Most software programs can now be downloaded online through reputable websites. Much like other online shopping, downloading programs online can be convenient, however also combined with some risks that require tech savvy awareness.
Below are a list of tips to help you download programs both safely and conveniently!
- Many helpful programs exist online for free download, and are sometimes not what they seem. There are often numerous programs available online for what you’re looking for. Some of these seem to be reputable, but actually require a hidden payment. Make sure to research the website hosting the file, in addition to the program itself. If you see anything mentioning viruses or a discrepancy in the content of the program, it’s best to avoid downloading it.
2. Information Protection
- A program shouldn’t require anything beyond your payment information. Alternately, if a program is claiming to be free, it shouldn’t need your credit card information.
3. System Requirements
- A program will often require a specific version of operating system to function. Make sure to read, before downloading, what the system requirements are.
It generally won’t harm your computer to download a program that’s incompatible with your computer system. Instead, the program won’t work and the extra space it takes up could slow down your computer.
4. Bundled Software
- When you’re downloading programs from the internet, they sometimes come with additional software ‘bundled’ into the installation package. This might seem like a good deal, but it can actually cause problems. These additional programs often add unnecessary toolbars to your web browser, or create popups on websites. This bundled software is often called ‘Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP)’ and is a nuisance to your computer. To avoid these PUPs, make sure the license agreement doesn’t mention additional software. A page will come up telling you to install a ‘Recommended Software’ with the same ‘Next’ button on the bottom. Read the fine print! There should be a small text explaining how to decline the additional installation.
5. Backup Your Computer
- Sometimes you’ll download a program as safely as you can and still run into problems. In rare circumstances, these programs can crash your entire computer. Before downloading any new programs online, it is best to run a FixMeStick scan and then backup all your files onto an external device. This way if your computer crashes you won’t lose all your files.