Plug-ins are software add-ons that enhance the capabilities of
a web browser. A plugin may allow your web browser to watch Internet
movies and animation, hear sound and music, read special Adobe documents,
play online games, and do 3-D interaction. Software companies are
developing plug-ins at an astonishing rate, it is recommended to
always use the lastest versions.
||What Plug-ins should
| Although new plug-in software
is released every week, there are key, essential plug-ins and
add-on software that will serve you 99% of the time:
How do I know if I need a plug-in?
80% of the time, the plug-ins will find you! This means that most
web pages requiring plug-in software will alert you if the particular
plug-in is missing from your computer. The browser will then either
present you with a link to, or take you directly to the webpage
where the needed plug-in can be found and installed from.
If you have the most current version of the browser, some plug-ins
will be already built-in.
The "hard way" of finding the plug-ins is to manually
search for them via the search engines such as Google, MSN, Yahoo,
etc. In most cases you will not need to do that. Do be careful when
downloading plug-ins though. Some contain so-called "Spyware"
(which will be covered in a separate article) and can be detrimental
to your computer's health.
How do I install plug-ins?
When you visit a website that has some "extras" to present
to you, you will be informed that the browser needs you to install
You will then be given directions on what to do to complete the
installation. In most cases, these installations are very easy and
consist of you clicking on a button, or two. Typically, you might
be asked to accept the "license agreement", or click a
"Next" or an "OK" button once or twice, and
the installation will be underway.
Sometimes, however, you might be asked if you want to proceed with
the immediate installation, or save the installer file somewhere
on your computer, for installation at a later time. The recommended
course of action would be to save the file, especially if it is
rather large, and your connection is via 56K (or less) modem. The
most common place to save the installer file is on your Desktop;
it will be easy to find, you will only need it once, and you can
delete it afterwards. It is also a good idea to reboot the computer
after installing anything.