Downloading (Free Stuff)
What is downloading?
It's the way you transfer information from someone else's computer to your computer so you can use it later. And when we say information, we're talking about anything from words to pictures to sound to computer programs. It's easy and it's free. Usually.
Say you come across a Web page that includes information you'd like to use later, when you've logged off the Internet. What do you do? Well, lucky for you, most browsers let you download that information as pure text -- no graphics or pictures -- and store it on your computer's hard drive. The process you have to go through differs from browser to browser. If you want detailed instructions, just click on the name of the browser you use.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
TIP! A fast and easy way to save text is to simply highlight it with your mouse, copy it, and then paste it into a word processor.
What's true for words is true for pictures. Most Web pages contain some kind of images. Sometimes they're pictures. Sometimes they're graphics. And if you want to gaze upon them later you can download them. For instructions, follow the links below.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Many Web pages contain links that let you download sound clips. All you need to do is click. But you won't be able to listen to sounds unless you have the proper helper application or plug-in. Many browsers come equipped with everything you'll need to listen to the sounds you download, but some don't. If you think you might need some help in this regard, check out our help section on Plug-ins.
Like sound, like video. Many Web pages make downloading video clips as easy clicking on a link. But again, you can't watch the pictures move with the proper helper application or plug-in. If you're having trouble playing back the video you've downloaded, you may want to read our help section on Plug-ins.
Downloading Files on Macintosh
You can download all sorts of applications and plug-ins that'll help you enjoy everything the Web has to offer. We've provided links to some of them in our Plug-ins section. Be prepared, though. Most software files are compressed so they can be downloaded more quickly. That means you need to make sure you have an application that can decompress those other applications. For more information on that, click on one of the following links.
Downloading Files on Windows
Is all of this stuff really free for the taking?
Most of it is, but not all of it. You can probably download all the text, images, sound and video that you want, free of charge. Software is another story. The computer programs that you download from the Internet come in two forms: freeware and shareware. Freeware, as you no doubt guessed, is free. With shareware, you have to pay the author if you use the program. You can be confident that the people who make the software available will let you know if any money is expected to change hands.
Can I download anything I want?
Yes. But what you do with it after you've downloaded it is another question. Governments around the world are wrestling with a host of legal issues involving the Internet and the World Wide Web. Say you download a photograph from someone else's Web page. What can you legally do with it? Chances are it's protected by copyright law. And that means you might want to be very careful. If you're looking for guidance on your rights and the rights of others on the Internet, you might want to check out the Weblaw Page. Disclaimer: Neither that page nor this one constitute legal advice.
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