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How to Get Free Software Without the Viruses!

Posted In Antivirus, Security - By Techtiplib on Friday, August 16th, 2013 With No Comments »

They say that in life, nothing is free. As we well know though, that isn’t strictly true – and particularly not on the web where you can actually get a ton of great free software.

The problem though is that sometimes this ‘free software’ actually comes at a hidden cost – that being the sanctity of your computer and of your personal information. The problem is that a lot of the sites that give away free software aren’t all that reputable, and will often smuggle some unwanted software into the deal too.

Your job as a user is to try and get the free software without picking up nasty viruses on the way. It’s a tricky job no doubt – but fortunately, I’m here to help you out.

Make Sure it’s Freeware

The first thing to do before you download is to make sure that the software you’re about to download is in fact legal and freeware/shareware. Just because a site is giving away a program for free, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s theirs to give away, and if they’re giving away illegal software then chances are that they don’t care too much about your welfare either. Apart from anything else, downloading stuff for free that isn’t meant to be free just isn’t nice – somebody put a lot of effort into that!

visiting site-warning

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124468717@N01/4973155455

Pay Attention to the Adverts

While you’re scrutinizing whether or not the site you’re downloading from is legitimate, you may want to check out which adverts are on the page with the download. Adverts for ‘dating’ sites (you know what I mean or things that look like scams suggest that the webmaster is willing to sell out… which means they might well sell you out too.

Be Very Careful Using Torrents

If you’re going to download that free software using torrents then you need to be even more careful. Torrents aren’t just for pirate software and films, they actually offer a convenient way to download large files that’s useful for freeware too. However you do still need to be careful and that means a) double checking that the software is free, b) reading the comments to make sure that no one else has been burned by the download already and c) using a torrent program that has a built-in virus scanner so that you can check files.

Keep Your Computer Up-to-Date

Another piece of advice is simply to ensure that your computer is up-to-date at all times and that you have all the latest anti-virus software. You can use this to scan your files individually, and at the same time it should give you a warning if you accidentally download anything that you shouldn’t have.

How to Get Free Software Without the Viruses

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23481583@N04/3662810317

Don’t Tick All Those Boxes

Sometimes the files you don’t want aren’t specifically ‘viruses’ but are still a nuisance. Take those ‘download managers’ that often take the liberty of installing themselves on your computer for instance, or the many annoying IE toolbars that almost killed Microsoft’s browser at one point.

Recommended reading: Remove Ask Toolbar from your PC and Information about Third party programs and toolbars

The point is to make sure that you’re certain precisely what it is that you’re downloading. Read the list of apps that the downloader wants to install, and untick anything that you don’t recognize or don’t want. Even some ‘anti-virus’ software can end up being worse than the viruses they claim to fend off… You also can use Unchecky – Removes ticks or warn about the unwanted adware and toolbars.

Use the Right Browser

Sometimes it’s not the downloads themselves that pose the risk to your computer, but the other files you can end up picking up from the website that pedals them. One way to protect against these is to use the right browser – using Firefox for instance rather than Explorer will keep you marginally more protected.

So there is such thing as a free lunch… you just need to make sure you don’t gobble it down too rapidly!

Author Bio:

This guest post is written by Jason Haddad; he works as a tester for wellresearchedreviews.com. He’s a tech enthusiast and often shares his views and opinions on various issues related to viruses and malware via his articles.

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