Installing Applications, A Noobs Guide 9


Installing Applications, A Noobs Guide


Every so often I will publish a newbies tip or trick for people that are new to the Mac operating system. As Mac’s are getting more popular I feel that basic newbie tips will be a great help. These will sort of tips will range from nearly everything. This first tip will be about installing applications. With anyone who is a switcher from a Windows machine this can be an interesting experience. Many newbies, you may not believe it, do not know how to install an applications, I was one of them for a short time. Hopefully this guide will explain all.

There are three ways to install an application. From a disk image, zip (or similar) or from a custom installer. Each method is very similar although there are slight differences. All usually involve one method, drag and drop.

All applications are usually installed in one place. The Applications folder. This is the main source for all your applications. It is similar to Program Files on a Windows machine. You can run an application from any folder, but Applications is a more convenient and easy to organise your apps.

Disk Images/Folders

The main way your find applications on the internet is through a disk image. A disk images is similar to small disk you would normally put in a CD drive. When you find a .dmg file you double click on it and you would be presented with an interface similar to the image below. Usually they contain the application, a shortcut to Applications and optionally some supporting materials. To make things more interesting there is usually an image to brighten up your day, although this is not present in the screen shot below.

To install an application you drag the application (on the left above) and drop it on the shortcut to Applications. It will then copy it across and you are done. No funky installer and usually it is installed in a matter of seconds.

You can then unmount the disk image and delete it if you are finished with the image. You can then run the program. On a first run you will be presented with a warning message about the application. This is a new addition to the Leopard build. It is a small bit of protection to warn you in case it is something malicious.

Zip files and folders which you download on the net or very similar expect you don’t get a special shortcut within the image, you have to drag it in a Finder window.


Sometimes an application has to have an installer to enable you to install the app. This applications usually need to put some files into secure places on the system or files in places other than the Applications folder. This once again is very simple. You open the disk image, double click the installer file and read through the screens. Most of the time your will have to agree to a terms of use message.

Every so often an installer or application will vary from the norm. But usually there are instructions. Its simple and very easy to do. Most of the time your can be running the application within a couple of seconds from downloading and opening the disk image. Any questions leave a comment below.

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