Software is the instructions that tell the computer what to do.  There are two major types of software:  System software and Application software.  System software controls the operations of the computer and computer equipment.  The system software includes (but is not limited to) the Operating System.  The operating system is the software that controls the execution of all the other applications and system software programs.  It provides a user interface between the system and the user and it coordinated the system access to all computer components.  The most commonly used System Software is Windows XP (either the home or professional edition).  Windows provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the user.  A GUI uses picture representations known as icons to represent the items in the computer.  With a GUI you have the ability to interact with the computer using either the Mouse or the Keyboard.  Generally, anything you can do with the mouse you will be able to do using the keyboard through shortcut keys and/or keystrokes.  The Windows program does not contain a File Compression application, an AntiVirus application, or a graphical FTP (File Transfer Protocol) application.

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Application software tells the computer how to produce information from data.  There are many types of application software including business software, scientific software, educational software, etc.  Microsoft Office is an application software package that combines word processor, spreadsheet, database, and presentation software programs.

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