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Apple Training Series: Desktop and Portable Systems, Second Edition by Peachpit Press

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Basic Software Components

Software is instructions and information that a computer uses to accomplish a task. We usually think of software as being stored on such media as hard disks, floppy disks, and optical discs, though actually software can be stored on any recordable medium—even paper. Also, software is not just for computers: It is used in many situations where machines carry out complex tasks—for example, handling emissions controls in an automobile. But for our purposes, we'll consider only software that is processed on computers and stored on common computer media.

Software can be divided into two primary categories: system software and application software.

System Software

System software manages computer hardware. Macintosh system ...

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