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Downloading / Uploading / Installing - What's The Difference?
Posted by Clarke M on 03 April 2006 08:38 PM
This week's tech tip concerns something we've all heard of. However, there still seems to be some confusion amongst the masses on the three operations I will be explaining. I'm referring to Downloading, Uploading, and Installing. It's true that there are various similarites between them, but I can assure you they are not the same. Generally, everyone who has used a computer has done at least one of these processes, and probably thought nothing of it. For the most part, this is where the confusion lies. That's why this tech tip is for those who had have heard the terms, but still are unaware of what the difference between them actually is.

Here's the scoop:

Downloading, often confused with installing, is the process of moving a file that's on the Internet, or a network, onto your Computer. Generally associated with the internet or filesharing, download speed is based solely on usable bandwidth or connection speed. For most computer users, downloading is simply a matter of clicking a download link on a website, and saving the file to the hard-drive.

Uploading is the opposite of downloading. Uploading is the process of taking a file from your computer, and sending it to a computer on the internet, or computer/server on a network. Typically, this is done with an FTP client. Some websites you will find allow you to upload files to them with your web browser. For those of you with a web based email addresses, like Gmail or hotmail, have probably uploaded at least one file. When sending an email with an attachment, you are required to upload the file to the email before it can be attached to the email. Upload speed is also based on the capability, or speed of your internet connection.

Installing, commonly confused with downloading, is different altogether. Installing is the term associated with placing, or putting programs on your computer. Usually the installation process is done through a setup program or a wizard (not the kind with the funny hat) to make installation easy. This operation relys on certain hardware for speed. Usually, CD/DVD drive speed, as well as the amount of RAM the computer has, determines the speed of program installation. Once you're finished the programs' installation, it can be run from the Start Menu\Programs area, or from a desktop shortcut. One or the other, and sometimes both, are created by the Setup Wizard.

So there you have it. A brief lesson on the difference between three terms often confused with one another. Hopefully this clarifies things for you folks out there.
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