Computer Hardware

Which Is Not Referred To As Computer Hardware

When it comes to computer hardware, we often think of components like the CPU, memory, and hard drive. However, there is one crucial element that is often overlooked: the software. Unlike hardware, software refers to the programs, applications, and operating systems that run on a computer. It is the set of instructions that allow the hardware to perform specific tasks and functions. While hardware is tangible and physical, software is intangible and exists as digital code. Without software, hardware would be nothing but a collection of electronic components.

To understand the importance of software in the context of computer hardware, let's consider a brief history. In the early days of computing, hardware and software were often closely intertwined, with each manufacturer developing their own proprietary software to run on their specific hardware systems. However, with the advent of standardized platforms and operating systems like Microsoft Windows and MacOS, software became separate from the hardware, allowing for greater compatibility and interchangeability. Today, software plays a vital role in enabling the functionality and usability of computer hardware, serving as the bridge between the machine and the user. Without the right software, even the most powerful hardware would be rendered useless.

Understanding What Is Not Considered Computer Hardware

When discussing computer technology, we often refer to the various components that make up a computer system. These components are collectively known as computer hardware and include devices such as the motherboard, processor, memory, and storage devices. However, there are certain aspects of a computer system that are not considered as part of the hardware. In this article, we will delve into those elements that are not referred to as computer hardware and explore their significance in the world of technology.


One of the primary components that are not categorized as computer hardware is software. Software refers to the programs and instructions that are installed on a computer system, enabling it to perform specific tasks. Unlike hardware, software does not have a physical form and exists in the digital realm. Examples of software include operating systems, applications, and utility programs. Software interacts with the hardware to ensure the smooth functioning of the computer system.

Software can further be classified into system software and application software. System software provides a platform for other software to run and manages the essential functions of the computer. Application software, on the other hand, focuses on specific tasks and is designed to meet the needs of users, such as word processing, graphic designing, or playing games. Both system and application software play a critical role in the overall functioning of a computer system.

It is worth noting that software and hardware work together in a symbiotic relationship to enable a computer system to function effectively. While hardware provides the physical infrastructure, software acts as the bridge that allows users to interact with the computer and perform various tasks.


Another aspect that is not considered computer hardware is firmware. Firmware is a type of software that is permanently stored in the memory of computer hardware devices. It acts as a bridge between the hardware and software, providing the necessary instructions for the hardware to function. Unlike regular software, firmware is embedded within the hardware and cannot be easily modified or replaced by the user.

Firmware plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of various hardware components, including but not limited to BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) in the motherboard, firmware in networking devices, and firmware in input/output devices. It provides low-level control and ensures compatibility between the hardware and software.

Updating firmware is a critical process to enhance the functionality, security, and compatibility of hardware devices. Manufacturers release firmware updates that fix bugs, add new features, and improve the overall performance of the devices. It is essential for users to regularly update the firmware of their hardware components to ensure optimal performance and security.


Virtualization is another aspect that is not commonly referred to as computer hardware. It refers to the process of creating a virtual version of a resource, such as an operating system, server, or network. Virtualization allows multiple virtual machines or environments to run simultaneously on a single physical computer or server, enabling efficient resource utilization and cost-effectiveness.

The virtualization layer, also known as hypervisor, separates the physical hardware from the virtual machines, allowing multiple operating systems to run independently on the same hardware. This technology is widely used in data centers, cloud computing, and server consolidation to optimize resource allocation and improve scalability.

Virtualization offers several benefits, including reduced hardware costs, improved disaster recovery, enhanced resource utilization, and increased flexibility in deploying and managing applications. It has revolutionized the IT industry by enabling efficient resource allocation, improved scalability, and cost savings.


Networking is a critical aspect of computer systems that deals with the communication and sharing of information between multiple computers and devices. While networking hardware, such as routers, switches, and network cables, is considered part of computer hardware, the concept of networking as a whole is not typically referred to as hardware.

Networking encompasses various protocols, technologies, and architectures that enable the seamless exchange of data and resources across different devices and networks. It involves concepts such as IP addressing, network topologies, routing, and network security. These elements collectively form the backbone of computer networks and are crucial for the efficient functioning of modern computing systems.

Networking plays a vital role in connecting devices, facilitating data transfer, and enabling seamless communication across the internet. It allows users to access resources and services remotely, share files and information, and collaborate in real-time. Without effective networking, the internet and modern communication systems would not be possible.


While hardware is the foundation of computer systems, there are several aspects that are not categorized as computer hardware. Software, including system and application software, plays a crucial role in enabling computers to perform specific tasks. Firmware, on the other hand, acts as the bridge between hardware and software, providing low-level control and ensuring compatibility.

Virtualization revolutionizes resource allocation and enhances scalability, enabling multiple operating systems to run on the same hardware. Networking, meanwhile, facilitates communication and information sharing between computers and devices. All of these elements work together to create a holistic computing experience that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional hardware.

Items Not Referred to as Computer Hardware

  • Software: While closely related to computer hardware, software is not considered part of the hardware. Software refers to the programs, applications, and data that are used to operate and interact with the hardware.
  • Data: Data is the information stored and processed by computers. It can be in various formats, such as text, images, videos, or numbers. Although closely linked to hardware, data itself is not considered hardware.
  • Network Infrastructure: Network infrastructure includes devices such as routers, switches, and cables, which enable communication and data transfer between computers. While essential for computer network connectivity, these components are separate from computer hardware.
  • Cloud Services: Cloud services refer to computing resources and storage that are accessed over the internet. The hardware infrastructure required for cloud services is managed by service providers and not typically considered computer hardware.

Key Takeaways:

  • Software
  • Data
  • Network cables
  • Peripheral devices
  • Power supply

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we will address some common questions related to computer hardware. If you have ever wondered about what is considered computer hardware and what is not, you've come to the right place. Read on to find out more.

1. What is considered computer hardware?

Computer hardware refers to the tangible components of a computer system. It includes devices such as the central processing unit (CPU), memory modules, motherboard, hard drive, graphics card, and peripheral devices like keyboards, mice, and monitors. These components are essential for the computer to function properly.

However, software programs, applications, and data are not considered computer hardware. They are intangible and are installed or run on the hardware to perform various tasks and functions.

2. Is operating system hardware or software?

The operating system (OS) is software, not hardware. It is a fundamental component of a computer system that manages hardware and software resources, provides a user interface, and enables communication between the computer and the user.

While the operating system interacts closely with the hardware components, it is not considered hardware itself. It is a program that runs on the hardware and facilitates the execution of other software programs and applications.

3. Are computer cables and connectors part of computer hardware?

Yes, computer cables and connectors are considered part of computer hardware. They are physical components that provide connections between various hardware devices. Examples of computer cables and connectors include HDMI cables, USB cables, Ethernet cables, and audio connectors.

These cables and connectors play a crucial role in transmitting data and signals between different hardware components, such as connecting a monitor to a computer or a printer to a computer.

4. Is a printer considered computer hardware?

Yes, a printer is considered computer hardware. It is an output device that allows you to produce physical copies of documents or images from your computer. Printers are connected to the computer through cables or wireless connections and are controlled by software installed on the computer.

While printers are not essential components of a computer system, they are commonly used peripherals that enhance the functionality and versatility of a computer.

5. What are examples of non-hardware components in a computer system?

Examples of non-hardware components in a computer system include software programs, applications, and data. Software programs are sets of instructions that tell the hardware what to do and how to perform specific tasks.

Applications are software programs designed for specific purposes, such as word processors, web browsers, or photo editing software. Data refers to all the files and information stored on a computer, including documents, photos, videos, and databases.

In conclusion, when we talk about computer hardware, we usually refer to the physical components that make up a computer system. These include the motherboard, CPU, memory, storage devices, and peripherals such as monitors and keyboards. However, there is one important component that is not typically considered as computer hardware, and that is software.

Software refers to the programs, applications, and operating systems that run on a computer. While it is an essential part of the computer system, it is not classified as hardware because it does not have a physical form. Software is the set of instructions that tell the hardware what to do, allowing users to perform tasks and utilize the capabilities of the computer. So, when discussing computer hardware, remember that software is not part of this category.

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