Basic Computing Skills

Understanding Software

Software provides electronic instructions that tell the hardware what to do. Software and hardware work together to perform the tasks requested by the user. There are two major types of software, namely operating systems and applications.

Operating systems, such as Windows, MacOS, and Linux tell the computer how to interpret commands, manage files, and process input and output. An operating system, or OS, must be present before any other software, such as a word processor, can run. This workshop covers the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

Application Software

Once the operating system is running, software can be installed. Various pro-grams enable the user to perform specific types of tasks with the computer.

The following table lists common types of applications, their functions, and examples:


Understanding Windows and Dialog Boxes

Before we go on, it is important to understand a few basic computer terms. Take a few minutes to review the key words below: