Difference between simply copying files and installing programs.

In order to start using a particular program on a PC, it may need to be copied to the hard disk or installed. In what cases is the first required and in what cases the second?

What is the installation of the program?

Applications running in Windows are executable files with the.exe extension, sometimes (mainly if they are outdated programs designed to run in DOS) - with the.com extension. As a rule, they are complemented by various libraries, scripts and scripts. They also correspond to special files. For example, those that are libraries have a.dll extension.

In addition, it often happens that the correct operation of the program is possible only if the existing files - executable or complementary to them - are used by the system in accordance with the settings specified in the Windows registry.

A complete installation of the program in the Windows operating system, therefore, is:

  • copying to the hard disk executable files of the application, as well as those that supplement them - libraries, scripts, scripts;
  • making entries in the Windows registry with the settings necessary for the correct launch of the program.

As a rule, the software installation, consisting of the two marked procedures, is carried out automatically using a special installer application supplied with the program. The user takes a very limited part in it. His actions usually boil down to confirming the software installation steps that are displayed on the screen.

It should be borne in mind that there is also a reverse procedure - uninstallation, or removal of the program from the computer. It is not only the erasure of files - executable and complementary to them. Information from the Windows registry is also deleted. This procedure is performed, in turn, by a specialized uninstaller application, which, like the installer, also comes with the program.

When can you get by with just copying files?

In certain cases, using the software in Windows is quite possible without a full-fledged installation. The fact is that some programs are able to run only through one executable file, and there are those that do not require certain settings in the operating system registry. In this case, software installation in Windows can be done by simply copying files from a source - for example, an archive downloaded from the Internet.

In turn, the deletion of the program, which is written to the hard disk without installation, is carried out by elementary erasure of its files.


The main difference between simple copying of files and installing programs is that during the first procedure no entries are made in the Windows registry. In the second case, the necessary information is entered into the corresponding section of the operating system by the installer application.

Having determined what is the difference between simply copying files and installing programs, we will record the conclusions in a small table.


Easy File Copy Software Installation
The executable file of the program (sometimes supplemented with libraries and other elements) is located on the hard disk of the PC, which can be launched without entering any information about this application into the Windows registryThe installer application is launched, copies the necessary files to the hard disk of the PC, as well as makes entries in the Windows registry, without which it is difficult or impossible to start the program
Removing the program from the PC is carried out by simply erasing files from the hard diskRemoval of the program from the PC is carried out by the uninstaller application