How to run a computer program
After a computer program or game is installed, it can be opened anytime. Below are the steps on how to run a computer program or game on your computer in all operating systems.
When you want to "open" a program, you can use "open" or "run." However, to "open" a file, see: How to open, view, and edit the contents of a file on a computer.
Opening a program in Microsoft Windows
Run a program on Microsoft Windows
In Windows, to run a program, double-click the executable file or double-click the shortcut icon pointing to the executable file. If you have difficulty double-clicking an icon, click the icon once to highlight it, and press the Enter key on the keyboard.
If you cannot find a program's icon in Windows 7, Vista, 8, or 10, click Start and type the program name you want to open. For example, you could type notepad, excel, or word and click the icon in the search results or highlight the program icon and press Enter. If the program does not appear, make sure the program is installed.
If a program is not installed, it cannot run. For example, you can only run Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel if it's installed on the computer.
Run a program on an Apple computer
If you are having difficulty opening a program because you cannot find the icon, you can use Spotlight to search for the program's name. Once found, double-click the icon to open the program.
If a program is in the Dock, it only requires you to click the icon once.
Run an app on an Apple iPad and iPhone
If you cannot find a particular program icon, using your finger, swipe down from the top-middle of any screen showing icons to start a search. You may need to swipe right after swiping down to see the search field. In the search, type the name of the program you want to open and click the icon.
Run an app on an Android phone or tablet
How to close a program
If you open a program, you will likely want to close it at some point. Many programs have an "X" close icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. If not, you can push the shortcut key combination Alt+F4 to exit.
See our close page for further information about closing programs in all operating systems and programs.