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Quailed At The Thought Of Downloading from the Internet?

By Pam Hahn
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004

For those of you PC or Mac users that have quailed at the thought of "downloading" files or software onto your computers, be not afraid. It isn't as difficult or dangerous as you might think.

There is a wealth of free stuff available on the Internet for you to use on your computer. The easiest files to download, or save off the Internet onto your computer's hard drive, are graphics files. Let's say you see a really cute picture on a site that you'd like to have appear as the wallpaper on your desktop screen.

For PC users, all you have to do is click on the desired image, using the button on the right side of your mouse. Hold it down, and slide the cursor in the box that pops up until it selects the words "Set as Wallpaper," then release the button. That's all there is to it.

Mac users can save an image to their hard drive by clicking and holding the mouse button, sliding the cursor until it selects "Save this Image as..." then release the button. Select a
designated folder to save the image to, then go to the Control Panels, located under the apple in the top left corner. Choose Appearance in the Control Panels, and select the tab called Desktop. If there is already a picture in place, click on Remove Picture. Then click on Place Picture. Find your image from where you saved it, select it, then click on Set Desktop.

Downloading software can be a bit trickier, but if you walk through it carefully, you shouldn't have any trouble. Most software download procedures will offer you the option to choose where you want the program to be saved on your computer. Again, it's a good idea to designate a special "Downloads" folder ahead of time for this purpose. That way, you'll know where to find the file when you want to look for it again, which you'll need to do in order to actually install the software.

One of the best places I've found to locate a variety of useful free programs is the Netscape Netcenter (http: // Once there, look for the round green button at the top of the page with the arrow in it and the word "Download" below it. Click on the button. The following page will show what programs are available.

If your browser is normally Netscape, this is a good opportunity to make sure you are using the most current version of Netscape. If you are, the screen will tell you that. If you aren't up to date with Netscape, or just want to see what else is there, scroll down a bit and click on the underlined words "SmartUpdate."

On the following screen, click next to the big number one to see the options of software programs to download. Just click on the ones you want, and keep clicking on Next Category until you get to the end. Click next to the programs you want to download, and follow instructions carefully. After the software is downloaded, you'll need to find the file (in your Downloads folder, I hope) and launch the Install file.

Be forewarned that the installation process may take a good bit of time, so don't start this process if you can't wait it out. If it takes a long time, your Internet connection could be terminated, so it's a good idea to stay nearby in case a message comes up asking you if it's OK to terminate. It isn't OK, as your installation will be interrupted, and will fail. You may be asked to restart after the installation is complete, and this is always a good idea.

If you've followed all instructions carefully, you should be the proud owner of new software. Look for video and audio programs, such as QuickTime and WinAmp for some free entertainment on your computer. And remember, if you don't like it or it doesn't work as you'd like it to, you can always throw it away.

Happy downloading!

About the Author
Pam Hahn is the General Manager of, the premier site for active seniors. If you have questions, or would like to make comments about this article you may contact Pam at or visit the site at (


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