How To: Save Money Using Free Software

Make your list

Look at the installed programs in your computer and start by deleting any application you’ve used in the past, but don’t need anymore. Now write down the programs that you are using. If you have two or more applications of the same type write down only your favorite. Underline the ones that are not free.

Now you have a general view of all the software you have, both free and paid.

Search for alternatives

For each paid program you have installed, search for free alternatives. You might find it hard to choose one so to ease up the process, read some reviews and study the features and drawbacks of each program. This might seem complicated, but it’s actually not. Any good application has been reviewed at least a few times on well-known websites. If you can’t find any reviews for a program it means it’s not trustworthy or it’s very new.

A good review should include the program’s features and issues/bugs (if any), some screenshots with the UI and system requirements (so you can be sure it works on your computer).

When free is not enough

If for example you need a powerful image editing application and the free ones you’ve tried are just not enough in terms of functionality it’s OK to say no to freeware and buy the application you need. The same goes for the cases when you have a paid program but can’t find a viable alternative at all.

Other than that, when you do find a free app to replace a paid one do not hesitate to do so. Even replacing 5 programs can save you a great deal of money. Some programs even have a yearly license renewal (in that case you’ll be saving even more money).

Where to find free applications

Finding free applications shouldn’t be a problem. There are numerous websites that offer free software downloads and even the trial versions of paid applications, all legally of course. A simple search on the Internet will reveal dozens of them. Just be careful to download the original setup file, as some websites wrap applications in their own installers, which also include toolbars, search engines and other third-party applications.

When you finish analyzing your software list, and made the possible replacements sum up the license costs of the commercial apps you are not using anymore to see how much money you managed to save.

If you want easy access to thousands of free software downloads, visit our website. With a user-friendly layout, here you can find anything from the most popular freeware applications to professional software.

How to Evaluate and Choose Free Software

Any time that you download free software into your computer, you want to have some assurance that the software will work, and you also want to avoid other problems such as viruses and spyware. While free software does have risks, you can avoid many of these risks by taking the following precautions:

* Look for reviews of the software: Two excellent resources for finding reviews of free software are Sourceforge.net and Download.com. You can also find comparisons with similar software and find out additional information such as how frequently a program has been updated or downloaded.

* Use reputable web sites: If you know nothing about a web site that is offering free software, go to review sites such as the ones mentioned above to see if software from that web site has been reviewed. Even if you find positive reviews about the software, keep in mind the next suggestion.

* Trust your instincts: If have doubts or reservations about a program or the web site from where you can download the program, then don’t download the software.

* Beware of unsolicited email offers: If you find out about the software from an unsolicited email, do not follow any link or visit any URL mentioned in the email. Unsolicited emails are often associated with malicious software, viruses, and scams. If you are interested, research the software using the resources mentioned earlier.

* Use trusted software makers: Many free programs available online were created by established software companies or nonprofit organizations. Many of these software makers also provide updates, documentation, and technical support.

* Rely on popularity and experience: If you are choosing between two or more programs with similar capability, quality, and reputation, then go for the one that has been downloaded by the most users or that has been available for the longest time.

* Check with your Internet service provider: Many Internet service providers provide free protective software to their customers. Check with your ISP to see if antispyware, firewall, antivirus, or other protective software is offered with your service.

There is a wide array of free software available online and much of it may be very useful to you and your family. Not all of it is good, and some of it may put your computer and your personal information at risk. By doing a little bit of research and acting with a little bit of common sense, you will be able to take away most of the potential risks.

Why You Should Not Use Free Software

Free computer software is now a popular trend with Internet users. However, experts view these free download offers as potential sources of threat to your computer system. Free software downloads can easily breach your computer security and serve as a back door entry to malicious programs.

Concept of Free Computer Software

Free computer software is that which can be copied or distributed by the public without any legal restrictions. Legally, a software license and customer agreement is required in order to run any software on your computer. If it is not-for-free or is actually proprietary software, a unique registration key and activation code is incorporated by the manufacturer and passed to the user who purchases the software. This registration key is specific to that particular copy of the software. However, free software comes with a ‘free software license’ and an open registration key. Both of these are available to all, which means that any user can download and install them without worrying about registration formalities.

Free Computer Software and Possible Security Threats

Crusaders of free software view it as an attempt towards democratization of knowledge and expertise while many others view it with suspicion due to security reasons. Another fact to consider is that free software has security flaws in the patch files. This means that there is a strong possibility for an adware, spyware, virus or a malicious program to be hidden along with it. It is best for you to be aware of these potential threats and avoid installing free software. Still, the most popular websites to download free software are CNet and ZDNet. Millions of people are aware of security threats yet they share online data with friends on numerous social networking sites.

Tips for Installing Free Download

It is possible to enjoy the benefits of free software without putting your system at risk. Here are some simple but effective tips to follow before carrying out a free download:

  • Check authenticity: Try to download only from sites that display an authorization certificate. TRUSTe is one of the organizations that certify software vendors and provide ‘trusted seal’ logo for display.
  • Examine source: Search for the original source before you download any software from the Internet. It can be a company or an individual who has provided this content. If it’s a company, you should read the license agreement for verification. Also, examine the privacy and security measures applied by the company or the individual.
  • Do not download widgets from social networking sites. They may contain adware or spyware applications.
  • Avoid file sharing with online friends who are not your personal contacts. There is no mechanism to test the identity of online friends.
  • Advanced virus or spyware removers carry out a security check before you download an application. Once a high quality virus remover is installed, you can be at ease from potential security threats.

Lots of free downloads continue to mushroom on the Internet. It is your choice whether to put your system at risk or not. Whatever you choose, follow these tips when you go forward with free software download installations