THIS is a great question for people just starting out, and just plain never did know the difference! You do need to know the difference so you can understand what people are talking about!
First off hardware and software work together to make your computer work! You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have them both!
Hardware includes the physical components, such as the motherboard, chips, memory, and hard drives! The CD rom or the disk drive you use is hardware! I guess you could just plain call it the parts to the computer! If you ever opened up your computer will see ALL kinds of items in there, and those parts are your hardware!
Software on the other hand is the program that makes your computer RUN, or accomplishes some task you are doing! One program you use everyday is your operating system! We speak here about the different versions of windows (Windows 95, 95, ME, 2000, XP, Vista), and all of those are operating systems! If you like to write letters on Word, WordPad, Notepad, Word Perfect, etc. those programs are software programs as well!
This is a very simple explanation of the difference! They do work together, and you need to have both in order to run the computer!