Downloading is the actual copying of data files from an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server to your own computer. There are a number of sites which have numerous software titles available for you to download either as freeware or shareware.

Downloading software is an easy process, if you follow several basic steps:

1. Create a folder on your desktop which is specifically designated for the downloaded files.

For Windows 95/98/NT:

  • Right-click anywhere on the Windows desktop.
  • Select New/Folder from the pop-up menus.
  • A folder will appear on your desktop with its default name, New Folder, highlighted. Type the word Downloads over the old name and press Enter.
For a Macintosh:
  • In the Finder, select New Folder under the File menu.
  • An untitled folder will appear on your desktop. Type the word Downloads over the folder's current label, then click elsewhere on the desktop.

2. Find and download the software.

  • This can be accomplished quite easily by visiting the links listed below.

3. Uncompress the downloaded file. The majority of the files downloaded from the web are compressed to decrease the size of the files which in turn decreases the download time.

  • Files which have been downloaded will have extensions such as .sit, .zip, .hqx, .sea, and so on.
  • Stuffit Expander is available for both the Mac and the pc.

    The downloaded files can be decoded and decompressed with Stuffit Expander. Stuffit Expander is a utility for both the Macintosh and the pc which decodes and decompresses files of various types including Bin-Hex (files with the ".hqx" extension) and Stuffit (files with the ".sit" extension). A freeware version can be downloaded free of charge from Aladdin Systems.

To download Stuffit Expander for the Mac:

To download Stuffit Expander for the pc:

Note: Once you have the downloaded file in Downloads folder, double click on it. If it is a self-extracting file, it will open up and install without the use of a decompressing software. If you double click on it and nothing happens, you will need to download Stuffit Expander or one of the other following options:

4. Once the software is installed and working properly, delete the original compressed downloaded file.
Try it with me as I download a software program for the Mac from ZDNet Downloads:

1. Go to ZDNet Downloads.
2. Search for an "Interactive Periodic Table" download.
  • Type your subject in the Search For: box
  • Don't forget to click on the drop down menu to search for the appropriate software for your operating system.

3. Here are a few of the choices from the list of results:

Notice that most of the choices listed are shareware which have a cost involved with using them.

4. Choose the second title and click on Periodic Table 2.0 to find out more about this software.

5. After reading the system requirements, click on Download now.
6. The following dialog box will appear which indicates that the compressed file will be opened with Stuffit Expander.
7. Double click on the Downloads folder. When it opens up, you can see the original compressed file, period.hqx and a Periodic Table folder. Double click on the Periodic Table folder.
8.The Periodic Table folder will open up.

9. Double click on the item entitled Periodic Table 2.0.

10. A Periodic Table of Elements will open up.

11. Clicking on any of the element abbreviations will open a window which contains information about that particular element.

12. Clicking on the arrow in the lower right hand corner will take you back to the front page of the Periodic Table of Elements.


Note: The steps for downloading a specific software product may differ from the steps listed above.
Now that you know what downloading is, where do you find software to download? Visit the following links and do a search to find out what's available.

ZDNet Downloads


Jasc Software

Jumbo Big-Time Downloads

©2000-2002 April A. Cleveland for Science Junction, NC State University.
All rights reserved.
Last updated 02/26/02

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