How To Install A New Program On Your Computer

So you’ve just discovered a great new calendar, music player or other program, and you want to install it on your machine. Here’s how to do it on both Windows and Mac OS X.

On Windows

Installing a new program on Windows is pretty simple. Just head to the program’s website . Usually, this downloads an installer package, which you’ll use to install the program itself. Find out where you saved the installer, and double-click on it. This will start the install wizard.

Every install wizard is a little different, but generally it just involves hitting “next” a number of times. That said, here are some things you want to watch out for:

  • Install Type: You’ll often be asked to perform a “typical” or a “custom” install (or some variation thereof). In pretty much every situation, a typical install should be just fine.
  • Install Location: By default, the installer will probably want to put your program in C:\Program Files\[NAME OF PROGRAM] . Again, the default location is fine.
  • Bundled Software: This is one you really want to watch out for. Sometimes, an installer will ask you if you want to install an extra, unrelated piece of software, like the Ask Toolbar or Weatherbug, that you don’t want. Make sure, as you go through the install wizard, that you watch out for this type of stuff. Often, they’ll try to trick you into installing it by saying something like, “do you want to accept the terms of use and install the Ask Toolbar?” It’s OK to reject that terms of use, since it’s the terms of use for the Ask Toolbar — not for the software you’re installing. Keep an eye out, and uncheck any packaged crapware you come across.
  • Shortcuts: Usually, at the end of an installation, it’ll ask you if you want to create a shortcut on the desktop and/or the Start Menu. I usually like to keep my desktop clean, so I uncheck this option, but make sure you always create a shortcut in the Start Menu so you can easily access that program whenever you want.

That’s it! It should take a minute or two for the program to install, but once it’s done, you should be able to find it in Start > All Programs. You can even pin it to the Windows 7 taskbar if you want quick access to it. You can now delete the original installer package from your Downloads folder; you don’t need that anymore.

On a Mac

Installing a program on a Mac is super easy, but it isn’t always self-explanatory. When you download a program from a website, it’ll usually download as a .dmg file. Find the .dmg file you just downloaded and double-click on it. It will “mount” that .dmg file as a white disk on your desktop, and open up a new window with the program inside. It might also have a shortcut to the Applications folder, in which case you can just drag the icon onto the Applications folder.

If the window that pops up doesn’t have a shortcut to the Applications folder, go to File > New Window to open a new Finder window, then click on Applications in the left-hand sidebar. Drag the program’s icon into your newly opened Applications window.

Once you’ve dragged the app into your Applications folder, you can close both windows. Right-click on the white disk icon on your desktop (which will have the same name as the program you just installed), and hit Eject. Then, delete the original .dmg file you downloaded. You won’t need this anymore, since the program is now on your hard drive. To access it, just open up the Finder, go to Applications, and the program should be in there. You can even add it to your dock if you want quick access to it.

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