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What to do when you need download free software?

I'm assuming that when you need a software, perhaps just to do something once, you would go on google and look for that perfect free one. Then there it is, you found it. Just perfect.

But how would you know if it has any virus and such in it?

I began to be very, very careful about what I download, but now I start to not trust ANYTHING.

What would you do?
When you find it also look for a review or comments on it from another (unaffiliated) site. Also Open Source (eg from SourceForge) titles tend to be reputable as they are open.

Of course there is no definite answer but that's what a combination of common sense, anti-virus and anti-spyware is there to catch.

Strictly speaking, you can't be sure that a piece of software does not contain virus. The only way to assure yourself is to have a good antivirus/virus detection software installed.

As AftershockVibe has pointed out, for open source software sourceforge freshmeat will be your friends. Also, try to download directly from the official website. Mirrors are good, as they relieve the software authors from a big hosting bill, but unless you are getting it from some reputed mirrors, you again run into the risk of catching a virus or two.

If the official website provides you with a checksum, use that to check against the software you have downloaded, especially if you are not getting it from the official website. Basically what a checksum is, is a short string of numbers that are produced based on the content of the file you have downloaded, and it is designed so that (hopefully) no two file can produce the same checksum. With this, you can be reasonably sure that you have got the correct software unmodified. If you want to know a bit more, try find out about it on wikipedia.

The bottom line is if you aren't downloading from a reputed source, or you don't have an antivirus software installed, you are in the danger zone!

Hope this helps.
zjosie729 wrote:
I'm assuming that when you need a software, perhaps just to do something once, you would go on google and look for that perfect free one. Then there it is, you found it. Just perfect.

But how would you know if it has any virus and such in it?

I began to be very, very careful about what I download, but now I start to not trust ANYTHING.

What would you do?

I will use or to download free softwares. That will give me protection from viruses and spywares. Also, I would scan the downloaded files with antivirus first.
sceptileex is normaly virus free as far as i know. However, there is no real way to tell whether its virus free or not. Try to have some virus detectors such as AVG or norton on at all times during ownloading, and try to scan each file after download. But of course, there wiill always be loopholes, so as far as you can, dont download free software unless you know of people who can use it without problems. Download freee software from the official site. Dont go to some random blog and download it from there. Thats a safer way. But theres no real way to have hundred percent virus free softwares.
Okay, I've got a lot of programs on my computer that will protect my computer. I think some does the same thing and I don't know which ones I should use. Here is the list:

  • Agnitum Outpost Firewall
  • Windows Defender
  • Avast AntiVirus
  • AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic
  • Spyware Blaster
  • Lavasoft Ad-ware SE personal
  • Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall 4
  • Spyware Guard
  • (Norton AntiVirus)
  • (MacAfee AntiSpyware)
  • (BigFix)

I want my computer to be protected in every possible way, but I don't think I need all of them. Do you have any suggestions on which one(s) to keep?

The ones in parentheses came with my computer and I think there's a 9-month trial. I'm not going to spend any money on these kind of things, at least not until I feel like it.
Its ok if you use Macfee antispyware and norton antivirus.

More importantly, download from reliable sources such as and .
Actually, I was kind of wondering which one(s) will work best excluding Norton, BigFix, and MacAfee.
Generally, all Anti-Virus systems will be able to detect and remove 100% of all known viruses. Newly-released viruses will always be a threat until the virus definition files are updated for your chosen AV program.

A good way to check files is to scan them before installing them. Most AV products are integrated with the windows shell, so you can right click and scan the files. Then, always have a real-time protection service running (such as the AVG Resident Shield or the Norton Auto Protect for example) so that any undetected viruses that "unpack" are stopped.

The bottom line is that the risk you take depends on what software you download and from where. Most Open-Source software is virus / spyware free since it's possible for people to get into the code and remove it. Quite often, downloads from are packed with spyware and ad-ware.

The best place to get non-open source, free software from IMO is Softpedia - they offer a certification system. If you see this image:

the software is safe to download.
Animal wrote:
Quite often, downloads from are packed with spyware and ad-ware.

Thats strange never heard of it. Using for a year now.
They state that they have zero tolerance policy towards spyware.

But in the first quarter of 2005, we launched a zero-tolerance policy toward all bundled adware.

Although you may come across software from other sites on the Internet that contain adware or spyware, you can feel safe knowing that has tested software products included in our CNET listings.

That means every time you download software from, you can trust that we've tested it and found it to be adware-free. We have also removed all existing products on that we've identified as containing adware. This has eliminated nearly 600 products from our library.

Scanning software applications currently include, but are not limited to; Microsoft AntiSpyware, Webroot Spy Sweeper, Lavasoft Ad-Aware and PC Tools - Spyware Doctor.

Have you ever reported anything like that to them ?
{name here}
You should go to places like Freshmeat and All projects are open source, free, and carefully reviewed.
Well what I do is search the software name in Google like this:

"software name" + "adware"
"software name" + "spyware"
"software name" + "virus"

But only first if that particually software is not on (all their stuff is trustable. No spyware or anything). And also of course like mentioned earlier - read reviews.
I just use common sense. Usually if something looks like it is run by businessmen or some corporation that offers limited "trial" versions, I assume it contains adware/spyware. If something has a bad reputation, it probably isn't a good idea to download it.

I worry more about adware and spyware than viruses, but sometimes I do get an occasional trojan. I try to stay away from any website that looks messy, has lots of ads, or runs a lot of javascript. It's usually fairly easy to distinguish between good and bad programs.

The hardest thing to find is spyware. Adware is usally the hardest to remove. Sad
The thing I do when I need to download software is first by searching it at google. Most software that is able to be downloaded is a trial version, that for example can only be used for 30 days or with limited resources. One key to get the right search on google is by clicking freeware on the search box. For example you want to search image editing software just type image edit freeware and there will a lot of sites for you to go to.
In my case, I will download the file into an removable drive, such as my thumbdrive, floppy disk, zip, etc. Then I will have it virus-scanned, spyware-scanned. When all is cleared, I will transfer it back to my local drive. This way, it wouldn't affect my computer if a virus really acted up in the removable drive.
But how would you know if it has any virus and such in it?

Just think it, those are free software, if you want free and trustable soft, just look for open source projects, even if you dont understand the code, many people do, and if it'd have any virus/spyware, many people would alrdy noticed.

To know which are trustable open source project, just look for SouceForge projects, just like said above, or, just look for official linux projects, those are 100% secure, just gotta find the windows version, or whatever OS you are using
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