Today, almost all new software comes to your PC from one of three sources: a CD, your network, or the Internet.
In general, you can't use any of these programs without first installing them using a special program provided by the software company. Besides the obvious chore of transferring the software files to your hard drive, the installer also adds the new program's name to the Start→Programs menu, tells Windows about the kinds of files (filename extensions) it can open, transfers certain required files to special locations on your drive, and makes certain changes to the Registry (see page 405).
Before you begin the installation process for any software, take the following safeguards:
Exit any open programs. (One quick way: Right-click the buttons on the Taskbar, one at a time, and choose Close from the shortcut menu.)
Temporarily disable your virus-scanning software, which may foul up the installation process.
The CD you received from the software company is probably a self-starter; it offers the AutoPlay feature, which means that as soon as you put the CD into the CD-ROM drive, the installer launches.
If Autoplay is working, a few seconds after you insert the CD into your drive, your cursor becomes an hourglass. A few seconds later, the welcome screen for your new ...