Difference Between Software and Firmware

Software and firmware are two of the most commonly used terms in the field of information technology. Although, both the terms are often used synonymously, but there is a considerable difference between them. Software is referred to the high level computer programmes whereas firmware is only used as a microcode which is embedded in the hardware. Furthermore, software is mostly bigger in memory as compared to firmware.

In addition, you can replace the software easily, but replacing a firmware is quite difficult. Besides, the former is usually stored in the memory which is easily accessible by the users while the latter is stored in the inaccessible memory as it is embedded mostly in the hardware.

Software keeps on changing with the advancement in the field of the information technology. However, there are no drastic changes in firmware.


  • 1


    It can be defined as a data which you use in a computer or some other electronic devices after storing in the hardware.  It takes particular memory in the hard drive according to its size. There are mainly three types of software which include system software, application software and embedded software. System software is referred to the basic software which is necessary for a computer to run e.g. operating system. In contrast, application software include the software which are installed in the computer to perform some specific tasks by the users e.g. Microsoft office software is used to make documents, sheets, presentations and databases. Embedded software is installed in the embedded system and is dedicated to a distinct use.

    Software is developed by the experts and contains a set of different procedures, programmes, algorithms and the documentations related to its operations.

    Some software are open source which means that any developer can make changes in its codes to improve its operations. The most common open source software include Mozilla Firefox and Java. However, most of the software are not open source e.g. Microsoft office, Microsoft Server and you have to pay a particular amount of money to buy the rights for their use.

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    It is set of persistent memory, data and programme codes, included in the embedded systems e.g. consumer appliances, traffic lights and digital watches. Besides, it is included in the non-volatile memory devices which mainly include EPROM, ROM and flash memory.

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