Installing New Software On Windows

Your new computer system probably came with a bunch of programs preinstalled on its hard disk. As useful as these programs are, at some point you’re going to want to add something new. Maybe you want to upgrade from Microsoft Works to the more full-featured Microsoft Office.

Maybe you want to add some educational software for the kids or a productivity program for yourself. Maybe you just want to play some new computer games. Whatever type of software you’re considering, installing it on your computer system is easy.

In most cases software installation is so automatic you don’t have to do much more than stick a disc in the CD-ROM drive and click a few onscreen buttons. Even when it isn’t that automatic, Windows will walk you through the installation process step-by-step— and you’ll be using your new software in no time!

Automatic Installation

Almost all software programs have their own built-in installation programs. Installing the software is as easy as running this built-in program. If the program you’re installing comes on a CD-ROM or DVD, just insert the program’s main or installation CD/DVD in your computer’s CD/DVD drive. The program’s installation program should then start automatically, and all you have to do is follow the onscreen instructions.

Manual Installation

If the installation program doesn’t start automatically, you have to launch it manually. To do this, open Computer Explorer (in Windows Vista) or My Computer (in Windows XP) and double-click the icon for your CD or DVD drive. This opens the drive and displays the contents of the installation disc.

Look for file called setup.exe or install.exe; then double-click that file’s icon. This launches the software’s installation program; follow the onscreen instructions from there.

Installing from the Internet

Nowadays, many software publishers make their products available via download from the Internet. Some users like this because they can get their new programs immediately. However, downloading software like this can take quite a long time, especially if you have a dial-up Internet connection, because the program files are so big.

When you download a program from a major software publisher, the process is generally easy to follow. You probably have to read a page of do’s and don’ts, agree to the publisher’s licensing agreements, and then click a button to start the download.

After you specify where (which folder on your hard disk) you want to save the downloaded file, the download begins. When the download is complete, you should be notified via an onscreen dialog box.

When prompted, choose to Run the program you just downloaded. Follow the onscreen instructions from there. Sometimes, programs you download from the Internet require the use of ActiveX controls—something that Internet Explorer normally blocks, for security reasons.

If you go to install a program and nothing happens, look for a message underneath your browser’s address bar. If you’re sure that this is a legitimate part of the program you’re installing, click the message and select Install ActiveX Control from the pop-up menu. The installation should proceed normally from this point.

Removing Old Programs

Chances are you got a lot of different software programs with your new PC. Chances are also that some of these are programs you’ll never use—and are just taking up space on your hard disk. For example, your new computer might have come with both Microsoft Money and Quicken installed—and you’ll only use one of these two programs.

Or your new system came with a lot of junk programs installed—trial versions and demos of applications that you’ll never use. If you’re sure you won’t be using a particular program, Windows can easily remove the software from your hard disk. This frees up hard disk space for other programs you might install in the future.

To remove a software program from your PC in Windows Vista, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start menu, open the Control Panel.
  2. Select Uninstall a Program (in the Programs section).
  3. Windows displays a list of installed programs.

  1. Select the program you want to uninstall from this list.
  2. Click the Uninstall button.
  3. If prompted, confirm that you want to continue to uninstall the application. Answer any other prompts that appear onscreen; then the uninstall process will start.