Home > Articles

Installing and Removing Programs

Installing and Removing Programs

In This Chapter

  • Picking programs your computer can run

  • Finding out whether your computer has room for a new program

  • Installing a program in 10 minutes or less

  • Running CD-ROM programs

  • Getting rid of programs you don't use

For me, the term "install" triggers flashbacks to the weekend I spent installing our new water heater. I envision misplaced tools, lost parts, leaking pipes, and a badly bruised ego.

Although installing a program is typically less traumatic, the process can have similar, unforeseen problems. For instance, you might pick up the wrong version of the program—the Macintosh version rather than the Windows version. Or the program might have a quirky installation routine that doesn't install all of the components you need.

This chapter is designed to help you avoid the most common pitfalls, deal with unexpected problems, and successfully install your new programs.

Buying Software That Your Hardware Can Run

Even the most experienced computer user occasionally slips up and buys a program that his or her computer can't run. The person might own a PC running Windows and pick up the Macintosh version of the program by mistake. Or maybe the program requires special audio or video equipment that the person doesn't have.

Program? Application? Software?

Throughout this book, I use the terms "program," "application," and "software" interchangeably. These terms all refer to the instructions that tell a computer how to perform specific tasks.

Before you purchase any program, read the minimum hardware requirements that are printed on the outside of every software package to determine whether your computer has what it takes to run the program:

  • Computer type Typically, you can't run a Macintosh programon an IBM-compatible computer (a PC or personal computer that runs Windows). If you have a PC, make sure the program is for an IBM PC or compatible computer. (Some programs include both the Macintosh and PC versions.)

  • Operating system Try to find programs that are designed specifically for the operating system you use. If your computer is running Windows 98, don't buy a program developed for Windows 95. (Although Windows 98 can run most applications designed for Windows 95, Windows 98 might have problems running some Windows 95 programs.)

  • Free hard disk space When you install a program, the installation routinely copies files from the installation disks or CDs to the hard disk. Make sure your hard disk has enough free disk space, as explained in the next section.

  • CPU requirements CPU stands for central processing unit. This is the brain of the computer. If the program requires at least a Pentium processor and you have a 486 processor, your computer won't be able to run the application effectively.

  • Type of monitor All newer monitors are SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array) or better, and most programs don't require anything better than SVGA. Some games and graphics programs require a specific type of display card, such as a 3D card or an advanced video card.

  • Mouse If you use Windows, you need a mouse or some other pointing device. A standard Microsoft two-button mouse is sufficient. Some programs have special features you can use only with an IntelliMouse.

  • Joystick Although most computer games let you use your keyboard, games usually are more fun if you have a joystick. Digital joysticks are the current trend.

  • CD-ROM drive If you have a CD-ROM drive, it usually pays to get the CD-ROM version of the application. This simplifies the program installation, and the CD-ROM version might come with a few extras. Check for the required speed of the drive, as well.

  • Sound card Most new applications require sound cards. If you plan to run any cool games, use a multimedia encyclopedia, or even explore the Internet, you'll need a sound card. Some applications can use the old 8-bit sound card, but newer applications require a 16-bit or better sound card, which enables stereo output.

  • Amount of memory (RAM) If your computer does not have the required memory, it might not be able to run the program or the program might cause the computer to crash (freeze up).

Use the Tearout Card

Before you go shopping for programs, tear out the Savvy Software Shopper's Form at the front of this book and make some copies of it. Use the forms to record each program's minimum hardware requirements.

You can find out most of what you need to know from the System Properties dialog box Hold down Alt and double-click My Computer to display the System Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure 10.1. The General Tab displays the operating system type and version number, the type of processor, and the amount of RAM. Click the Device tab and click the plus sign next to a device type to view the make and model number; for instance, click the plus sign next to Display Adapters to determine the type of video card that's installed.

Figure 10.1 The System Properties dialog box can tell you a lot about your computer.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020