The web is full of choices, but how do you know what is safe and what isn’t?
First, we will start with what to avoid. If you receive any unsolicited offers for free software to download, you can start by ignoring these. This can include any pop-up advertising, or anything you receive via email. Most of the times, these programs are full of worms and viruses or they could be spyware or scams.
If you want new software, you will have to actively look for it and you should not be tempted to act on impulse.
When you are starting to look around, keep an eye out for established software companies. If you are looking for reviews of well-known software creators, av-test.org is a good place to start.
Often companies will offer free basic versions of their more complete programs, which is a good place to start looking for free software.
If you are looking at antivirus software, for example, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Sophos and ZoneAlarm all offer free versions of their antivirus programs. They will at times recommend upgrading to the paid version of their products, but this is not necessary.
When browsing for software, make sure you are actually getting a copy of the company’s free product – and not just the free trial version of a more comprehensive paid program.
Depending on the program, you may be asked to share user data for research or see ads and upgrade offers within the free software.
Another important tip when it comes to free software is to only download desktop software directly from the maker of the software.