I know that feeling you get when you just get home with that new game or program, you just can’t wait to load it up and get it running. But before you do there are a few things you should do both before and after your installation to make sure everything goes by the numbers.
Getting new software, games or anything else, can be a great time for doing a little routine maintenance on your computer as well as loading that program. For any program that is more than just a couple of megabytes it should be a time to update drivers and check for malware and virus’. There are somethings you should actually do before you even purchase that game or software as a matter of fact.
First you should check the Internet and make sure your system meets the minimum system requirements for the program. If your system is lower than what that program or game calls for you may need to do some upgrading or even not purchase that program. The box of the software will have the system requirements or you can look on the web site for the company to check and make sure. If you don’t know your systems requirements on a Windows XP system check on your help and support page and click on Hardware on the list there. Then go to Tools, then My Computer Information and check under both the General System Information and Find Information About The Hardware Installed On This Computer. If your on an older system you can use your Programs under the Start on your Task bar, then to Accessories and then System Information. You will find a list of the components and some things like memory, disk drive space and what hardware your computer has. Make sure you have the minimum for the program your thinking of purchasing.
Another thing you may want to do before purchasing is check any forums for that software to see if there’s any problems with it. I have gotten video games and other programs that did not work very well, okay some I have gotten from my job of video game reviewing so I haven’t paid for them. But you may want to check and see if there is a lot of people complaining about the software, whether it’s a game or some program for your computer. Just go to a search engine like Google and type in the title of the software and the word forum, a list of active forums should come up and you can browse to see if anybody is having any technical issues with the game or program. Forums for software will usually have a technical or problem section for people to look and discuss the problems they may be having with a program.
If the software is having a lot of problems with errors and there is no solutions to these problems you may want to steer clear of it. You can also check out sites like Epinions.com and CNET.com to see what others think of the software or game.
When you get that new program you should make sure you have a good clean system before installing it. Run your anti virus software and check your full system for any viruses, you should also check for spyware and malware. Whatever program your using for your Internet safety should have both anti virus and anti spyware. Many programs will have a hard time installing with some spyware or viruses on your system. This is also a good time to do some general cleaning to make sure you are using your computer to it’s fullest potential. If you have a cleaning program clean out your temporary files and any unnecessary programs from your computer. After we install your new computer we will be performing what is called a disk defragment. This is a good time to get rid of stuff we don’t need and when we run the defrag it will run quicker without extra stuff in your temp files, recycle bin and those unused programs.
Before we install our new program or game, you should create a restore point on your help and support page in case something goes wrong so you can restore your system to the time before you added the program. This way you have a known good point, all that cleaning for viruses and spyware, and you can go back to that point if something happens during or after the installation. Once you have created a restore point in your help and support section your ready to install.
Read the stuff that comes with the program and visit the website for the software. Do not just stick it in and hope it will tell you what to do. Some programs require you to turn off virus scanners or other programs before installing their software. Others warn you about important updates or like the case of my new mouse that I reviewed for a gaming web site, I didn’t even need the software. I used the new and updated drivers from their web site. So read the information or instructions that come with the software and check their website for important information like patches or updates or things to do before installing their software.
You should always shut down any programs and stop anything from running or playing like screen savers or music you might have running while your installing a program. These extra things may mess up the install and this is one of those times when you only want to be doing one job at a time.
If you do need to install something with your anti virus disabled most often what you need to do is go into the program from your programs menu or click on the icon for the program and actually tell the program to turn off. In the case of Trend Micro’s 2006 Internet Security Suite you right click the Icon in your system tray and exit the program. It will ask to make sure you want to do this and then tell you that it is disabled and to turn it back on you just click on the programs main console run icon for it or simply restart your computer. If you do need to turn off your anti virus I recommend you physically disconnect your Internet connection from your computer. Even if you do not turn on your Internet connection you may get something if your using a DSL line. On a DSL line your Internet is always hooked up and ready to use so things can get onto your computer even if the Internet Explorer or other browser is not open. I have seen viruses and other malware come onto the computer even when not using the browser. So just unhook the cable going to the computer so the Internet is actually unhooked while you install the software.
Follow the directions for installing the software and check the site for any updates or patches for the software. Many times things that go wrong in a program are very easy to fix and the company knows about them, they often update programs so check and see if there are any patches or updates to fix any issues that new software might have.
Once you have installed the software and ensure it works it is a good idea to perform what is known as a disk defragment. Over time the programs and files that are stored on a disk drives disk will become fragmented. This happens because when you first install the main operating system to a disk in occupies one section of the drive. Then when programs and other files are loaded onto the drive the disk manager does not put them all in a nice neat and orderly fashion. Deleted things creates holes and the manager fills these holes with parts of programs or files. Over time the more things you add and delete the more your drive will become fragmented. Programs that need to move from one section of the drive to another to load an entire program will slow down due to the increase in size when programs are located on different parts of the disk. The disk manager program does not load all programs orderly so some programs will be in sections when it is first loaded. After you load something as a matter of routine you should defragment the drive to make the programs reload into their own section in a nice neat and orderly fashion. The defragment program will load all the programs and different things on the drive and make them very neat and orderly. Each program will be loaded into one section and the main operating system will be loaded into it’s own section.
Run the defragment program, it is located on the properties page of the drive C or main drives page. Double click on My Computer and then right click on the C drive or your main drive. On the Tools page is the Defragment as well as some other tools for your computer. If the defragment does not run some things you may have to do is turn off any running programs or run the error check on the disk. Some times errors will prevent the defrag from running and need to be fixed. If you have any problems with any of these the help section will have links to Microsoft’s help section for any errors or problems along with help on how to run them.
Once the drive is defragmented your programs will run better and with less errors. Sometimes errors occur in programs due to fragmentation. You can buy programs that will automatically defrag your drive on a schedule or while the computer is not busy doing anything else. These programs will cost you but can be worth the cost for the value of keeping your drive and computer in top working condition. See CNET.com for reviews on these programs, look under the System Utilities section or search using the word defragmenter. These programs are handy to use but not necessary, justify the cost if you like to have a program easily do the work for you but I just use windows built in version for a handy a free defragmenter.
After you run defragmenter you will also want to create another restore point for you to be able to restore to the time after you loaded the program. This way you have the before and after points in time to restore your system to if you have problems. And speaking of problems, if your computer acts up after installing a program the first thing you should try is uninstalling the program and reinstalling it. Sometimes when you install something, even though you turned everything off not necessary during the install, it could have loaded badly and just needs to reinstalled. I have found sometimes programs and drivers have to be installed a second time due to some problem loading. Think of all that information that is getting loaded, games are about 1-3 Gigabytes, thats 1 to 3 thousand million bits of information loading onto your disk drive. One little bit out of place or missing and the program could crash or not work properly.
Before and after installing and loading new programs, software or games can be a great time to do some routine maintenance that will make loading that program work better and easier. It will also ensure a better system for using that program and create an opportunity to do maintenance that you may not ordinarily do. This is a good time to clean up and make your system run like new again.