Software is basically a series of codes and instructions that tell the operating system how to perform. This is unlike with physical hardware where the machine actually does the work and is built by the hardware manufacturer. It is possible for there to be a conflict between the software and the hardware – this is known as ‘Bugs’. Software can also cause interference with other applications or programs which run on the same computer. All these reasons lead to the need for software testing.
Software Testing is the verification process done to ensure that specific software products deliver the intended results to users. Software is used in many different fields including electronics, entertainment, computer networking, financial sector etc. The field of Software Testing is extremely complex. It involves rigorous standards processes and stringent quality control parameters.
To ensure that the system software and hardware to perform at maximum levels, a series of testing procedures has to be conducted. Software applications written for any computer hardware need to perform in a specific way so that they can be used to perform their functions smoothly by the operating system. In addition, to make sure that the software is not a security risk, testing procedures must be performed for all critical software components.
Hardware Testing is required to test the robustness of computer systems and to ensure the absence of bugs and defects. The tasks include fault injection testing, voltage output checking, input/output monitoring, thermal testing, and any number of other procedures. The entire process of Hardware Testing involves the examination of input and output components, testing of physical programs, non-volatile memory tests and the whole gamut of performance testing. To ensure that the computer system software and hardware are working in complete cooperation, Software Testing is performed on a regular basis.
Computer hardware is continuously evolving and being manufactured. Thus, the variety of computer hardware available today offers an almost never-ending list of different types and models of hardware solutions. Because of this, it is practically impossible for one manufacturer’s product to fit all requirements. This makes it necessary for manufacturers to customize their systems and programs to work with the specific computer systems and programs that they have developed. In order to do so, software developers need to develop solutions that can adapt to a specific type of hardware without too many complications.
Drivers are software components that are specific to a specific manufacturer’s device. When a manufacturer develops a driver, it is normally placed into program files or drivers disks for use with that particular manufacturer’s system. However, there may be situations where the manufacturer has developed software programs that do not work with the device that the user is attempting to attach to the system. In these instances, the user needs to install specialized device driver software so that the hardware will work with the operating system. The software that enables the user to install the appropriate drivers is referred to as user mode driver software.