2 Main Types of Software

types of software
Topic: Software Development | By Lex data

What is Included?

  1. What is Software? Types of software
  2. Types of Software
  3. System Software
  4. Application Software
  5. Classification of Software According to Usage
  6. Software development: How Lex Data’s experienced full-stack developers can help?

What is Software? Types of software

We are on call, sending a message, video chatting, mailing documents, and whatever we are doing digitally, it involves some software. Software, in general, is categorized into two main categories, extending towards multiple sub-categories”.

In this guide, we will explore the different types of software which are readily available to be used in a multitude of IT products.

Types of Software:

There are many types of software and sub-types but for basic understanding, They can be generalized into two major categories.

System Software:

System softwares are the most essential types of software. They are required for the operation of all digital devices including your computer. They control all the operations of a computer and its peripheral devices and also ensures that the hardware components also work together by providing support for computer programs.

They create an environment where other types of software can coexist and work. We can say for sure that they are necessary for managing the entire computer system. When we turn on a computer machine, It is the one that receives the input signal and prepares the device for the end-user.

System Software

a. Operating System (OS):

The operating system is a type of system software. The operating system is the base layer of a computer system on which all other types of software like, system and application software are runnable and used. The general functioning of the operating system is to allocate and manage the resources when required during user interactions. The operating system can be classified as follow;

  • Embedded OS
  • Real-time OS
  • Distributed OS
  • Single-user OS
  • Multi-user OS
  • Mobile OS etc.


  • MS Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Ubuntu
  • Sun – Solaris
Device Drivers

b. Device Drivers:

Device drivers are required to use external or internal devices. For example, if we need to use an external printer, keyboard, mouse,  or sound card, your system will require a driver to run these applications. It is worth noting that all of these devices add some extra functionality to our existing system unit. Similarly, devices need some extra instructions regarding their compatibility and others. Some useful drivers are enlisted below;

  • BIOS Driver
  • Motherboard Drivers
  • Display Drivers
  • ROM Drivers
  • Printer Drivers
  • USB Drivers
  • Sound Card Driver
  • VGA Drivers

c. Utility Software:

As the name suggests, this software assists the computer operating system in different aspects like optimizing (RAM, Storage etc.), analyzing, configurations and maintenance. Most of them are embedded in the operating system. These are as important as the basic utilities of a human.

Examples include following:

  • Antivirus
  • Compression Tools
  • Disk Cleaners
  • File explorers
  • Directory Visualizer
  • Settings Controllers

d. Firmware:

These are special types of system software. These are highly important for our computer system to work properly, but the user never interacts with these types directly. They comprise the essential set of instructions that are permanently stored on internal devices. Like how devices will interact with one another.


  • Computer Peripherals
  • Embedded Systems
  • UEFI
  • BIOS

2. Application Software:

Application software is entirely designed for end-users like programs for assisting in some kind of special work, enhance research activities, creating notes, graphic designing, account management systems, or even for entertainment i.e. computer games.

Specifically, these are designed to carry out some particular task. An interesting fact is that It is developed using other application software, known as Integrated Development Environment (IDEs). The main focus for the development of application software is to meet the actual needs of the end-users.

It is often customizable as it is designed and developed for a specific user having special needs. It is worth noting that customized software is costly and requires a team of experts and developers to create them.

Application software

Off the Shelf

Off-The-Shelf Software is free of cost for users and they can be used accordingly. Common examples includes following;

a. Word Processor:

Application software used for documentation purposes is known as “Word Processors”. Word processors are embedded with additional tools like report generation, graphical objects, clip arts, spelling, and grammar checks for ease of users at a single platform.

Some common word processors are:

  • MS Word
  • Apple iWork-Pages
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • Google Docs

b. Database Software:

Database software includes the management of data in different databases. To organize, manipulate, search and delete data from databases, a special type “Database Management Systems (DBMS)” is needed. Organizations, Industries, and research centers are mostly involved in using DBMS. But due to e-commerce, this is much popular among web stores and shopping centers.

Different work environments require Database Management Systems; therefore, most DBMS are customized to come up with an exact solution for the users.

Examples of Database Management Systems:

  • MS Access
  • FileMaker
  • dBase
  • Clipper
  • MySQL
  • FoxPro
database management system

c. Multimedia Software:

This software enables a system to play, record, and edit audio or video files. Animations, graphics, image enhancing, video conversion to super-resolution are part of multimedia software. This became increasingly popular due to the entertainment industry. By keeping in view such a beneficial trend numerous software houses started to compete in the market with their custom products to lead the industry.

  • Audio and Video Players
  • VLC Media Player
  • MPC Media Player
  • Windows Media Player
  • Image Manipulation Tools
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • CorelDraw
  • Picasa
  • Video Editing Software
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • iMovie

d. Web Browsers:

This software sub-category is strictly related to the internet and browsing. There are billion(s) of internet user’s around the world and to access information over the internet we require a mediator which could receive our request for particular data that is requested by the user and responds to us with information;  “Web Browsers” are used for specifically this purpose. They provide access to billions of records through the “World Wide Web” WWW (collection of web pages containing information for users).

Examples of Web Browser:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera
  • UC Browser
  • Safari
  • Brave

Google Chrome is one of the most used web browsers with a 64% share of worldwide devices running browsers.


Classification of Software According to Usage:

Keeping in view the usage, softwares can also be classified into the following categories:

  • Freeware
  • Shareware
  • Open-Source

1. Freeware:

These are the set of software that can be downloaded from the internet without paying the cost or any other charges for their use. These are freely available for end-users. They can be used for a lifetime without spending a single penny but the user is unable to make any structural or developmental changes to the product. Moreover one cannot charge for this freeware. Large IT Development Companies create these products free of cost to reach a maximum number of customers with a positive image of that particular company.


  • Adobe Reader
  • Skype
  • ImgBurn
  • Audacity
  • Team Viewer
  • Yahoo Messenger

2. Shareware:

Shareware products are designed for earning purposes but initially marketed as free for a limited time or number of times a user can use the product. The purpose of making a product free for a specific time is to enable the end-user to go through the software, feel and test it and then finally purchase it. Moreover, it is also a good way to deliver the product to a maximum number of users.

Sub-types of shareware:

  • Freemium
  • Donation-ware
  • Adware
  • Demo-ware


  • Adobe Acrobat
  • PHP Debugger
  • WinZip
  • Getright

3. Open-Source

Open-Source is similar to free ones, except for two things. The first source code is also available with the actual end product, second, they can be made charge-able product by providing extra features. This is usually created by developers who believe in spreading knowledge and making it free for all. This type of software is mostly contributed by adding functionalities, fixing out bugs, and making better UI for best experiences.


  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • GNU Compiler Collection
  • Moodle
  • Apache Web Server

Software development: How Lex Data’s experienced full-stack developers can help?

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