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Quick guide to application software


Application software (sometimes called “programs”) harnesses your computer’s power to perform specific tasks including word processing, photo editing and e-mail. Some applications come preloaded on your PC and there are also hundreds more you can install to meet your specific needs or interests.

Application software vs. system software

Application software vs. system software

Application software should not be confused with operating system software, which works behind the scenes to run your computer. Application software cannot function without the operating system and includes database, word processing and spreadsheet programs. HP recommends using Microsoft® Windows® 7 as your operating system software. Windows 7 is installed on most new HP desktop and laptop PCs.

Application software included with some HP PCs

Application software included with some HP PCs

HP puts application software/programs on new PCs so you can begin to use your PC right away. Some programs installed on HP PCs may include:

HP TouchSmart software—Use your fingers on an HP TouchSmart PC screen to control your PC and touch-enabled programs, while you enjoy a more visually pleasing computing experience. This software is only available on HP TouchSmart products.

LightScribe software—Use a LightScribe-enabled DVD driver to burn an image or text into the label of a LightScribe disc for a professional look.

Categories of application software

There is an endless range of programs available for your PC. Software providers often package two or more applications in software suites, available at a discounted price (compared to buying each separately). The Microsoft Office suite, featuring Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint is a perfect example.

Some other common application categories include:


Application software


Applications for games

    Example: Solitaire, The Sims™

Applications for media, and DVD and CD burners

    Example: Rhapsody, Roxio® Toast


Applications for accounting, CRM and project management

    Example: Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

Photo management

Applications for photo organizing, photo editing and photo sharing

    Example: HP Photosmart Essentials


Applications for blogging, instant messaging and e-mail.

    Example: Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Messenger, AIM™


Applications for spyware detection, firewalls and anti-virus protection

    Example: Norton® Internet Security, Windows Defender

Installing application software

You can install application software manually using CDs or DVDs provided by the software maker or, if available, by downloading the program online. Some programs, called “shareware,” are available free online and can be downloaded at websites like The shareware programs may be trial versions or only offer basic features. When choosing any application software for your PC, make sure you have the hardware and operating system software required for proper performance. These requirements are clearly labeled on the software packaging and at the download website.

Most programs walk you through the installation process with a series of pop-up windows that ask questions about your PC. Often, you’ll have a choice to perform a “standard” or “custom” installation. Standard installation will be appropriate for the majority of users. For custom installations, make sure you follow the instructions provided.

From organizing and editing your photos to tracking your finances in a spreadsheet to e-mailing friends and family, application software helps you maximize the amazing potential of your PC.

  1. 1. Internet access is required and sold separately.