(borrowed from Tower of Babel FAQ)
How do I get STARLING to work on my computer?
Microsoft Windows (NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 or higher)
All you really have to do is to download the star4win-X.Y.Z.exe executable archive from the Downloads section, double-click it and let it be installed into the folder of your choice (although the default choice, C:\StarSoft\, is always preferrable).
Additional "extension packages" for the Windows version are also available in the Downloads section. These include starcjk.exe, a special self-extracting archive containing additional CJK fonts for handling Chinese characters (please note that you will have to reboot your PC after the installation); dicts.exe, the archive containing Zalizniak's Russian dictionary and Mueller's English-Russian dictionary for those who will need StarLing for its morphoanalytical capacities; and multilang.exe, an archive of a European multi-language dictionary which can be used for getting rough translational equivalents of a lot of stuff.
Alternatively, you can also download and install the STAR4DOS package, which is exactly what it is - a version of StarLing designed for usage under MS-DOS. The basic advantage is, of course, that it will work on older versions of Windows and under DOS, provided you are still using them. The disadvantage is that the DOS version is no longer supported by our programming team and thus lacks a number of features recently implemented in Star4Win - although, of course, any database created and maintained in the DOS version will be fully compatible with the Windows one.
Mac OS X and Linux
The GTK+-based StarLing version is under constant development, and we are not providing packages for OS X and Linux yet. Please write me an email if you wish to test it.
I installed STARLING, but cannot make head or tails of it
Yes, StarLing is definitely not the most user-friendly program ever made - it has always valued substance over form, primarily because for the first ten years or so of its existence, the only person working on it was Sergei Starostin himself. We are working on making it more so, but it sure takes a long time. In the meantime, there is a HELP section included in the program which takes care of some of the trickier aspects of the program, although it is far from covering all of its abilities. We also encourage you to fill this Wiki with useful information (you may have to register and login first. Also, see ticket #3.
That said, if all you really want is to browse through downloaded databases, it is quite simple - all you have to do is choose "File > Use for BROWSE" or, for an alternate view, "File > Use for EDIT" in the menu and select the location of the database.