We all like free things, especially on the Internet where the misconception has been perpetuated that there is no need to pay for anything. Fortunately there are many services and applications that we can enjoy without paying a penny, sometimes because they are open, sometimes because they live on the basis of advertising, and sometimes because you are simply the product.
When it comes to programs for Windows we usually find a lot of free software that is of the freeware type , which should not be confused with free software, since it is only an application that is free either indefinitely or for a limited time, under certain conditions of use, and usually without releasing the source code. The freeware is very attractive because it costs nothing, but on many occasions the installer hides some surprise with adware or spyware that he is financing to who distributes it.
In other cases, very common, we can find free programs on pages like SourceForge or CNET that are dedicated to offer downloads of all types of free applications but that contain malware in the installers ( see GIMP case ). Surely it has happened to you sometime: you try to download some “free” program from one of these websites and end up downloading a “special download manager” to install the software. Hours later you already have rare icons on your desktop, your browser’s browser has changed to some misfortune like “ask,” or pop-ups with advertising start to fill your screen.
It turns out that, downloading free software on the Internet safely is more difficult than it seems, especially if you don’t have years of experience and don’t know what is the easiest way to get infected from viruses and other threats. As in Hypertext we love you, we are going to recommend some of the safest solutions that exist to download free applications without fear of opening the door of your PC to horror monsters.
This is the most nerdy solution of all, but it is extremely safe. In Hypertext we already talk about Chocolatey , a great way to install applications on Windows using the command prompt or PowerShell.
Chocolatey is a package manager, like those used in Linux. The repository contains more than 2500 packages with known, not-so-known and essential programs that should not be missed by anyone . It is an open and therefore safe project. You just need to install it, and start using the Windows terminal to order it to install things like VLC, GIMP, or Steam.
Of Ninite I spoke nearly two years ago. It is one of the services that I use in each new installation of Windows that I do, because it greatly facilitates the process of downloading all the applications that I normally use.
From the Ninite website you can choose all the programs you want from the list and the site will offer you an installer that will take care of everything for you. You will download each application from the original source and install it on your PC without doing anything. Ninite is safe because it does not include adware crap in the installer, and it downloads from the official website of each developer, it also keeps constantly updated and if you want to update all your programs at once you just need to run it again whenever you want.
The original source
Of course, if you do not want to resort to third-party managers such as those mentioned above, you can always go directly to the original source of a program, as long as you know what you are looking for there should be no problem. The trick is that if it is a very popular application, or the opposite: a very ghost; It is possible that someone has taken advantage of this to create a fake website that claims to offer application downloads , and in reality it is a Trojan horse to enter your PC.
Rarely these trout websites are the first result in Google, but not even in the almighty search engine can you trust 100%. You can always go to social networks and look for the company, brand, or application on Facebook, Twitter or even on Google+, and thus give you an idea of where they offer true downloads.
Finally, an unpopular recommendation: don’t use torrent sites so happily . While P2P networks are a great way to share large files saving bandwidth and many developer groups offer torrents of their apps to download, in many cases people who upload random torrents do not have the best intentions in the world and take the opportunity to include malware in downloads.
On the other hand, private torrent trackers tend to be safer since the communities are smaller and more exclusive, however nothing is 100% secure, and it is not easy to get an invitation to one of these.
Finally, that you can download something for free on the Internet does not mean it is really free. If you can not pay for a program, look for a free alternative before downloading a pirated version with a “crack or a keygen” of doubtful origin that you do not know that it will put you on the PC. And, if you still want to take the risk, then don’t complain and blame Windows for all your evils.