What is System Software :Classification of System Software

System software: A computer is merely a machine that knows nothing about itself. Rather it requires instructions for each and everything it performs, Those instructions provided through the System software.

The software that controls the internal computer operations system ( reading data From input devices transmitting, processing information to the output devices, checking system components, converting data/instruction to computer understandable form etc. ) known as system software.

In short it is a specially designed programme that controls the hardware system and helps the software to run properly.

System software (classification)

  • Operating system
  • language processor
  • Utility
  • Device drive.

Operating system software

Most important system software is the “Operating system” as it makes the hardware system operate as per instruction and it makes a platform that helps in running of the application software.

But before you can run any app on your system, The OS which contains an instruction that coordinates the activities among computer hardware devices, so, first of all, you need to load the hard disk into the computer’s memory.

It is a system program which acts as an interface between a user and the hardware.

This process of loading up of an OS in memory is known as booting Up.

Lets describe the booting up process in more detail.

Booting UP

Loading operating system files into the main memory known as booting up or bootstrapping (it means getting ready) of the computer and then loading of OS files in main memory.

The booting Up step by step process as follows:-

AS soon as the system or machine is on, POST (Power on self-test) is performed which are mainly diagnostic tests that check for integrity of all components (CPU, RAM, IO devices etc.) of a computer system. If any components are found faulty, an error message will display on the screen.

A chip Name ROM-BIOS (Read-only memory-basic input-output services) is read and execute. Then check that OS Files presence on the disk or not. If OS files not present then it will show an error message on the screen “Non-System disk or disk error”.

If OS files are found in a drive, its very first sector(called MBR-MasterBoot Record or boot sector) is read which first looks for an active partition and then loads a secondary boot record from the active partition.

This secondary boot record now loads and runs the bootloader program. Every OS has a specific bootloader program system that loads its specific OS files into main memory. Some popular bootloaders are:

NTLDR:- Bootloader for old WINDOWS OSs like Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.

BOOTMGR:- Bootloader for newer WINDOWS OSs like Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 as well as Windows Server 2008 and windows server 2012.

GRUB & GRUB2:- Bootloader for old and new LINUX versions.

BOOTX:- Bootloader For MAC OS.

There are two types of booting processes.

  • Cold booting
  • Warm booting

Cold Booting:

It is the booting process that takes place when we first turn on the computer. In cold booting all the above-mentioned steps i.e., right from step 1-POST onwards take place.

Warm booting

Warm booting is the booting process that takes place when we reset the computer by pressing a Reset button. In this process, the first step of POST or RAM test or other diagnostic tests etc.is skipped; simply the OS files reloaded.

Warm booting can take only if the computer is already running.

The advantage of a Cold reboot is that it releases anything that is stuck in memory.

If you are getting error messages or other issues, it might be because something is stuck in memory.

When you do a cold reboot, it clears the memory.

A warm reboot doesn’t release items stuck in memory, only a cold reboot does. Thus, there might be some data loss or damage in a warm reboot.

The Need of Operating system hardware is nothing but a finely designed machinery system. A machine is ultimately a machine only, which is always made to work.

In the case of the computer system, it is either us if we do that or ‘some other’ which does it for us. This ‘some other’ is nothing but our very own ‘OS’.

User Interface of an Operating System Software
Once an OS is loaded into memory it activates the User Interface component of it.

The user interface controls how you enter data or instructions and how information displays on the computer screen.

Many of today’s system programs have a graphical user interface. A graphical user interface(GUI) combines text, graphics, and other visual images like icons, windows, shortcuts etc, to make it easier to use.

Types of Operating System

There are different types of OSs available, which require different types of system hardware to run upon.OS is of mainly the following types:

Single User Operating :-

As the name suggests, this os is a single user OS, so only one user it can support at any point of time. There can be two subcategories of this OS type:

Single Task operating:-

This OS supports/runs single application software at a time e.g., OS for mobiles, MS-DOS etc.

Single User, Multitasking operating os:-

This Os supports one user but can deal with multiple application software running at a time e.g., simultaneously running a Word document, a video, Internet browsing, listening to music etc. Examples of this OS type are:-Windows Vista, Windows 7/8, Linux, MacOS Leopard etc.

Multi-Program operating system:-

Unlike single program OS, this is the multiuser OS. It Supports multiprogramming i.c.It supports more than one user, therefore, it can load more than one user program and can be active in the main store at the same time.

These active programs are executed using some techniques one by one.

Examples of such OS are:- Unix, Linux, IBM AS400 etc.

Time Sharing operating:-

This OS uses the time-sharing technique. Each active user program get a fair share of CPU time,if the time elapses or an I/O operation requested, CPU shifts over to the next job waiting and the previous program is put to wait (in case Time is over ) or handed over to I/O manager (in case I/O request is made).

The active programs scheduled for execution using certain job scheduling techniques. Examples are: BSD Unix, NOS/VE, GEnie etc.

Real Time operating system (RTOS):–

In real time OS, the jobs have to be completed before the deadline.

The system performance is measured by its ability to complete its jobs within the specified deadlines. Examples include:- LynxOS, OSE, RT Linux etc.

Multiprocessing operating OS:-

The multiprocessing os is capable of handling more than one processor.

The “multiprocessing OS Software” should be capable of load sharing in case of identical processors so that the system’s efficiency improves.

In the case of unidentical processors, the multiprocessing OS should be able to control the super(main)processor and in turn control the working of slave processors.

Examples include:- Unix, Linux, Windows NT etc.

Distributed operating :-

This type of OS is made to share its workload over multiple servers(mostly at multiple locations). Thus a distributed OS has a decentralized architecture.

A distributed OS shares data and resources among its multiple servers to get maximum efficiency.

Most reservation systems use distributed OSs.Examples include: Unix, Linux, DCE, X/Open.

Interactive operating :-

This OS software is interactive in nature. It provides a GUI interface to facilitate the move and easy interaction to the user. Examples are today’s GUI OSs like Windows, Android iOS etc.

2.Language Processors

Language processor software is a special type of system software that can translate the source code into object code or machine code. Here you should know the meaning of the terms source code or object code.

Source code refers to the program-code written by a programmer in a high-level programming language(HLL)such as in C, Java, C++ etc.

An object code refers to a code usually in machine language or binary code, a language that computers can understand easily and run on hardware.

So, you can safely say that the language processor is a programme that converts source codes into object codes.
There are three types of language processors: assembler, compiler, and interpreter.


This language processing software converts the program written in assembly language into machine language.


An interpreter is a type of system tools or software that translates and executes instructions written in a computer program line-by-line, unit by unit etc.


A compiler is another type of system tool or software that translates and executes instructions written in a computer program in one go.

3.Utility software

utility software is those helpful system programs that ensure the smooth functioning of the computer. Utility software is meant to assist your computer system.

Some utility software helps you to backup data, some help to remove outdated files or recover data that has been accidentally erased. Some make it easier to find and arrange the information you need And some help you avoid virus attacks or clean viruses, if any.

In other words, the utility software programs perform house-keeping functions.

It is an established truth that everything comes with certain pros and cons.

Utility software bridges the gaps by helping to solve the problems and maximize your computer’s potential.

Some commonly used Utility software Details:-

Antivirus software

This utility program ensures a virus-free work environment. A computer virus is a computer program that can infect other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a copy of itself.

A virus not only copies itself but also makes the computer system behave abnormally. For instance, unknown or unasked messages may popup or unwanted graphical displays and audio might occur.

Antivirus is a type of software which scans your disk for viruses and removes them, it any virus is found. Moreover, some antivirus remains present in memory all the time so that they can detect the viruses(as soon as they occur)and counterattack them.

Some common virus types tackled by Antivirus software are:

Boot viruses

Boot viruses infect only the master boot records(MBR) of the hard disk. This would make the computer either unable to boot or booting would take place along with virus code. All this would lead to the spread of virus attack to disks.

Program viruses

Program viruses infect only executable programs. Once executed,(File Viruses) programs load into memory, along with the virus contained within them. Once loaded in memory, now virus can infect other application programs and disks being used thereby corrupting data or making it useless.

Macro viruses

Macro Viruses affect programs and documents. This infection can only spread if you or anyone opens infected documents on the machine,e.g., affecting the default template(normal.dot)of Word thereby stopping any edit or save operations etc.

Companion Virus

This virus attaches itself with existing files. When an infected file runs, the virus becomes active and can affect other programs/files.


A worm is a special type of malicious program that keeps replicating and hence ends up eating all the storage of the computer.

Trojan horse

Trojan horse virus comes in disguise of a useful program like games or
utilities etc.Once run, they can cause data loss, system crash or infect other programs/disks also.


Adware is a form of malware and it is made to pop up advertisements. It can be very annoying.


Spyware is made to monitor actions on a computer. A common type of spyware is a key-logger program. This program can record every keystroke and mouse click you make.

File Management Tools

On a computer, there are multiple file extensions and types registered with the OS. In order to work efficiently, there are numerous file management tools available in the system that can help you in tasks like browse, search, arrange, find information, quick preview etc.

one such software or tool is by default available to you in Windows OS, known as Windows Explorer. Some other such popular file management tools are Total Commander, Directory Opus, Google Desktop etc.

Compression Tools

This utility software program facilitates compression of files. Compression tool compresses Large files so that they can take less storage area.

When necessary, compressed files can return to their original form using the compression tool. files stored in a Special format that takes less space.

However you cannot use compressed files directly, you have to decompress these files before using it, so that the files get back to their original size. Some popular file compression tools are: WinRAR, 7-Zip, PeaZip etc.

Disk Management Tools

As the name suggests, This software or tools used for managing data on disks for increasing performance. Most of these tools are nowadays inbuilt in OS.

Common disk management tools are briefly being discussed below:

Disk Cleanup Tool:- The Disk Cleanup utility software or tool allows you to free your computer
from temporary and unnecessary files.

Disk Defragmenter:- This utilities program or software attempts to minimize the Fragmentation on your disk. A file fragmented when it becomes too large for your computer to store in a single location on a disk.

In other words, When this happens your computer splits the file up and stores it in pieces.

Disk Defragmenter speeds up disk access by rearranging the files and free space on your computer. so, that files stored in contiguous units and free space consolidated in one contiguous block.

Backup Utility:- This utility software program facilitates the backing-up of a disk. Back-up means duplicating the disk information (file/folders/drives) so that in case of any damage or data loss, you can use this backed-up data. you can restore backed up data when needed.

4.Device Drivers

Device drivers or simply Drivers are system programs or files that contain sets of instructions for the operating system Software detailing how best to operate or drive a certain hardware device system.

Each device on your system has its own specific driver. Your audio device, video, device, scanner, camera, modem etc. are some of the hardware components that require drivers.

Device Drivers are the part of system programs written for the OS to work with different hardware devices.

When you add a new device to your computer system, the OS may not know what to do with it.

However, when you install the driver, the OS knows exactly what it is and more importantly, it understands how to use it.


Here we have shared enough details about System software. It will help you to understand it.

If you have any doubts comment below and you can read another article about offshore software developments and software development outsourcing.

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