The drivers in a computer are the intermediaries through which data is sent and received by computers from the hardware devices to ensure that the interaction is smooth.
The software applications are special programs that are used to perform a particular function on the computer.
However, the fact that the drivers are software, you may mix it up with software applications quite easily and naturally.
In this article you will not only come to know about the differences between the device driver and software application but also gain a fair idea about which one of them is better to use, if at all.
In This Article
- Device driver is a software program written in low-level language that establishes a communication between the hardware devices and operating system but software applications are designed with high level language for the end users.
- Device drivers function as the translator medium to send and receive data but software applications help in using the computer hardware in the best possible way.
- The kernel mode and user mode device drivers are the two major types but software apps can be of several different types such as word processing app, spreadsheet software, database app, and more.
5 Differences Between a Driver and Software Application
Device driver or simply a driver typically refers to the software which helps in establishing a communication between the operating system and the different hardware devices connected to the computer and it also controls them.
On the other hand, software applications are specific programs that are created for the purpose of the users specifically.
It helps in establishing a communication between the end users directly.
These apps are specifically designed to perform one or a group of specific functions.
The drivers are software written in a low-level language.
On the other hand, the software applications are usually created in a high level language.
Therefore, software applications can perform high level tasks.
The driver acts as the translator intermediary to carry and receive data between the operating system and the hardware device that is related to it.
On the other hand, software application is a specially designed computer program that helps in making the best use of the hardware of the computer in the best way possible.
Typically, there are two major types of drivers namely the kernel mode device driver that executes in kernel mode and user mode device driver that are triggered by the users.
Of course, there are lots of sub-categories in which the drivers are divided into.
On the other hand, application software is available in different types such as word processing software, database software, desktop publishing software, presentation software, communication software, spreadsheet software, graphics software, web browser software and several others.
A few examples of device drivers are USB drivers, printer drivers and more.
On the other hand, a couple of examples of software applications are Microsoft Word, MS Excel and others.
Which is More Important – Driver or Software Application?
It is hard to say that the drivers in a computer are better to use than the applications software because both have different purposes to serve and are built differently for it, as you can already see from the list of differences above.
However, you can surely determine which among the two, device driver and the application software, is more important.
Typically, the fact that the drivers are operating system-specific software and the application software is user-specific the drivers seem to be more important.
This is because these drivers are not only the core component for the operating system to perform but is also the soul of the entire computer system since a computer is useless without the operating system performing.
You simply cannot use a lot of devices at all in the first place if the right type of driver is not installed for that specific hardware peripheral.
This means that absence of the right type of driver will limit the functionality of the operating system of the computer.
Also, there are several hardware devices that you essentially have to install in your computer in order to make the best use of it, and most of these devices need a driver to function.
On the other hand, whether or not you will use specific application software depends on your preference and computing needs.
It does not affect the basic functionality of the computer system.
But, the drivers can affect the functionality or utility, to be more precise, of software applications.
For example, imagine that you want to use a particular application software for editing photos you captured on your digital camera but do not have the requisite driver installed to use the digital camera, you cannot transfer the photos in the first place.
So you will not be able to use the software and therefore its utility will be zero.
Therefore, it can be said that the application software helps in managing the operation of the computer and the device drivers manage the functionality of the components of the computer.
In short, without the right type of drivers installed, the operating system will be rendered useless and therefore the application software cannot be used.
In that sense, the drivers in a computer have a slight edge and are more important than the application software.
Therefore, with the differences now in front of you, you can say that device drivers are software programs designed for the operating system to communicate with the hardware device.
The application software, however, is the end-user program that uses the hardware in the best way.