System software is software on a computer that is designed to control and work with computer hardware. The two main types or categories of system software are the operating system and the software installed with the operating system, often called utility software. In some cases, the operating system and utility software depend on each other to function properly.
Some system software is used directly by users and other system software works in the background. System software can allow users to interact directly with hardware functionality, like the Device Manager and many of the utilities found in the Control Panel.
Software that allows users to create documents, browse the Internet, or check e-mail are examples of application software.