, such as the Ubuntu system software.

3. Proprietary Software

Unlike open-source software, proprietary software might require payment to access the software program, depending on the owner, but its source code is unavailable to the general public.

4. Shareware Software

Unlike freeware, shareware software is limited in how long users can access the software programs for free. Once the free trial period elapses, access to these software programs is revoked.

Other programs are Malware, Spyware, and Adware software, which comprise software that is illegal to distribute without consent. They are designed as end-user programs.

System Software vs. Application Software: A Quick Wrap Up

System software and application software have unique roles in the success of every computer system or machine. They are vital to every end user's day-to-day operations.

While application software depends on the system software to function, you can not write off the usefulness of the application software to the end user. They are the main tools that empower end users to be able to carry out a variety of functions.

Every computer system uses these two software programs, and so does every end user. For instance, to access this article, you must have some system software in the form of operating systems, such as Windows or Mac.

You must have set up application software in the form of internet browsers such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer to access this webpage.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.