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Learn more Scared that you might download the virus that's going to destroy your computer? Wondering whether the file you're downloading is safe or not?
Cookie Settings. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Download Article Explore this Article Steps. Tips and Warnings. Related Articles. Assess what you're downloading. Are you downloading pornography or a warez cracked program? Or are you downloading an add-on to help improve your Mozilla Firefox experience? There's a much greater chance that the pornography and warez software is going to contain a virus hidden in the download. What's the file? That's your first clue.
If it is illegal or suspicious looking, it's probably dangerous. Look over the site. It may seem superficial, but if you're downloading a file from a very basic site there's a higher chance that the site will have a virus hidden in its downloadable files than from a site that looks like it's been made from years of dedicated web designers.
Consider who you are downloading the file from. Think about it logically, if you're downloading something from Microsoft, it's not likely that you're downloading a virus. What's the context? That's the key. Are there other people that have downloaded the file? If there's a forum attached to the site that has people saying they've downloaded said file and have not experienced any problems, chances are, you aren't going to be downloading a Trojan or worm.
Look at the size of the file. If it's too small for what it is, it's junk. Watch out for executable files, such as '. If you download one of these you are, potentially, opening yourself up to anything on that file once you activate it.
Try scanning it with a virus checker or any other software that is like it - just to be on the safe side. One common trick used by crackers is to have a 'double extension' such as '. Said file is actually an. Is the file signed? If you are downloading an executable. If the executable is unlicensed, it is most likely a threat to your computer and privacy.
Some software may still try to foist unwanted bundled junk on you from its official website, but you can be pretty sure it's free of malware. If you don't know an app's download page, a quick Google search for "download Spotify" or similar will bring up a box that takes you right to it.
Just make sure you're on the official page. Ninite is simple. The website presents you with a list of popular programs to select, and you check the boxes for all the apps you want. Then, clicking the download button will give you a custom installer file that bundles all the selected programs together, allowing you to install them in bulk. Ninite is known for its safety and security.
It automatically declines toolbars and extra junk, runs in the background, and doesn't require you to click Next over and over. Thus, there's no risk of malware or bundled garbage. Running the same installer file later will cause Ninite to automatically update everything you downloaded originally. Keep in it mind next time you're setting up a new computer. Softpedia is one of the largest download sites around; it's delivered over three billion downloads over the years.
The most popular apps are updated every day, allowing you to get clean and malware-free software that's also as recent as possible. On top of this, it has an easy-to-use interface that makes it painless to browse for programs on any platform. You can browse what's been updated recently, or search using filters like categories, last updated, and cost.
In addition to Windows, you'll find Mac, Linux, and Android apps too. Even though the site looks like it hasn't been updated since the s, MajorGeeks has been one of the most reputable software download sites for some time. Its list of Top Freeware Picks is a great place to start, but don't be afraid to browse the left sidebar and look through all kinds of highly-rated programs that you might find handy.
Otherwise, searching will help find what you're looking for. FileHippo is a well-known site with tons of active programs broken down into categories. It also has a repository of web apps, if you aren't set on just downloading desktop software. The site will occasionally prompt you to download another app such as Opera before the one you asked for.
But this is clearly labeled, easy to skip, and doesn't push shady software. FileHippo goes further by also offering older versions of software. While you generally shouldn't install outdated software for security reasons, it's a useful option to have in case you run into issues with the latest version.
Download Crew's website stands out thanks to its short but informative descriptions on each app page. These are written by real users, not just copied and pasted from the vendor's website. You'll learn what each app does, its perks, and any flaws. The top section has Featured Downloads , making it a good place to get started. It also has a robust list of options for the software licenses, including Open Source , Trialware , and more.
This lets you drill down into exactly what kind of free software you're getting. FileHorse doesn't have a massive repository of software. Instead, this site focuses on stocking the best and most useful programs. Each product page has screenshots so you know what to expect, plus version compatibility, a changelog, links to old versions, and more.
WebJul 22, �� 10 Sites to Download Software on Windows and Android for Free. Filehippo; Filepuma; Softpedia; Cnet Download; SourceForge; Google Play Store; APKMirror; Slide .