Programs that need to be installed will always either:
- Contain a "setup" or "install" located at the root of its files.
- Have a "launcher" that will prompt you to install the program as soon as you insert the disk.
- They will be a self contained install package, and all you must do is run the file to begin the installation.
- Be a compressed folder of files that will need to be uncompressed in order to reveal one of the above situations. Popular programs that will provide this decompression are: Winzip, WinRar, StuffIt, and WinAce.
Regardless of the type of installation package you are working with, you will usually be prompted for a few questions during this process.
Installation Directory - This is where in your file system the program will store its execution and resource files. The directory will usually take on the format of:
C:\Program Files\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 a lot of features may not be include; 2) Recommended, a preset combination of files that the manufacturer recommends that 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 allot 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 - Another way to cut down on piracy is to require the user to enter a unique password or key into the installation which then allows the installation to continue. This number can, most frequently, be found on the back of the CD's jewel case.
- Shortcut Locations - Most programs will give you a variety of places you can place shortcuts that will execute/launch their program. These locations include the Desktop, Quick Launch Bar, System Tray, and Start Menu.
- Personal Information/Registration - Most programs are what is called "Retail" programs; this simply means that they need to be purchased. Allot of programs now require that you enter your personal information and register with them in order to activate their program, with the hope that this will cut down on the piracy that is rampant throughout the market.
- 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/or company information.
Once the programs are installed you may simply run the program by simply running one of the shortcuts that were installed.
Self-contained programs are programs that need no setup in order to run on your computer. Usually, though, if it is a program that you will use often, or is a program used by many on the computer you will want to perform a few steps in order to keep the clutter down on your desktop. The first thing you will want to do is move the executable into a folder you created in your Program Files directory; it should resemble:C:\Program Files\Program Directory\
You can create this folder by:
- Opening My Computer
- Opening Local Disk (C:)
- Opening Program Files
- Go to File -> New -> Folder
- A new folder will appear ready to be renamed, simply type in an appropriate name. If you cannot type in a new name, highlight the folder, usually named "New Folder", and go to File -> Rename and you should be able to type in a new name.
Now you need to move the files into this folder. You can do so by:
- Open up your new directory. If you have closed the Program Files window, simply follow the instructions above to get back there.
- Position the window to a point where you can see both the file and your empty directory.
- Simply drag the files from there old location into the new folder.
- If a copy of the files remains in the original location you can feel free to delete them.
Now that you have the files in the position that you want, you must alter your start menu so that you can easily launch the application. You can alter the start menu by doing the following:
- With your created folder still open, highlight all of the files that you would like to create shortcuts for. You can select multiple files by holding down >Ctrl
- Go to Edit -> Copy
- Navigate to your Start Menu by opening these folders from My Computer in sequence: Local Disk (C:), Documents and Settings, All Users, Start Menu, and finally Programs. If you have only one shortcut that you wanted to place you may go onto the next step, but if you have multiple shortcuts, then I suggest you create a new folder at this location to keep the clutter in your start menu to a minimum.
- We should take time to note here that any alteration to this folder will alter everyone's Start Menu. DO NOT delete things in here just because you do not use that specific program. Now, to place you shortcuts simply go to Edit -> Paste Shortcut. This will place shortcuts to your files in this directory. Feel free to rename these shortcuts by highlighting the file and then go to Edit Rename.
- Now, just to make sure that everything works, click on your Start Button and navigate to the appropriate place in your Start Menu.