So, you’ve found a piece of software you want to download but aren’t sure how to go about the whole process. Well, here’s a step by step guide:
#1 – Click the download link.
# 2 – Choose to save to disk and hit the OK button.
# 3 – Choose where you would like the file downloaded to. I normally use the desktop because after the download I can find it without hunting around my hard drive for a half an hour.
You may choose a location other than the desktop of course. You can create a folder on the C: drive named “Downloads”. The you can keep all your downloaded software in that location.
If you wish to place a download folder on your C: drive as mention above do the following:
First, double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. Next, double-click the “C” drive. Select File, New>>, Folder. A folder icon will appear with the words New Folder highlighted. Type in the name you would like for the folder (i.e. “Downloads”). That’s it, you now have your very own download folder!
Anyhow, once you decide on a good location, press the “Save” button.
Possibly the best way of doing this is to download the software to your desktop and transfer it to a download folder after you have installed the software.
The reason being is sometimes the downloaded file name isn’t very descriptive. If you have 40 different files in a folder named “downloads” it may be a little difficult to determine what file you just downloaded.
On the other hand, if you download it to your desktop you can easily figure out where the file is and then later transfer it to a “downloads Folder”.
If you want to take this a step further, you could even re-name the file in the little Save As dialog box. That’s what I normally do. In fact, I’ve even been known to re-name the file and add a couple comments to the name so I knew what was what later on.
For example, if I was downloading a program called “Cool Clock”, I may name the file:
Cool Clock – keeps computers time right
Sure, it’s long, but I would know what it the file was when I went to install it.
The sample picture below shows just the original name of the file. Not very descriptive huh?
# 4 – Watch the file download (it’s really exciting). After the download a message box will pop up telling you that the download is complete (or you may just hear a little “ding”). The file will reside wherever you told the computer to put it in the step above.
# 5 – Finally, double-click the file you just downloaded. If it’s an “exe” type file, the setup program will run and you can install the software.
If it’s a “zip” file, that’s not too bad either. If you’re using a program like WinZip, it can automatically extract the compressed files and start the install for you.
Personally, I like to right-click the file and select an “extract to” option from the resulting menu (yeah this is the hard way, but I’m stubborn). Now, the availability of this option depends on your “unzipping” software, but most zip-type programs will add an option to that menu when you install them.
Normally, you can choose not only to extract, but to extract to a specific location (some programs will even create a folder for you). Once the files are extracted, just double-click the setup program to install.
XP users, if you right-click a zip file, you’ll get an option to Extract that will create a new folder in the same location as your zip file (i.e. if your zip file is on your desktop, you’ll get a new folder on your desktop with the extracted files).
You may also notice an option for Extract with options… This will produce a little screen that lets you specify all sorts of extraction type options for the files – including the extract location.
No Setup Program?
OK, you’ve unzipped and don’t see any program called Setup.exe (or similar). What happened? Did your unzipping program miss something? Is Bill Gates out to get you for using that pirated copy of Windows?
Ahh, don’t worry. Some software is very basic and doesn’t require any setup program. You can just double-click the program to run it. No support files, no documentation, just the program itself is zipped.
The bad thing with this situation is that you don’t get a shortcut and need to go to the folder where the file is each time you want to run it. Or do ya?
So, here’s the last trick of the day:
If you need a shortcut, just right-click and drag the program to your desktop. When you release, you’ll get an option for creating a shortcut from a little menu. Actually, by default, you should get a shortcut with a left-click drag and drop, but you know how Windows can be 🙂