Download Plug-ins from the Internet - dummies

Download Plug-ins from the Internet

By Andy Rathbone

When visiting certain Web sites, you will see a notice that you must download a plug-in to view the site. You download plug-ins from the Internet by allowing them when a site pops up a window that requests the download.

Computer programmers are now using fancy programming techniques called Java, Flash, RealPlayer, QuickTime, and other goodies to add animation and other movies to the Internet.

Programmers are also adding little software tidbits called plug-ins that increase your computer’s capability to display these flashy items — as well as splash moving advertisements along the top of your screen. You’ll know when you need a plug-in when you see a notice like the one shown in the following figure.


Install this software to run the Adobe Flash Player plug-in.

What’s the problem? If your computer says it needs a plug-in or its latest version, click the button that takes you to its download area — but only if you can trust it. The following plug-ins are both free and safe:

  • QuickTime: The free version of QuickTime plays many video formats that Microsoft’s Media Player can’t handle, including those required to view most movie trailers.

  • RealPlayer: This software can be offensive, but sometimes it’s the only way to see or view some things on the Internet. Be sure to download the free version, no matter now much the Real folks try to hide it behind the pay version on its Web site.

  • Adobe Flash/Shockwave: Although this free download plays most of the elaborate moving advertisements on Web sites, it also lets you watch funny cartoons and animations.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader: Another popular freebie, Acrobat Reader lets you view documents as if they’re printed on paper. (Sometimes it doesn’t let you copy parts of them, though, or read them with your word processor.)