What Is the Difference Between Firmware and Software?

Blake Patterson/CC-BY 2.0

While there is not much difference between firmware and software in terms of how the different programs are coded, the terminology is typically used differently in terms of its applications in computers. While software generally refers to externally obtained and implemented programs that aid in improving the user-computer interface and user productivity, firmware is usually implemented in the computer at the time the hardware is put into place.

Firmware is usually put into a computer with the intention of not being removed for the duration of the computer’s lifetime. On the other hand, software is much more flexible in terms of user customization preferences. Also, if a piece of hardware loses power, the firmware does not lose its memory whereas software does.