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How do I install a program?

Where do you want to install the program?

The installer will often ask you to chose a directory (or location) on your computer's hard drive where the program should be installed. This may seem confusing, but the program will usually suggest a directory. The suggested directory is usually the best choice, though you can choose another one if you want. For example, if you are installing a game and you want all your games to be stored in a folder named games, you could tell the installer to do so. If you choose a different directory other than the suggested one, the computer will ask if you want to create the new directory. In this case, answer yes.

How much of the program do you want to install?

The installer will often give you a choice of how much of the program you want to install. The choices might be called "Full," "Standard," "Minimum," "Run from CD" or "Custom."

The "Full" install installs all components and accessories for the software. Extras might include fonts or clip art for graphics programs or additional graphics and sounds for a game. If space isn't a problem on your hard drive, this will often provide you with the best experience when using the software. However, if computer resources are at a premium, these "extras" may bog down your system. You also may not need (or want) those extras.

"Standard" installations usually just install the most commonly used components. Add-on programs and other optional items are usually not installed. This is good for most people. You can usually add the extras later if you want to.

When the "Minimum" install is selected, only the required parts of the program will be installed. This is for people who need to save computer resources, such as on an older computer.

The "Run from CD" option installs only a few files to allow you to run the program directly off the CD-ROM disc. This option should only be used if simply don't have enough space to install the program. While this does save space, it means you have to have the program CD in the drive whenever you want to run the program. The program will also run much slower off the CD.

"Custom Install" is a way for you to manually choose exactly which parts of the program you wish to install. While handy, unless you know what parts have to be installed to make the program run properly, avoid this option. Leave this one to more experienced users.

State your name, rank and serial number.

Often programs will ask you to enter a serial number to prove you actually bought the program. This is usually found in the program manual or in the CD case. Along with this, you may have to enter your name. The installer may also ask you to enter the name of your company. You can usually leave this blank, but if the software is for home use, you may wish to enter "Home" or something similar.

The installer may give you the option of registering the software online. This is a way of instantly registering the product without having to mail in the little card. This process requires an Internet connection in order to work.

Types of installations:

The Auto-Install

This usually requires very little help from you. When you insert the disk (CD or floppy disk), it automatically begins the process of installing the software. It may ask for some of the above information along the way, but the process is usually very smooth.

The Menu Installer

When you insert the disk, a menu will appear on your screen. It will usually give the option off installing the program and may offer the opportunity to install trial versions of other software. The installation process is usually the same as other processes once it begins.

Click to install

Some programs, especially those that come on floppy disks, require you to click on an "Install" icon to begin installing the software. This icon usually is shaped like a computer and will have the word "Install" below it.

Decompress and install

Some programs, especially those you download from the Internet, may be in a compressed form when you receive them. Some are "Self-Extracting." When you click on the compressed file, it expands automatically and usually begins the installation process.

Other programs require another program to extract the files. This may be a program like "WinZip." Once the files are extracted, click on the "Install" icon to begin the installation process.

Sometimes the installer needs some information from you to complete the process. Here is some common information the installer might need from you in order to install:

Installing software is not hard. In fact, most software helps you through the process each step of the way. While some programs involve multiple steps to install them, others are quick and easy and need only a single step. However, you can't just copy the program over to your hard drive and expect it to work. All programs use special installer software to copy itself on your computer. This software ensures all the parts of your program go where they need to go.

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