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System software is a generic term referring to any computer software whose purpose is to help run the computer system. Most of it is responsible directly for controlling, integrating, and managing the individual hardware components of a computer system.

In the Macintosh world, System software is used to describe the Macintosh system software, which includes all versions from 1.0 through to 7.5. Versions 7.5.1 and above are termed Mac OS.

System software is opposed to application software that helps solve user problems directly. System software performs tasks like transferring data from memory to disk, or rendering text onto a display. Specific kinds of system software include loading programs, operating systems, device drivers, programming tools, compilers, assemblers, linkers, and utilities.

System software can be stored on non-volatile storage on integrated circuits that is usually termed firmware.

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