Conscientious Software Installation

We get calls and email all the time from readers who have trouble running software. Many times, these problems are caused by PBDC errors (Problem Between Desk and Chair) during install. I’m guilty of this too. Many times we try to install software without checking the memory and system requirements. So often we click “I Agree” to things we have not read or “Next” without reading the screen. Here are some simple tips for smart software installation:

Verify System Compatibility – Before you buy, make sure that your system can handle the software and has an operating system that supports it. For instance, our software pages list system requirements such as Processor, RAM, Hard Drive Space and Windows version. If you have an old hand-crank PC with Windows 98, an 8x CD drive and a Pentium II processor, then you will most likely have problems with current software titles.

Read the licensing agreement – At least skim through it. For instance, did you know that RealOne (RealAudio player) sends back your personal info to the mothership? That’s right! RealNetworks collects and stores your Internet (IP) address and the URL of the website that sent you to the RealOne registration page. In addition, by clicking “I Agree” you give them permission to use your personal info to “provide you with targeted advertising, promotions, and special offers” (Read: l SPAM). If you didn’t read the privacy policy statement, then you didn’t know this.

Pay attention to where the file goes – During installation you can choose where you want that program to be. Don’t just click NEXT. Maybe you could put it somewhere that makes more sense.

Don’t get “click happy” – Read each screen before you click “Next”. The default on the screen is not always the best setup for your system. I installed a program one time that defaulted to the demo mode rather than the full version. Imagine my surprise when some of the features were locked. Or maybe you prefer to run off a CD rather than clog up drive space. These might be options that you just clicked past and missed out on.

Look at the ReadMe File – Usually after you install software it asks if you want to view the ReadMe file. Maybe you’re afraid it’s some Alice in Wonderland thing (like “Drink Me”) that will make you grow into a giant. Well, it’s not. Often it is filled with legal mumbo jumbo and useless information, but sometimes it will tell you about abnormalities caused by certain system configurations—maybe even yours.

Check out the tutorial – Most programs actually teach you how to use them. This is especially important with things like virtual drives, firewalls, pop-up blockers, and utilities that if configured improperly, will not work right. You might be the adventurous type, but if you want to get the most from your software, the tutorial is a faithful guide (in most cases).

Following these simple guidelines could help you avoid hours of frustration and emails to the help desk. You won’t get so annoyed that you never use the program or just end up uninstalling the program.

~ David

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