IT Support and Tech Blog

September 6, 2011   Posted by: JJ Fiasson

Is Free Software Online Safe?

AdwareWhen it comes to “free” software online you have to really be careful these days. While some free software is fine – and even useful – there is quite a bit out there that is not safe. In fact, some of the free software out there can really harm your computer. From free games like poker or solitaire to free desktops or toolbars, there are a lot of offers out there. Before downloading and blindly clicking the “I agree” or “okay” button it is important to really examine the situation to see whether or not it’s going to be safe to have it on your computer. To help, we have some tips and techniques that can help you determine whether software you get online for free is safe or not.

Tips for Downloading Free Software Online

Is it Needed? – The first question you should ask yourself is if you really need the free download. From screensavers to software, the decision is up to you. However, if you really do need something, isn’t it better to pay a little money and get quality without the hassles? When it comes to free screensavers and free software, it is usually better to pay for something.

Free is not Free – Sometimes, something is labeled as free – you do not have to spend money to get it – but there are other costs involved that you should consider. For some free downloads, the fine print of the agreement you agree to may give the company freedom to information you might not want them to have.

Good Free Software – Before you get the idea that all free software is bad or could be harmful to your computer, you should know that there are quite a few free programs out there that are useful. From the Firefox browser to OpenOffice.org, there are many great free programs out there that will not cost you in the short term or the long run.

The Future of Free

As you can see above, there are a lot of things you need to watch out for when it comes to free software online. Having said that, the future is looking bright for freebies online as more and more companies decide to give away their product and charge for service or support. This model of free software has the chance to really shake things up. There are even free operating systems out there – primarily Linux, a variation of Unix.

Once you start looking into free software more, you are going to realize that there is a whole sub-culture that exists. From people who use free downloads to market and make money to those who just believe in giving stuff away for free, there are a lot of opportunities on the Internet for getting something for nothing. The big thing is that you want to make sure you’re careful at all stages of the process.