Drag&Drop Installing: Extra files copied somewhere?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ksgant, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. ksgant macrumors 6502a

    ksgant

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    Sorry for such a newbie question, but I haven't seen this addressed elsewhere.

    I've noticed that when I download an application or utility to try out, in the .dmg image it just says "drag to your Application folder" (or words to that effect) to install. But when I drag the application over, the copy progress bar pops up to show the copy...but then I also see these little things also being copied somewhere else too but it goes so fast I can't catch what they are and where they're going. What is this exactly? Is it just the OS making reference files as to what the file I'm dragging over is and where it is? For like Spotlight? If I want to uninstall the file, it's still just the easy function of just dragging the app to the trash, right? (well, I use Spotlight to search for items related to the app too)

    Just curious.
     
  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #2
    The application you drag over isn't just a single file. It's a package of many files, which is why the progress bar shows it as such. When you drag that into your Applications, everything resides in that package in that location. But once you launch the app for the first time, it will usually create a few additional files (usually a .plist preference file in <your user name>/Library/Preferences at a minimum).

    In most cases, simply deleting the app is sufficient for an uninstallation. But Spotlight can help you find the other associated files if you want to be thorough about it.

    Of course, if the application comes with an installer/uninstaller, you should always use that.
     
  3. ksgant thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ksgant

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago
    #3
    thanks for the reply WildCowboy. I see what you mean now. The app that I drag over isn't like an .exe file or whatever in the Windows world, but a collection of files.

    So, instead of a seperate folder per application that Windows has (which contains .exe files and .dll and config and whatnot all loose in that folder), the Mac app is the files needed to run the program, yet all contained in an archive-like package? Am I understanding that right?

    Again, thanks
     
  4. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #4
    That's right. You can right click on an app and select "Show Package Contents" from the contextual menu if you want to explore what makes up a typical OS X application bundle. (Just don't go messing with stuff in there. ;) )
     
  5. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #5
    correct.
    if you control-click on an app, you can show package contents, which then shows the insides of the app in folders and such. but OS X apps keep it neat and self contained all within the package. and as WC pointed out, apps will create a pref file and sometimes a cache file. in your Library.
     
  6. Fat Red macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    #6
    Related newbie question: if I download an app on a dmg and it includes other files than the application, what do I do with them? Sometimes it's just a Readme, other times quite a few files (eg VLC) that look like they should go somewhere.
     
  7. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Location:
    Nagoya, Japan
    #7
    I just ignore those. Do you recall what comes with VLC?
     
  8. Fat Red macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    #8
    AUTHORS, Changelog, COPYING, Delete_Preferences, NEWS, README, README.MacOSX.rtf, THANKS, VLC

    I have no idea if any of them are needed or not.
     
  9. CoreWeb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Location:
    Edge of reason
    #9
    All of those look like simple README files. Without downloading VLC I can't be certain, but AUTHORS I would bet is a list of some of the top contributors of code for VLC (It is open-source, is it not?), Changelog is a log of the changes made for that version (and perhaps some previous ones), COPYING is most likely a copyright/license notice of some sort, Delete_Preferences I am not sure about, though it could be a program/utility you run if you wish to uninstall VLC, NEWS is probably just that, VLC news, README is a readme, as is README.MacOSX.rtf, THANKS is probably a thank-you note for using VLC, and VLC is most likely the program.

    All of them except VLC itself and Delete_Preferences are probably open-able by double-clicking or the like, and then you should be able to tell what they are.

    But to run VLC, I believe you only need the application package itself.
     
  10. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #10
    If I come across a .dmg with extra files in there that I might need, I usually just create a folder with the app's name in my Applications folder and put everything (including the app itself) in there.
     

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