Adding or removing programs from Windows

Windows comes with standard program package that suits your basic needs for using a computer. Now days not many buy a computer to just visits a website, write a word document, create an Excel file, and so on. People expect computers to do more. They, for instance, want to chat with friends, use Apple’s iTunes, get automatic weather or stock updates from the internet, run animation files, use a browser other than Internet Explorer from Windows, and so on.

However, performing of these tasks requires an additional application or program dedicated for each task. To let your computer know you want to use an additional application, you have to install it or add it your machine.

Important note

It is a good practice to know and understand what software you are installing. Not all programs are safe, particularly those coming from lesser known sources. It is well known Internet makes it easy for any content to spread easily across the globe, spreading of virus software or program is no exception. So your best defense against any vulnerable viruses is you.

Installing of or adding of a program boils down to copying of the program instructions to your machine. Running (by double-clicking) of the Setup (or Install) program take cares of all the details of what files to copy and even automatically start the program after the installation is done. The installation process may also ask you to register the software after it is done installing on your machine.

Because installation wizard is specific to an application, what options and instructions you get during the installation process is difficult to predict. If you are not sure how to go about installing a program, check out the accompanying manual or README file. You can also go to the application vendor’s website for help. If you find the installation process causing errors or is simply confusing, chances are it may be doing the same for other computer users. In this case, searching online or contacting the vendor may be the best option.

When it comes to Windows, you will find there are more than ways to do the same task. Installing of a program is no exception. As mentioned earlier, one of the ways you can add application to your computer is by running the Setup file. Actually, the Setup file may start automatically when you insert the program's installation disk. Alternatively, you can use Add or Remove Programs from your Control Panel.

Add or Remove Programs option in Control Panel (Windows XP)
Add or Remove Programs option in Control Panel (Windows XP)

Important note

You may run into compatibility problems when installing a new application. This happens when you are installing a legacy application on a newer Windows Operating System. So installing a Windows 95 program on Windows XP is not likely to work. Instead, you may need to get the application developer to give you an upgrade or some other workaround the problem.

After you have opened the Add or Remove Programs window, click on Add New Programs. Next, choose if you have a CD or Floppy disk. Choose this option if the Setup file is accessible from your computer.

Opening Run Installation Program
Opening Run Installation Program

It is a good practice to know the technical requirements before installing or purchasing software. If you are not sure, try using a trial version, if available, on your machine. The technical requirements would indicate:

  • Hardware requirements
    • processor speed (i.e., 2 GHZ)
    • minimum virtual memory requirement (i.e., 512MB RAM)
    • internet connection
    • CD-ROM drive
  • Software requirements
    • version of Windows Operating System (XP with or without Service Pack X, Windows ME, etc.)
    • minimum hard-drive storage space

Also, prior to installing an application make sure you agree with the application’s license agreement. All software applications basically state if you use the software, you have agreed with the license clause.

Removing a program

Sometimes you want to get rid of software from your computer. Perhaps it does not do what you thought it does or it is too difficult to use. Regardless of the reasons, you can remove the software with just a few clicks.

Uninstalling QuickTime
Uninstalling QuickTime

Simply click Start and browse to Programs. Move your mouse over to the program you want to remove. Next, click on an option that says similar to Uninstall or Remove. Clicking on the Uninstall will start the un-installation process.

A quick tip

Before deleting an application, make sure you are not loosing any work that you created with that application. An appropriate choice of saving your work is outside of the folder where the program (application) instructions are saved on your computer. Likely, your program’s instructions are saved in C:\Program Files\****, where **** is the name of the application/program. So save your work outside of C:\Program Files\**** to avoid any risk of loss of your work.

Alternatively, if you don’t find the Uninstall button, use Windows Add or Remove Programs window. You can find this again by going to Control Panel and double clicking on Add or Remove Programs. Next, choose from the list the program you want to remove. You can sort the list by program name, size, frequency of use, etc to quickly find the desired software for deletion.

Removing QuickTime using Add or Remove Programs window
Removing QuickTime using Add or Remove Programs window
Posted on 1/29/2008
by Raj Singh