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In today's day and age, computers have become a part and parcel of our lives. We can find them everywhere around us. They have a variety of significant and important applications in several different fields, including industries, agriculture, research, medicine, etc.

For most of us however, the term computer signifies the PCs that we use at our homes and offices. We use them to watch movies, listen to songs, play games, make work-related documents, etc. It is really impossible to carry on our daily lives, both at our homes and our workplaces, without computers.

Since we use computers so extensively, it is necessary that we have some understanding about at least the installation of its basic components, namely the hardware and software. This knowledge can prove to be vital, especially when we wish to upgrade our PCs.

In the very basic sense, computer software constitutes the programs that run in it, while hardware constitutes the monitor, keyboard, and all the other peripheral devices that are connected to it. Both these components are essential for the working of any computer system.

In the following sections, we give you an overview of the generic procedure for the installation of both, the software and the hardware in your computer.

Computer Software Installation

The operating system of your computer is an important factor to be considered when you install any software. It is the base program, which is designed to manage the hardware and software resources in your computer.

Before you install a software, the first important step is to check the configuration of your computer, and the system requirements of the software. The configuration of your computer must match the requirements of the software to be installed.

Sometimes, the software to be installed is compressed in a .RAR or .ZIP file. In these cases, before installation, you have to uncompress these files and folders. For doing this it is essential that you have a decompression software application installed on your computer.

Every computer software comes with a 'Read me' file. This 'Read me' file contains all the instructions that are required for running the installation procedure. Sometimes, when you install a software, it may ask you to install another program that is required for the proper execution of the software. The computer may even prompt you to install the supporting software after you complete the installation.

Before you install any software program, it is advisable to close all other programs and utilities. Some Antivirus software applications may require you to turn off the firewall and disable the Antivirus in order to install it. Especially when installing software applications related to computer networking or web browsing, it is recommended that you disable the Antivirus and the firewall before proceeding. Finally, to complete the installation, you may require to restart your system.

Computer Hardware Installation

With advancing technology, the computer peripherals are frequently upgraded, and many newer and better ones are made available each day. To install one or more of them to your existing system, you need to first unplug all the power cords of your computer that are connected to the mains, before moving on to connecting the hardware.

The hardware package may include an accompanying CD that contains the software which will help your computer's OS in recognizing the new hardware. Install this software before you connect the hardware to the computer, which must be restarted after a CD installation is complete. There are two different types of computer hardware. They are as follows:

External Hardware
The external hardware involves all the peripherals that are connected to the desktop computer externally, via various ports. These are the USB, serial and parallel port, Firewire, Bluetooth, PS/2 and PC card. The external hardware installation can be done by a lay user, even without much knowledge of computers. They can be connected to the computer directly once it is switched off.

Internal Hardware
The internal hardware is a bit complicated and requires some basic knowledge about the computer internals. The CPU cabinet has to be opened by removing the side panels. Then you are required to identify the slot in which you have to plug your hardware. After that, you have to plug in the hardware that is to be installed and ensure that it has fit properly into its slot.

Once the hardware is installed, the side panel and the screws need to be replaced into their original places, and all the wires have to be connected to their respective slots. The power cord can then be plugged back into the mains and the computer can be switched on.

Most computer software and hardware installation can easily be carried out with the help of some basic knowledge of computers. If an installation procedure seems too complicated, you should ask a professional to install or help you with it.