Installing shareware in easy steps

Shareware for computers can be fun and inexpensive. There are a number of shareware and freeware software collections you can access free via the Internet.

When transferring these programs to your home computer, you’ll find each site may have a slightly different procedure for downloading. Sometimes you have to click on a link to the software. Other times, a file starts loading automatically when you open the description page.

Installing software
Most programs are made up of multiple files that have to be installed on your computer. The two most common formats for Windows-based computers have extensions named .EXE or .ZIP.

If the file name of the program you are trying to download ends in .ZIP, the program is an archived or compressed file (or collection of files). The archive program removes repeated pieces of the program. The resulting file is smaller and therefore faster to download.

You need a program like WinZip to automatically re-assemble these programs as you install them on your computer.

Step by step
WinZip comes as a self-installing file with an .EXE extension.
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  • Before you begin this or any program installation, shut down all open programs you don’t need. 
  • Next, open your browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer)
  • Go to
  • Click on “Download 8.0 Evaluation program”
  • Then click on one of the download links
  • When the file starts to download, select “Run this program from its current location”
  • Follow the step-by-step prompts the program gives you.

Most other .EXE files can also be installed this way.

WinZip files

Once you install WinZip, you’ll find its icons on your desktop and start menu. These icons look like a yellow filing cabinet inside a vice-grip. Any file you download with the .ZIP extension will also have that same icon.

Click twice quickly (double-click) on a file with that icon, and you’ll be able to unzip the file.

Remember the name of the folder where you save your .ZIP files. Then click on:

  • Start
  • Programs
  • Accessories
  • And finally, Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer shows you the files on your computer. You can click on the menu on the left-hand side to open the folders with your computer’s files.

Once you have located your downloaded file, double-click on it, and WinZip will automatically open the archive so you can see what’s inside.