On Computers

Installing Software

Jack 'daWabbit' Imsdahl, jack@oncomputers.info

13 June 2003

Okay; I know this is terribly basic. However, after my glowing recommendation of Adobe Acrobat Reader 6 for Windows, last week, I have received no less than four e-mails complaining of it not installing well. So, it seems a bit of tutoring is in order. Bear with me, please, and we'll go into best practices for installing this program and doing some maintenance at the same time.

First off

Though I spoke of 'upgrading' your Acrobat Reader, it is a full application and installing it over previous versions may not work well. In fact; this has been the problem with two of the four people who wrote me with their problems. As you are not endangering any configuration files or settings, it's best to uninstall the previous version before starting to install the new one. You will lose nothing by doing this.

Go to Control Panel, then double-click on "Add/Remove Programs", select and uninstall the currently installed version.

Now, before we go on to install the new application, let's mentally check a few things. Have you cleaned your registry lately? Now is a good time to do this as it will remove all the registry keys left behind by the previous Reader installation, as well as any other invalid keys. The product we at "On Computers" all use for this is called RegCleaner and freely available. The download is small and won't take more than a few minutes, even on a dialup connection. I'll give directions for using it later in this article. There is a link to the download on the "Joe's Jottings" page of this site.

Now that the previous version of the application is removed and the registry is cleansed, it's time to install. First, though, turn off your anti-virus program. This is not strictly necessary, but it will avoid potential problems. At least 99 times out of 100, you can get away with leaving the anti-virus running. It's that hundredth time that will teach you to religiously turn it off. Trust me on this. I've learned this lesson the hard way. Most AV programs can be turned off by right-clicking on the system tray icon (down by the clock) and choosing the appropriate option. If that doesn't work, there may be an entry in the program screen or on the Start menu entry to shut it down.

Now, double click on the file for Acrobat Reader 6 and follow the on-screen instructions. That's it!

This is a good time to run Disk Cleaner and defragment your hard drive, too. That's something you should be doing regularly.

To use RegCleaner

Once you've downloaded the file, turn off your anti-virus program (for the reasons stated above). Then double click the RegCleaner file and follow the on-screen instructions to install it. It's very simple.

Once RegCleaner is installed, start the application. We're going to run it on an automatic setting. RegCleaner is very conservative about what it removes when run this way and to my knowledge has not ever harmed a system by being used as I'm going to tell you about. I've run it a lot on many different systems without ever finding it has done any damage.

RegCleaner will present you with a screen of currently installed software. Ignore it. Messing around here manually can do damage if you are not well versed in registry manipulations and absolutely sure of what is and is not installed on the system. RegCleaner is a fantastic tool for registry manipulation and repair. However, this is not the time nor place to be going far into it's uses.

Go ahead and start the automatic processes. Under the "Tools" menu of RegCleaner, go to the "Registry Cleanup" entry and in the menu thus revealed, choose "Do Them All". RegCleaner will churn away for a couple minutes and present you with a list of entries it considers invalid. You can safely select all these and then use the "Remove Selected" button at the bottom of the window to take them out of the registry.

That's all there is to it. Close the application. Joe and I recommend you do this regularly, though it is not necessary to run this application as often as you defragment your hard drive, etc. An overly cluttered registry can and will slow a system, so you do need to clean things up occasionally; say every few months. I do it more often as I am forever installing and/or uninstalling software. (I often install and uninstall 10 applications per day!) Unless you do a great deal of installing and uninstalling, there's no need to do this too often.

As an aside, I have run RegCleaner on systems with so many invalid registry keys or entries that it has had to be run multiple times, just to get the crud out. On one system, I removed well over 300 entries on the first pass, 120 on the second and 30 on the third pass. The system performed so much better than it had been that the owner still thinks I am a magician!

As long as you know where "Joe's Jottings" are now, give it a read and find out more about routine maintenance on your computer. There are links to a lot of good utility programs there besides RegCleaner, too.


© 2003 Jack Imsdahl

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