I'll admit it: downloading a plug-in is easier said than done. And once you've downloaded the application, you often have to go through several steps to get it to behave. So I spoke to Netscape Communications's plug-in evangelist, Tim Hickman, to get the right directions for Windows users. All you need is a little discipline.
1. Write down the name of the file you're downloading with Navigator. That way you can find it later and delete it to save disk space.
2. Make a separate directory or folder to save the file in.
3. After the file has been downloaded, get offline and close Navigator.
4. Find the file in your directory and double-click on it. This will either unpack the compressed file or start installing it right away. If the former, you'll have to look for a setup.exe file after the unpacking is done, and double-click on it to install the program. The setup file will be either in a new separate directory or in the directory that you originally created.
5. Make sure the program gets installed to Navigator's plug-in directory. Most plug-ins should do this for you, or ask you where you want them installed. But not all of the programs have been rigorously tested, so double-check when you're done installing.
6. Restart Navigator, and you're off. If it works, go back and delete the original file you downloaded. If you encounter problems, look for an "uninstall" program — and go back to Step 1.
A version of this article appeared in the October/November 96 issue of Fast Company magazine.