Whether you use Windows or macOS (or both), there’s certainly no shortage of top-quality software programs you can install and use – and we’ve covered many of them. However, in your excitement to get started with a new application, don’t rush through the installation process.
During this process, you’ll be asked some important questions about how you want the new application to behave on your system and how much leeway you’ll give it. The decisions you make here will affect the program as long as it is on your computer. So we don’t recommend that you just click on it Next one or OK repeatedly until you are done.
Here’s how to be more careful when installing new software on Windows and macOS, and some of the most common options to look out for.
How to access settings options
This is quite simple: the options you need will appear in the dialog boxes that appear when you start the installation process, which is usually done by running a file you downloaded from the Internet or from an app store.
However, keep in mind that important options may be hidden behind a More button or a Advanced knob. They aren’t necessarily visible, and some programs let you choose between an “express” installation and a “full” installation, so don’t just choose the quickest route because that’s the most convenient.
Pay attention to the options you are given during installation.
We’ve also seen software installation dialogs with labels like “accept default options”, and only when you disable this option do all available settings appear. Essentially, all you have to do is be careful, take your time and read everything that’s displayed on the screen.
This is actually a separate issue, but we also recommend that you read the terms and conditions that appear for new software in full: it will take a while, but you might be glad you did (and there are tools available to help you to understand them).
The most common installation options
Obviously, the options you see when you install a software program will vary from application to application, but these are the options you’ll see most often – and what you should consider before accepting them.
Installation location: Where on the system the application will live. You won’t need to change this often, but it’s worth double-checking, especially if you have multiple drives installed on your computer and want to keep your software and operating system separate.
Make standard: Many apps like to set themselves as the default program for web browsing, text editing, playing music, or whatever the program does. So make sure to disable this option if you want to keep the current default application. .
Only change default program links if you are sure you want to.
For example, if you change your default spreadsheet program, double-clicking your Excel files may no longer launch Excel, but something else. You can always change these default program associations yourself, whenever you want, on Windows or macOS.
Add shortcuts: Many programs like to add shortcuts to themselves on the desktop, Start menu, or wherever. You may want to wait and see how useful you find an app before doing so. If necessary, you can always do this yourself later.
System integration: Similar to shortcuts, but here we’re talking about adding options to the right-click menu in Windows or to the menu bar in macOS. Some programs want to burrow deep into your operating system, so be careful when agreeing to them.
Startup options: Software developers naturally want you to spend a lot of time on their programs, and sometimes they ask if their application can load itself into memory every time Windows or macOS starts up – another installation setting you should be careful with.
Many programs want to start automatically with your operating system.
If programs load automatically at startup, they are immediately available, but if too many applications do this, it can affect system performance. If you want to change this at a later time, you can do so via the settings in Windows or macOS.
Install additional software: This can be an important one, as some programs secretly try to install one or two additional applications during the installation process. Be very careful about agreeing to this unless you have done some research on the new app and are sure you need it.
You may also be offered trial versions of the software you install, such as three months free of the paid version of the program. If you click Yes without thinking, you may receive a surprise bill when the free trial ends.