Determine whether a computer can run a particular program by comparing the program's system requirements with the computer's system information. Relevant system information includes the operating system type and version, the type of CPU and its speed, the amount of free hard-drive space and the amount of installed RAM. Graphics capabilities may be important, too.
Software publishers list system requirements on the package or on the download site. Make note of the minimum requirements.
The location of the computer's system information depends on the type of computer and operating system. For a Mac, go to the Apple menu, and click About This Mac. For an older PC, click Start, and then choose All Programs, Accessories, System Tools and System Information. For a PC running Windows 8, go to the Start screen, click the PC Settings gear icon, Control Panel, System, then Security and System.
A computer's processor is described by its brand name, such as Intel or AMD, its type, such as a dual or quad core, and its speed, which is measured in hertz. Free hard-drive space is measured in bytes. Total hard-drive space usually equals gigabytes or terabytes, but free space could be considerably less. RAM is the computer's memory, and it's usually measured in gigabytes, as of 2014. Relevant graphics capabilities typically include maximum resolution and the existence or absence of high-definition graphics.
Windows users can check their computers' Windows Experience Index, which indicates how well a particular program is likely to run on the machine. To use the index, navigate to Control Panel, search "performance information and tools" using the search box, and then click Performance Information and Tools.