How to install a software program
The installation process for software depends on your operating system and the program you are installing. As a result of these many combinations, we have created the steps below as a general guideline. The following does not cover errors during the installation process, as they are too vast for one document. Search on our site for further information on errors during the setup.
- Make sure your computer meets the system requirements of the program, game, or utility you are attempting to install.
- The manual or the readme file contains exact instructions on how to install a program and are in the same directory as the installation files.
- When installing a program, utility, or game, it is always a good idea first to close or disable any other programs that are running.
- After installing a new program, if it prompts you to reboot the computer, do it.
Microsoft Windows users
How to install from a CD or DVD
Autorun from a CD or DVD
Many software programs, games, and utilities have an AutoPlay feature. This feature automatically starts a setup screen for the software program when the CD or DVD is inserted. If your program contains this feature, follow the steps that appear after inserting the disc into the computer.
No Autorun Feature
- Open My Computer.
- Within the My Computer window, open the drive that contains the installation files. For example, if the files are on the CD-ROM drive, open the D: drive or letter of your CD-ROM drive.
- Within the drive that contains your files, locate either the executable setup (i.e. "setup.exe") or install file. Double-clicking on this file starts the installation process. If you see multiple setup or install files, try to locate an executable file or double-click each of the setup or install files until you find the file that starts the installation. Many times the icons associated with the installation files have the same name.
Install a CD on a computer with no disc drive
Some of the new computers may no longer have a disc drive. If your computer does not have a disc drive try installing what is on the CD from the Internet. Computer drivers, software for hardware devices, and some games and other programs are available for downloaded and can be installed from a download.
If the program is not available for download copy the contents all of the CD or DVD to another drive on another computer. For example, you could copy the contents of the disc to a USB flash drive and then install the program from the USB flash drive.
How to install from a Download
Tip: If you need help with downloading a program see our how to download page.
- Download the program from the website providing the program.
- Open the download folder.
- If the file you downloaded is an executable file, double-click the file icon to start the setup process. If the downloaded file is compressed (e.g., .zip), you must extract the file's contents before setup can begin. Fortunately, this function is built into most versions of Windows.
- Once the files are extracted, double-click the setup to install.
How to install from a USB flash drive
- Open Windows Explorer or My Computer and find the USB drive that is typically the last drive letter.
- Once the drive is opened find the setup or executable file, double-click the file icon to start the setup process.
Installing from MS-DOS or the Windows command line
Users installing a program from Microsoft DOS should have a basic understanding of the MS-DOS commands. If you are unfamiliar with any of the commands listed below, click the link to get additional information on that specific command.
- Before installing a program in MS-DOS, you must switch to the drive or directory that contains the installation files. If you are installing a program from a CD or diskette, switch to that drive. If the installation files are located in a different directory, use the dir command to list the directories and the cd command to switch to the appropriate directory.
- Once you are in the directory or drive that contains the installation files, run the executable for setup. Many times this can be done by typing setup or install at the prompt to start the installation. If both of these commands give a bad command or file name error message, type dir *.exe or dir *.com or dir *.bat. These commands list any executable files found in the directory or drive. If any files are listed, execute these files to run the installation or setup of the program. If no files are listed when typing all three of the above commands, you are in the incorrect directory or drive letter for that program.
- I have problems in Windows after installing new software.
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- How to run a computer software program.
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- How to download software.
- How to uninstall software.
- How to download an app or game from Google Play store.
- See the software definition for further information and related links.
- Software help and support.