On a computer and in a computer

I saw two sentences as below:

  1. System software is used to run the hardware in a computer.
  2. Application software is used for doing specific tasks on a computer.

Question: I don’t know why the prepositions are different before a computer.

Thank you!!!

1-) It talks about a specific hardware piece, a physical object. It resides IN the computer which is another physical object.
2-) It talks about a computer program, not a physical object but rather an abstract idea. It runs on a computer which is not a physical object in this context, but more of the operating system or the whole software infrastructure.

The difference of two meanings of “computer” are kind of like the difference between brain and mind.

You can also hear: I’m now at my computer.
It means: you are sitting in front of your computer.

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Also: “I’m on my computer” = I’m using my computer.

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