A good answer might be:

Everything on the list can be stored on a floppy disk (or in any other kind of computer memory, for that matter.)

Types of Programs

There are two categories of programs. Application programs (usually called just "applications") are programs that people use to get their work done. Computers exist because people want to run these programs. Systems programs keep all the hardware and software running together smoothly. The difference between "application program" and "system program" is fuzzy. Often it is more a matter of marketing than of logic.

Application ProgramsSystems Programs
  • Word processors
  • Game programs
  • Spreadsheets
  • Data base systems
  • Graphics programs
  • Web browsers
  • Operating system.
  • Networking system.
  • Database system.
  • Programming language software.
  • Web site server.
  • Data backup.

The most important systems program is the operating system. The operating system is always present when the computer is running. It coordinates the operation of all the hardware and software components of the computer system. The operating system is responsible for starting application programs running and finding the resources that they need. When an application program is running, the operating system manages the details of the hardware for it. For example, when you type characters on the keyboard, the operating system determines which application program they are intended for and does the work of getting them there.

Modern operating systems usually come with a user interface that enables users to easily interact with application programs (and with the operating system itself) by using windows, buttons, menus, icons, the mouse, and the keyboard. Examples of operating systems are Unix, Windows 98, Windows NT, Linux, Solaris, and System 7.


(Thought question:) Imagine that you have just turned on your computer and have not yet started any application. Are any programs running?