Software Install Guide

It happens all the time. You purchase a new piece of software and go to install it. Part way through the process, everything locks up, you get an error, or things just plain old don’t work.

Or maybe it installs just fine, but when you go to run it, you end up with either an error message or nothing happens.

What can you do?

If you’re having trouble installing the software, read on.

If you install the software and can’t get it to run, click here

Running the setup program

Most people expect the CD to automatically run when they put it in the CD ROM drive. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer out there has an “autorun” file on the CD, so sometimes you’ll need to activate the setup program yourself.

Usually you can do this by hitting the Start button, Run, then typing the following into the Run line:


Hit Enter and the setup program should start. The above example assumes that your CD ROM is drive letter “D” (most are). If it’s not, you’ll need to substitute your drive letter for drive the drive “D” example shown above.

To determine your drive letter, open My computer. You should see your CD ROM drive there and it should show you a drive letter.

If that doesn’t work, try this:

With the CD in the drive, open the My Computer icon on your desktop and then the CD ROM. Find a program labeled Setup or Setup.exe and click it.

Reading the Read Me File

If you run into a problem during setup, you may want to check the program’s Readme file. It’s usually a text file that’s included on the CD ROM and they generally have lots of great trouble shooting information included.

Normally, just go to My Computerright-click your CD ROM driveExplore. Look for a file named “Readme” and double-click it to view.

Avoid any conflicts

The most common reason for a piece of software not installing is that another program is interfering with it.

In order to make sure that isn’t happening, shut down all the stuff in your system tray. Usually if you right-click an icon with your mouse you’ll get a menu that lets you shut it down.

After you have a “clean” system tray, try running the install program again and see if it goes.

Note that anti-virus programs can sometimes cause a problem, so you may want to disable any anti-virus protection you have running – if you’re installing from a CD ROM.

If you’re installing from an Internet download is not a good idea to do so without your anti-virus software running, so only do it if you’re 110% sure the file doesn’t contain a virus.

If you are still having problems, you may have something else running in the background. Hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and shut down (end task) everything but Explorer and Systray.

You may run into another program or two that will shut the whole works down, so pay attention as your shutting stuff down so that you can leave that particular program running the next time you do the shut down thing.

Once you have everything shut down that you possibly can, try running the install again. Hopefully this will do it.

But if not…

Check the CD

Make sure the CD is clean and relatively free from imperfections.

If it has a big scratch in it, you’re probably out of luck and will need to return it for a replacement or a refund.

If it has some grime or finger prints on it, try cleaning it off with a soft cloth. Some CDs are still packaged by “real” people, so a quick cleaning may do the trick.

Safe Mode

If you’re running out of ideas, you may want to try running the install program from safe mode.

To get to Safe mode, press the F8 key when Windows starts to boot. You have to do this BEFORE you see the first “Windows” screen. I start tapping away at mine when I see the “Starting Windows 98” message, although not all computers display it. Experiment and you’ll get it.

Note that this is better suited for software that you have downloaded or have on 3.5 floppy disks than CD software, since your CD ROM won’t run under Safe Mode.

Now, there is a way around this. If you copy the CD to your hard manually you may be able to run the install from setup. Just make a folder on your hard drive and copy the contents of the CD to it. Try running the install from your hard drive in Safe Mode and see if that does it.

Web Help

Let’s say you’ve tried all the stuff above but you still can’t get it to run. Then what?

Well, most manufactures have web sites that can help. Try heading to their site and looking for a troubleshooting FAQ or a Knowledge base. Some companies even have message boards you can post your question at.

Most of the time, you’ll find the web site somewhere on the software packaging or on the disk itself. If you can’t, try typing in, where manufacturer is the name of the company that makes the software.

If that fails, try typing in the name of the software or the manufacturer in a search engine. I’ve found lots of hard to locate companies that way.

Once you’re on the site, if you come up dry for tech support, look for a contact phone number or e-mail.

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