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by Ray DeCosta

Q. A program that I downloaded came to me as a ZIP file. What do I do now to install and run the program?

A. A ZIP file is a common way of bundling different files and folders together so they don't get misplaced either during the downloading process or when you move them around on your computer. They are also used to compress the material so it won't take so long to download. In either event, it's pretty simple to manipulate the files so you can install and/or run the program. In fact, the mechanism for doing so is already on your computer and it's called the "Extraction Wizard".

The recently acquired material will be placed in your usual Downloads folder with a tile such as "My New Program.ZIP". It will usually contain several different folders and files depending on the size and complexity of the original material.

First, right-click the folder and select "Extract All". Click "Next" when the Extraction Wizard appears. It will suggest a folder into which it will extract the downloaded files. In order to not lose the extracted files, it's best to not relocate the folder at this time. Click "Next" and when the following screen appears, make sure the "Show extracted files" box is checked. Then click "Finish".

What happens next depends on the program you have downloaded so you need to inspect the folder which appears in the new window. There may be a "Read Me.TXT" file which will contain helpful information. Usually there will be an EXE file that comprises the program and this file should be run at this time by clicking it. However, you should not do this unless you know and trust the provider of this program. If you have requested this program from a known source you may safely proceed. Otherwise, be very careful - malware is often provided in the form of EXE files.

For your protection, you may get a security warning each time you run the program. If this annoys you, right-click the EXE file, select "Properties", select the "General" tab and click "Unblock." The EXE file will run immediately the next time you run it.

Published: Courier 10/13/13 - Page 3C