Some background: everyone who surfs the web downloads files. I get plenty of people saying “but I don’t download anything, I just do email and surf the net”. Each webpage and each email is a file downloaded onto your computer. If you disconnect from the web the email is still there and so is an open webpage visible in your browser: they’ve all been downloaded. However, there are downloads and there are downloads. If you want to download a file and install it or download a video file to view, or some music, these are all file downloads that you do something with rather than automatic downloads that your email or browser do for you.
Lets look at a typical process to download and install some software, in this case Google Earth. Other software downloads have the same process even if they look a little different. There are 4 steps: 1. Download the software 2. Install the software 3. Delete the installer package 4. Open the application you have installed
1. First we go to the website at http://earth.google.com/ and click on the blue Download Google Earth 5 button:
It offers us an Agreement page. Not all software does this, sometimes the download just begins but sometimes as here you need to click to agree to a heap of conditions which no-one but lawyers reads, so in case of litigation the manufacturer is covered!
Click the Agree and Download button and the software installer will be downloaded into your Downloads folder which is inside your Home folder. (This is the folder with your name on it and an icon of a house. See The Finder Window for more info).
You locate the installer, called googleearth-chrome-bundle-intel.dmg and double click it. The .dmg identifies it as a Disk Image, a file type commonly used for installers. It will open into a Volume and mount on the Desktop of your computer. Mounted volumes can be seen on the left of a Finder Window and this one offers the Chrome browser as well as Google Earth (and a Web Plug-in which we’ll ignore):
2. We are finally at the Install part of the process! Different installers now do different things, in this case you need to drag the Google Earth.app across to the left and drop it on the Applications folder in the Sidebar. (All Applications go in here, all of them). While it copies a little Progress bar in blue will appear, which disappears when it’s done:
The software is now installed so all that remains is to:
3. Delete the Installer package. To do that we must first unmount the Volume with the Google Earth and Chrome applications in it. Just click the little Eject button at the right of the Google Earth volume in the Finder Window you have open:
It will disappear then you can go back to your Downloads folder and throw the googleearth-chrome-bundle-intel.dmg file into the Trash and empty the Trash.
Job done! Go to your Applications folder find Google Earth and double-click it to open it. After asking if you are sure you want to open it and to Accept and Install it will open.
Other Installers The other type of installer will open with an actual program that does the installing for you such as this Flash installer:
Again, eject the Volume and delete the installer as previously. Back to the top of the page