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To run or to save

Question : Sometimes when I want to download a program on my Windows XP computer, I'm asked if I want to Run or Save it. What is the difference, and why do one and not the other ?

Answer : Clicking on the Run button in the box downloads the file to the computer's Temporary Internet Files folder or another temporary location.

Once the file finishes downloading, Windows then automatically runs it, which can mean opening a shareware program or displaying a file on screen.

This sort of instant installation, while handy, can be a problem if the file is a piece of malicious software in disguise.

If you ever plan to reinstall a downloaded program that was first installed with the Run method, though, you may have to go get it again.

Because the Run command stashes the original download to a temporary folder, it could get deleted from the computer during a disk-cleaning session.

Clicking on the Save button, on the other hand, downloads the file to the computer but does not take that extra step of opening or installing it.

You get to decide in what folder to store the downloaded file so it does not get deleted -- but you also have to take the step of finding it and then manually running it.

Choosing to save the files may fill up your hard drive a little bit faster, but it also makes it easy to open and run the files again if you need to.

In the case of program installer files or others you want to keep, you can also archive them to disk or external drive to save space on the computer.


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