If you buy a hard copy,
at the very least, your PC game will come with one disc. Depending on whether it's CD or DVD technology, or if the size of the game in terms of megabytes or gigabytes
is quite large, there could be several discs. This is more common with CDs. If you're lucky, your game may also include a manual, however, these days, many do not. When installing software, it is usually best to first close down your anti-virus and firewall programs as these may interfere with the installation. In fact, it's also better to play with these off as well, as long as you are playing offline. Conversely, you could make an exception to the game in your anti-virus program and leave them on while playing as you may forget that it's off when you go online, which would be an invitation to catching a virus. (Guide To Making Exceptions)
Also, close any running programs such as your browser etc.
Open the tray
of your CD or DVD drive, insert the disc, label up, and close the tray. It will probably start to run automatically, so wait a few moments for your instructions to appear on screen. If nothing happens after a minute or so, you will have to do the following; ( these instructions are also included in the manual if you have one. )
- In Windows XP, left click the start menu and click run. For Windows 7, in the start menu type run in the search programs and files box, then click run
- Type in the dialog box, minus the quotation marks, "D:\autorun.exe" and click OK. Substitute the correct letter for your CD/DVD drive if it is other than D. For instance, mine is F:\ - Info on the drive letter is located in your My Computer folder
- When the dialog box comes up, click install and follow the rest of the directions.
As of Windows 7, automatic playing of CD/DVD/BlueRay content is disabled in Windows. You must change the Autoplay settings in the Control Panel. WikiHow SamLogic
Windows 10 removes the Windows Media Center and substitutes it with Windows DVD Player. However, if you did not already have this feature before upgrading to Windows 10, you will have to buy the app. Your best option is to download a free open-source app such as VLC Media Player
Installation may take some time
depending on your hardware and the size of the game, so go get a coffee, read a book, play with the dog. Each game installation is slightly different. There will be legal stuff you should read and it will ask you if you accept the license. You really could have lunch while reading some of these. It's up to you how much you want to bother with this, but I guess you should skim over at least one of these to get an idea of what they basically all say. They will tell you what you can and cannot do with your copy of the game. You have to agree to the license for the game to be installed.
If your game requires a CD key,
you will be asked for it. This is a long string of letters and numbers unique to your copy of the game and should be included with it. If not, you're up the creek without a paddle, so be wary of buying used games that need keys. Type it in making sure you get it right, caps and all, or you will be declined. If your edition has more than one game in it, there may also be more than one key or there may be an additional multiplayer key for playing online.
If you are given a choice
of type of installation, go with the recommended. It will also choose a location, usually under Program Files or Documents and Settings, so unless you specifically want it installed elsewhere, just go with this too. However, take note of the path as sometimes the game files can be hard to locate later.
If it asks if you want DirectX installed,
you'll know whether to say yes or no since you read TechTalk
, right? Even if the game calls for an earlier version, you should always try to run with the latest version as it is supposed to be backwards compatible. (Notice I said supposed to be) If you are unsure, just click yes to be on the safe side as many games install it anyway and you will likely gather quite a few of these files over time.
There are variations in some games
that you may not be familiar with. I can't remember which game it was that asked for a specific version of QuickTime (The Crystal Key, I think) and although I had a newer version of the software, this caused all kinds of glitches. I actually had to uninstall my later version and install this earlier version. Another game asked about Punkbuster and I had no idea what that was. Although now I know it's an anti-cheat program for online play, at the time I was installing my game I didn't know. I have a beef about these types of practices because during installation they don't tell you what these things do and it's a little late to find out at that point without cancelling and starting again. Some of these programs are not the least bit necessary in order to run your game, but some are. If you're unsure, install it and do a search later. You can uninstall the extraneous parts afterwards. Some will try to get you to install their sites, but the only time you have to do this is if it's an essential requirement to run the game.
If there is more than one disc,
it will instruct you when to insert the next one, so if you go away, check back on things once in awhile.
Choose to have a shortcut
placed on your desktop. It just makes it easier to find and click on it when you want to play.
Eventually you will finish.
Launch the game from the shortcut on your desktop and hopefully, away you go. Some games with a type of DRM
require you to play the game with the disk in the CD/DVD player and some don't. If you're unsure, try starting the game without it and it will tell you if you need it. Some games also have the game configurations in a separate launcher program outside of the game. Rather a nuisance when you want to change configurations on the fly.
Disc versions of games are the most problematic if they use SafeDisc or SecuRom as Microsoft has stripped support for these from Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista. The following is an article How To Geek
with possible solutions. You can still re-purchase many of these digitally, but be careful if you want to collect older disc versions. Please research this further as information keeps being updated.