Selecting, Installing, and Running Programs

Selecting, Installing, and Running Programs

By the End of This Tutorial, You’ll Be Able To:
 Explain what applications are and what they do
 Pick the right application for the right job
 Look at a box in your software store and figure out whether your computer can run the application
 Put your fancy new application on your hard disk and run itTo place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

Before you can do anything useful with your computer, you must run two types of programs: an operating system (such as DOS or Windows) and an application. The operating system is fairly boring. Unless you’re a bona fide nerd, you won’t deal with it very much. Applications are why you own your computer; it lets you create newsletters, calculate your finances, play games, get up-to-the-minute sports scores, and even go shopping.
In this post, you will learn the basics about applications, including how to install a new application on your hard disk and how to run an application.

Terminology Break
Before you get too far into the post, you should understand the terms software, program, and application. Software consists of any instructions that tell your computer (the hardware) what to do, A program is a complete set of instructions, A program can be an operating system (such as DOS) or an application. An application is a program that allows you to do some¬thing useful, such as type a letter or shoot incoming aliens out of the sky. To further confuse you, the terms program and application are commonly used interchangeably.

The Right Application for the Right Job
When choosing an application, first ask yourself what you want the application to do. As the next table shows, each type of application specializes in performing a specific task.

Types of Applications
Use This Application To
Database Store and manipulate information, analyze data, generate
client reports, and print mailing labels.
Desktop publishing Create and print newsletters, flyers, brochures, business
cards, and books.
Educational Play games (both educational and otherwise), compose
music, and research topics.
Finance/Accounting Print checks, balance a checkbook, manage payroll, and
update inventory records.
Graphics Create graphs, illustrate manuals, design machinery, and
make slide shows.
Integrated Perform combined tasks of word processor, spread-sheet,
database, communications, and graphics applications.
Some software manufacturers bundle a full-featured
program (such as a word processor, spreadsheet, and
database) and market the program as a suite, which acts
as an integrated package.
PIM PIM stands for Personal Information Manager. You use
this type of application to keep track of meet¬ings and

Use This Application To
Spreadsheet Balance accounts, keep track of schedules, track
materials, estimate job costs, determine averages,
automate quality control, and do graphs.
Telecommunications Transfer data between two computers, access online
information, and cruise the Internet.
Utilities Enhance the capabilities of your computer, main¬tain your
computer and files, make your system easier to use.
Word processor Write letters and reports, compose books, and write

Can Your Computer Ran This Application?
You can’t run all applications on all computers. Before you buy any application, make sure your computer can run it. The minimum hardware and software requirements are printed on the outside of every software package.
Look for the following information:
Computer type Typically, you can’t run a Macintosh application on an IBM-compatible computer. Make sure the application is for an IBM or compatible computer.
Operating system Try to find applications that are designed specifically for the operating system you use: Windows 95, Windows 3.1, or DOS. Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 are both capable of running DOS programs, but Windows 3.1 cannot run Windows 95 programs, and DOS cannot run any Windows programs.
CPU requirements CPU stands for central processing unit. This is the brain of the computer. If the application requires at least a 486 chip, and you have a 386 chip, your computer won’t be able to run the application effectively. The name or num¬ber of the chip inside your computer should appear on the front of your system unit. (Note: a Pentium is a step up from a 486.)

Type of monitor Here are the monitor types from worst to best:
 CGA (Color Graphics Adapter)
 EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter)
 VGA (Video Graphics Array)
 SVGA (Super VGA)
If an application requires a VGA monitor, and you have an SVGA, no problem. If the application requires an SVGA and you have VGA, EGA, or CGA, you will have problems.
Mouse If you use Windows (3.1 or 95), you need a mouse (or some other pointing device). A standard, Microsoft two-button mouse is sufficient. Some mice come with three buttons, but you rarely use the middle button. Instead of a mouse, you can use a trackball, which is sort of like an upside-down mouse; you roll a ball to move the mouse pointer, and then you click a button. Many laptop and notebook computers have built-in pointing devices, which serve the same function as a mouse.
Joystick Although most computer games allow you to use your keyboard, games are usually 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 makes it easier to install, 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 on running any cool games, using a multimedia encyclopedia, or even exploring 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 may not be able to run the application or the application may cause the computer to crash (freeze up).
Hard disk requirements Before using most applications, you must install (copy) the program files from the floppy disks or CD-ROM you bought to your hard disk. Make sure you have enough space on your hard disk to accommodate the new application. Later in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to check computer disk space.
Don’t be concerned if some of the requirements described here are not shown on the application box. Here is an example of the computer requirements for the CD version of Microsoft Publisher (Microsoft’s desktop publishing application):
 Personal computer with a 386DX or higher processor (486 recommended)
 Microsoft Windows 95 operating system or Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51 or later; please note product does not run on Windows version 3.1 or earlier
 6MB of memory for Windows 95 (8MB recommended); 12 MB memory for Windows NT Workstation
 Hard-disk space required: 6 MB minimum, 32 MB maximum
 One CD-ROM disk drive
 VGA or 8514/A graphics card or compatible video graphics adapter and monitor (Super VGA 256-color recommended)
 Microsoft mouse or compatible pointing device

How Crowded Is Your Hard Disk?
As you install more applications, your hard disk becomes more and more crowded. It may not contain enough free space to store another application. There are several ways to find out how much free space you have on your hard disk.
If you have DOS 6.0 or later, you can get all the information you need from Microsoft Diagnostics. Here’s what you do:
1. Display the DOS prompt. In Windows 95, you can go to DOS by selecting Start, Programs, MS-DOS Prompt. In Windows 3.1, double-click the MS-DOS Prompt icon in the Main program group.
2. Type msd and press Enter. Microsoft Diagnostics appears on-screen.
3. To find out more about a specific system element, click the desired button or type the highlighted letter in its name. The following screen shows what I got by clicking the Disk Drives button.
In addition to the amount of disk space that’s available, Microsoft Diagnostics shows you the type of CPU your computer has, the amount of memory, and the version of DOS you’re using.
If you don’t have Microsoft Diagnostics (or even if you do), there are other ways to check your hard disk space:
 In Windows 95: Click the Start button, point to Programs, and click Windows Explorer. Change to the drive on which you want to install the application (usually drive C). The amount of free disk space appears in the status bar at the bottom of the Windows Explorer window.
 In Windows 3.1: Run File Manager. Click the drive for which you want to check the space. In the lower left corner of the window, File Manager displays the amount of free disk space.
 In DOS: At the DOS prompt, change to the disk drive you want to check. Type chkdsk and press Enter. DOS displays information about your disk drive, including total disk space and free disk space.
Disk space is given in bytes. To convert bytes to megabytes (1million bytes), add commas to the number. For example, if DOS says there are 40456798 bytes, add commas to make the number look like this: 40,456,798. The disk has 40 million bytes – about 40 megabytes.

Free Space. Not Total Space
A hard disk is a lot like a house: it seems big until you move in. When looking at the amount of disk space, make sure you look at the Free Space not the Total Space. Half your disk space may already be occupied.
Much Memory Does Your Computer Have?
You’re not sure how much memory (RAM) your computer has, there are a few ways to id out:
 Watch your monitor when you turn on your computer. Whenever a computer starts, it checks its memory and displays the amount of memory in the upper left corner of the screen.
 If you have Windows 95, double-click the My Computer icon on the Windows desktop, double-click the Control Panel and the System icon. In the System Properties dialog box that appears (see the next figure), click the Performance tab. In the Performance status area, look at how much total memory is installed in your computer.
 If all else fails, you can check the memory at the DOS prompt. At the DOS prompt, type mem and press Enter. DOS displays the amount of memory installed in your computer.

Memory Types
Most new computers use three types of memory: conventional, extended, and virtual. Conventional memory is what most applications use; it is the first 640 kilobytes of memory. Extended memory consists of additional RAM chips. Windows has a built-in memory-management system that makes this memory available to Windows applications. Virtual memory is disk space that Windows can use as memory. However, because a disk drive transfers information more slowly than RAM transfers information, virtual memory is very slow.

Installing Your Brand New Application
Although “installing an application” sounds about as complicated as installing central air conditioning, it’s more like installing a toaster. Most applications come with an installation program (called setup or install) that does everything for you. You just relax, eat donuts, swap disks in and out of a drive, and answer a few questions along the way.

Before You Install the Application
Back in the old days, when people still ran applications from floppy disks, the standard advice was to write-protect your new program disks, make copies of them, and use the copies to run the application. With the advent of hard disks and CD-ROM drives, this advice has pretty much outlived its usefulness. Nowadays, you either get the application on a CD (which you can’t erase by mistake), or you install the application on your hard disk and never use the original floppy disks again. My advice? Don’t worry about write-protecting and copying disks.

The procedure for installing an application varies, depending on whether you’re installing the application in Windows 95, Windows 3.1, or DOS. The following sections lead you through the procedure for each of these operating systems. However, the procedure for installing from floppy disks and CDs doesn’t differ all that much. The only difference is that with a CD, you won’t have to swap discs in and out of the CD-ROM drive, so it’s much faster.

Adding Programs in Windows 95
Windows 95 has an Add/Remove Programs wizard that can lead you step-by-step through the process of installing any Windows or DOS application (assuming that the application comes with a Setup or Install utility). To run the wizard and install a program in Win¬dows 95, take the following steps:
1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and click Control Panel. The Control Panel window appears.
2. Double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon. The Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box appears.
3. Click the Install button. This starts the wizard. A dialog box appears, telling you to insert the first floppy disk or the CD.
4. Insert the floppy disk or CD as instructed, and then click the Next button. Windows searches the floppy disk or CD for a file called SETUP.EXE or INSTALL.EXE, and displays the file’s name in the next dialog box.
5. Click the Finish button. Windows starts the installation program. Follow the on¬screen instructions to complete the process.
CD-ROM Installations
When you install an application that comes on CD-ROM, the installation program usually gives you the option of installing the entire application or installing only the startup files. By installing only the startup files, you use little space on your hard disk (typically one to two mega¬bytes), and the application runs from the CD-ROM.

Installing a Windows 3.1 Application
Unlike Windows 95, Windows 3.1 isn’t going to poke around on the program disks or CD to find the Setup or Install utility. You have to find it yourself. However, the process is not a major challenge. Just take the following steps:
1. Insert the first floppy disk of the set (it’s clearly marked), or insert the application’s CD into the appropriate drive.
2. In Program Manager, open the File menu and select Run. The Run dialog box appears, prompting you to type the command you want to run.
3. Click the Browse button. The Browse dialog box appears, showing the folders on the current disk drive.
4. Open the Drives drop-down list, and click the letter of the drive that contains the floppy disk or CD. The Filename list displays the names of all the files you can run.
5. Click the Setup or Install file, or a file that has a similar name, and click the OK button. This returns you to the Run dialog box and inserts the selected file name in the Command Line text box.
6. Click OK. Windows starts the Setup or Install utility. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
Setting Up Ancient DOS Applications
Windows 3.1 helps you install applications. Windows 95 provides even more help. But DOS expects you to know what you’re doing. If you’re holding out with DOS, then take the following steps to install a DOS application:
1. Insert program disk 1 in drive A or B.
2. Make sure the DOS prompt is displayed. It looks something like C:>.
3. Type a: or b: and press Enter to change to the drive that has the disk in it.
4. Type dir /w and press Enter. DOS displays a list of files.
5. Look for a file named SETUP or INSTALL that has a three-letter extension such as .BAT, .COM, or .EXE.
6. Type the file name that looks promising (you don’t have to type the period or three-letter extension).
7. Press Enter.
8. If nothing happens, try steps 4-7 again, but type a different file name in step 6.
9. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Registering Your Application
Once you have installed your application, you should register it. I know, you want to play with the application first, but if you do that, you’ll never get around to registering the application, so do it now.
Why should you register? There are several reasons. By registering, you let the manufacturer know that you have a legal copy of the application (not a copy you pirated off of Uncle Fred). If you run into trouble later, the manufacturer will know that you paid for the application and will be more likely to help you solve the problem (assuming you can get through to their tech support department). In addition, if the manufacturer develops a newer version of the application, registered users can usually acquire the application at a reduced price.

Getting Your Application Up and Running
So here’s a quick review of how to run your applications from various operating systems:
In Windows 95, if you installed a Windows application, an icon is added to the Start, Programs menu. Click the Start button, move the mouse pointer over Programs, and click the name of the application you want to run. If you’re running a CD-ROM program, you may have to insert the application’s CD into the CD-ROM drive before attempting to run the program.
If you installed a DOS application, no icon is added to the Programs menu. To run the DOS application, click the Start button, and then click Run to display the Run dialog box. Click the Browse button to display the Browse dialog box that shows the folders on the current drive. Change to the drive and folder where the application’s files are stored. Click the name of the file that runs the application, click Open, and then click the OK button in the Run dialog box.
In Windows 3.1, open the program-group window that contains the application’s icon, and then double-click the application’s icon.
From the DOS prompt, change to the drive and directory that contains the application’s files, type the command that runs the application, and press Enter.

Register by Modem
Many software companies now allow you to register your new applications via modem. Typically, after you install the application, a dialog box pops up on your screen, asking if you want to register via modem. You select Yes, and then follow the on-screen instructions. The application takes care of the rest (dialing the phone, sending the information, and so on).

Add DOS Applications to the Start Menu
You can add your DOS application to the Windows 95 Start menu. Open the Start menu, point to Settings, and click Taskbar. Click the Start Menu Programs tab, and then click the Add button. Follow the on-screen instructions to add the application to the Programs menu.

Executable Files
If you can’t remember the command for running the application, look for a file whose name ends in .BAT, .COM, or .EXE. These are the files that start applications. In Windows, you can run the file by double-clicking it in File Manager or Windows Explorer. Or, start the file at the DOS prompt by typing its name (the part before the period), and pressing Enter.

Meeting Your Application for the First Time
After you run (start) the application, it may take a while for the computer to read the application from disk and load it into RAM. How fast the application loads depends on the speed of your computer and the complexity of the application. When the application is loaded, you’ll see a main menu, a pull-down menu bar, or a blank work area. In any case, this is the screen on which you will start working.
In any application, you need to know how to save your work (in a file), close and open files, and print your creations. The procedures are fairly similar in any application.

Help! Finding Your Way Out of Software Oblivion
When you’re using an application and you get in a jam, you can often get the help you need from the applica¬tion itself. Most applications offer two forms of help: context-sensitive help and a help index. Context-sensitive help provides information about the screen you’re currently working on. The application knows the task you’re trying to perform, so when you ask for help, the application offers the information it thinks you need. A help index, on the other hand, lets you choose a help topic from a list of topics.
F1, Universal Help Key
When in doubt, try pressing the Fl key. Many applications use this key to display context-sensitive help. With a good context-sensitive Help system, you can usually get by without the documentation. But don’t tell anyone I said so.

The Least You Need To Know
So much for application basic training. Try to remember these survival skills for your future forays into the application jungle.
 Read the box before you buy the application.
 Know your computer. If you have DOS 6.0 or later, type msd at the DOS prompt, and press Enter to learn about your computer.
 Most applications come with an installation utility that installs the application for you. This application creates the required directory on the hard disk, and copies the program files to the directory. The installation application may also decompress the files if they are in a compressed format.
 To run a DOS application, type the command required to start the application, and then press Enter.
 To run a Windows application, double-click the application’s icon.
 Many applications come with a context-sensitive Help system that provides information for the task you are currently trying to perform. (When in doubt, try pressing Fl for help.)

To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

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