There are two ways to install programs on your Macintosh OS computer. The two methods can be categorically defined as: Installer, and Drag-and-Drop Programs.
Installer Programs are just what the description says they are; these programs come as a file, usually called "Installer", which will do everything necessary to your computer in order for your program to run. Often programs will come with an option to either install or use a drag-and-drop functionality.
When using an Installer you may be asked a few questions that will customize the installation to fit your needs. Some questions may deal with:
- Installation Directory - This is where in your file system the program will store its executable and resource files. You usually want all of your programs stored in the Applications folder of your hard Drive. If you agree, your directory will take the form of: /Applications/Program Directory/
- Installation Type - Most programs may offer you a choice of what to install on your computer. Several of these choices are: 1) Minimum: the least amount of hard disk space will be used, but many features may not be included; 2) Recommended: a preset combination of files that the manufacturer recommends, this will include the most popular/useful features; 3) Maximum/Full: every single feature will be installed, locally, on your hard disk, which means that more space on your hard drive will be occupied. When running programs that contain a lot of media, such as movies or textures, choosing the Full installation will speed up the program; and 4) Custom: this option allows the user to arbitrarily select the features that they want installed.
- Serial Number/CD Key - To cut down on piracy many software manufacturers require the user to enter a unique password or key during the installation which then allows the installation to continue. This number is most frequently found on the back of the CD's jewel case.
- Personal Information/Registration - A lot of programs now require that you enter your personal information and register with them in order to activate their program.
- View the Readme file - This will simply display the programs Readme file. This file usually contains information regarding the install process that has just completed, basic instructions for using the program, and company information.
Drag-and-Drop programs are much easier to install. You click (holding down the mouse button), and drag the folder to the location that you would like to store the program. If you wish to keep your hard drive organized you will probably want to drag it to the Applications folder of your system disk. This type of installation is similar to the Installer method because most of what happens during the "install" step happens when you launch the program for the very first time.