There are many free Windows software download sites, but are they safe? Every time you download something, chances are that you are downloading malware or viruses Sure, you have the best antivirus application, but there is no point in making it work if it doesn’t have to.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to check if your download is safe, and we’ll also mention a few of our favorite sites for downloading free Windows software
Are Free Software Download Websites Safe?
There are only two ways to know if a site is safe to load. You can check its reputation and test its downloads yourself.
There are companies that evaluate the safety of websites. One of the most popular sites for this is WOT or Web of Trust. WOT ranks sites based on community ratings, reviews, and proprietary machine learning algorithms. There are WOT plugins for Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers. If you have the plugin installed, you can visit the download site.
You can also check the site before going to it. Go to Virus Total and enter the website’s web address. It will check many other reputation and virus tracking sites and let you know if the site is safe.
- Use a sandboxed web browser like Sandboxie to download it. In a sandboxed web browser, go to Virus Total and submit your download for testing.
- Download the program to the virtual machine and test it there.
Free and Safe Software download sites for Windows
On the Internet, FileHippo has been ranked 625 in the Alexa ranking since 2004. FileHippo says they manually select software and test it for malware and viruses They also do not authorize the use of software that integrates other software or browser toolbars. FileHippo currently has over 40,000 listed versions of the program.
Be careful if you search for FileHippo on the internet. There are many sites with similar names and URLs.
Nirsoft is a free service site created and run by a guy named Nir Sofer. He single-handedly wrote all the software utilities that you see on the site.
Each utility is completely free and usually very tiny. This is because each utility is designed to do one task and only one task. For example, some of the most popular utilities on the site are password viewers, which will show you the passwords stored on your computer, in your browser, etc.
Ninite isn’t just a free software download site, it’s also a package management system Using it as a package management system, Ninite can be used to automate the installation of your favorite software and keep it up to date with one click. This is probably the safest site on the list.
The number of free apps is limited. However, it does cover most of the software that you first install on a new computer. Chrome, Firefox, 7-zip, iTunes, VLC, Malwarebytes are among the free downloads that Ninite can provide and manage.
Even older than FileHippo, Softpedia has been a staple of software downloads since 2001. Softpedia hosts many free downloads on its physical servers. This means they can get even more out of making sure apps are safe. It’s a lot of work when they have over 1.2 million apps, drivers and games available.
Offering some of the best-known free Windows software on an easy-to-read and searchable site, Download Crew should be on your list. Download Crew has been around for over 10 years, has nearly 300,000 members and over 33 million downloads.
Its sister site is the Download Crew Store, where you can get discounted proprietary software. Together with them, you will get everything you need, as cheaply as possible.
When it comes to free software download sites, it’s hard to tell the difference. They all do the same thing. They all offer downloads. What makes File Horse different is that they also store archives of previous versions of software.
Therefore, if an update to your favorite app introduces unwanted changes, you can download the old version here and roll it back. File Horse also oversees a directory of free cloud applications.
Don’t let the design of the early 2000s fool you. Major Geeks is a legitimate free software download site. Founded in 2001, Major Geeks has built a reputation for being one of the first to test all of the software they offer.
They first check the reputation of the company and the software, then scan it with multiple antivirus scanners, including VirusTotal. If that passes, Major Geeks will actually install the software on their VMWare workstation to test the functionality. If it meets their standards, then the software will be listed. Such solidity guarantees their military style.
Partly a website and partly an app that is probably already installed on your computer, there are indeed many good free programs in the Microsoft Store Microsoft already has a reputation and you want to think they host secure software.
Some of them belong to big names you already know, such as Netflix, Apple and, of course, Microsoft. Some of them are created by small development teams, but they can be very useful. Not all apps are free. There are thousands of them and they are easy to find. Just search for “free”.
Other than that, you should also check out the excellent Sysinternals tools that used to be a standalone site but were bought by Microsoft. The tools are still being updated, but more geared towards geeks.
Good free software sites anymore?
There are a few more good safe free software sites out there, but if you can’t find what you need on the sites above, then they won’t help much. Over time, you will find out which sites have the software you need.