What happens when a program is installed?

0 votes
asked Aug 16, 2010 by SJP (4,601 points)
I have always wondered..why cant we just download the .exe file for a application and run  it...why must we go through the installation process? Whats does the installation proccess do? is it different on a mac or linux?

4 Answers

0 votes
answered Aug 16, 2010 by airwolf (7,980 points)
Some of the .exe files contains a virus and sometimes they can do some damage to your computer. If we download the installation file, you are installing in a correct way including registering your application in your registry. That will prevent any mistakes from happening. If there's an application that stands alone, then you are likely risking your computer in getting a virus.
0 votes
answered Aug 16, 2010 by Tim Fontana (16,355 points)
because a lot of programs have more than one file required to run, images, scripts and things. look in the program files for a game, you have all the cars or weapons in files that only the game knows how to read, and also it registers to the registry. if you put the cs5 program files on a flash drive and run it on another computer, it wont open.
and also, to stop piracy to some extent
0 votes
answered Aug 16, 2010 by markd12 (3,581 points)
the .exe places relative files, folders and registry keys in the appropriate places for the program to run.
+1 vote
answered Aug 16, 2010 by edgy (2,099 points)
When you go ahead and download an installer it has a load of important files, such as icons, libraries, sounds, etc. When you run it, it will go ahead and extract all these files from one .exe or .msi installer file and allow the files packaged up inside to be static files the program can access.

You may also find if you're on Windows (not 100% sure about what happens on Mac and Linux) some programs install registry keys which store bits of information, for example this could be the colour code you want the background of the application to be.

Running big programs from a .exe would be slow as when an application wanted to access a file (such as an icon) it would have to extract it and load it. Instead when you install, all of the files are ready to load straight away on your PC.