17 April, 2010
After our last article on the sometimes hidden expense of software licensing heaps of people have asked the question – what software should I get with my PC and what do I need to keep? There is often a lot of junk material that comes with a new laptop & in particular with a new PC. Mostly this software can be lumped into three categories – operating system install files, driver files or application software. We have already covered operating systems such as Windows XP or the new Windows 7 in a previous article.
Driver files are a set of instructions or code written for a particular piece of hardware usually by the manufacturer to tell your PC (in this case your operating system) what the device is and how to communicate with it. Application software, also referred to as a software program will be written to help you achieve a certain task like word processing, accounting, photo editing, internet browsing or even playing computer games. What to keep? You should always get an operating system disk (or a restore disk) and if it is a windows operating system you will have a genuine Microsoft sticker already attached to your PC or laptop – don’t let your kids scratch this off as it contains a license code that can cost you a lot of money to replace if you need to reformat your PC.
Often you will get lots of driver disks – even for LCD screens, keyboards & mice, even driver disks for CD-ROM’s & certainly for printers, scanners, modem’s etc. Often your operating system already has its own drivers for the device and can recognise it properly already but if you do lose them the latest drivers can usually be downloaded from the internet and sometimes these are newer versions and work better anyway. It is the software disks that are the really important ones. You will have already paid for these and particularly if they have an installation key (also called – an unlock key, registration key or serial number) then they are important and need to be kept safe. Your disks may not have been visibly opened and people often worry about this – don’t, as your PC may have been installed from an image (like a manufacturers master disk) and the seemingly unused disks are there in case you ever have to reload the PC yourself.
If the disks – or even just a license sticker are for Microsoft Office, MYOB, QuickBooks, Adobe products, a virus scanner or something like AutoCAD then they are worth a fortune and need to be kept safe. If you have more than one PC then keep the disks separate & label them for each PC carefully. It may surprise you but many businesses will spend more money (often lots more) on their software licensing than they do on their actual computer hardware to run these programs. Also take note of any free software that turns up on an installation disk for a camera or scanner that you start using – it may be a really simple photo editor that you just love to use, so again label that disk in case you ever need to reinstall it. Kerr Solutions is at 128 Musgrave Street & is contactable on 49 222 400.