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Software (101)

Difference between hardware and software:  You can physically kick hardware :-) 
But please don't, it will not resolve any problems.

Software is simply any program or an application (app), but also includes the operating system (Windows).


Software installation is generally straight forward and easy, simply start the installation process and follow the prompts, but not always (more on that shortly). 

These days, most everything is available on the Internet including software and drivers (see scams!)  If you obtain software via the Internet, you will be downloading and running the installer on your computer.  But see the dangers in downloading.

Windows 10 won't allow you to install something?  See our September '17 newsletter.

When on a CD or flashdrive

But installers are not always friendly!

Windows 10 has a "feature" that when a CD or USB drive is inserted, a notification opens (lower right corner) asking "what you want to do" with whatever you plugged in. 

Unfortunately that notification/prompt appears and all too quickly, disappears, maybe before you can even react. 

Win 10 prompt

If you can/do react quick enough to click that momentary prompt, Windows 10 will then throw out yet another prompt (upper right corner) again asking what you want to do.

What a stupid and terrible design by Microsoft, but even worse, Windows 10 may not even (re) prompt if you eject a CD and put it back in!

A much better design was in Windows 7, which would open a dialog box asking that question but that dialog box would stay open until you act upon or dismiss it.



But anyway...

windows 7
prompt 2
If you missed or don't get the prompt...

If the setup file is on CD/DVD, Windows will prompt you to run when the CD/DVD is inserted in the computer.  So if you miss (or don't get) the setup prompt, open the CD using Windows File Explorer and double click setup.



Updating?  If you are updating an existing application, generally the new app will install over the old one, but sometimes you have a choice of keeping the old application as well.  Example:  We have both Microsoft Office 2007 and 2013 on our main computer.  The reason: In version 2013 (and later) Microsoft decided to drop the ability for Access (database) to link to and import non-Microsoft databases, and that is something we must have.


If you are installing "freeware" be very careful!  Very few things are really free.  See our brief article on installing freeware but also see junkware and scams!  And don't be fooled by any "driver update" application, they are junk and need to be uninstalled!

Uninstalling or repairing

In the Control Panel > Programs and Features (Apps and Features), select the desired application then click uninstall or if the option is there and you need to repair the app, click change.  See Programs/Applications and Features.


But not all applications uninstall or uninstall completely, especially junk/crapware! See also Applications.

Sometimes software simply will not uninstall properly.  See this Microsoft article
Most antivirus manufacturers offer a utility to uninstall their software. 
But sometimes it is necessary to format the drive and reinstall everything from scratch.  See factory restore.

Office uninstaller cleanup tool (when having odd problems with Office that the "repair" does not resolve).