There are lots of free Windows software download sites, but are they safe? Every time you download something, chances are you are downloading malware or a virus. Sure, you have the best antivirus app, but that doesn’t mean it should do what it shouldn’t.
Many Free Software download sites are loaded with malware. Here are the safest sites you can rely on when you need free software downloads.
There are many places on the Internet to download free software, but not all of them are safe. Lots of sites take advantage of people looking for free downloads and are also full of malicious ads, fake virus warnings, or tampered with files.
While good antivirus software will protect you from these bad sites, it is better to completely avoid these fake free download sites and download from trusted sites. Let’s look at some of the best and safest sites to download Windows software.
1. Official Site
To compile this list, I researched sites like WOT, VirusTotal, Norton Safe Web, URLVoid, and ScanLL. At the time of writing this, none of the download sites showed any problem on website checkers.
Before we get to the websites that offer the many different Windows software, it’s worth remembering that the safest place to download the most popular software is often right from their official website. If you want to download a browser, security suite, media app or similar app, it doesn’t get more secure than its homepage.
Ninite are simple. The website presents you with a list of programs to select from, and you check check boxes for all the apps you want. Then, clicking the Download button will download a custom installer file that bundles all the selected programs together so that you can install them in bulk.
Ninite is known for its defense and protection. It automatically removes toolbars and extra junk, runs in the background, and doesn’t require you to click Next more often. Thus, there is no risk of malware or bundled garbage. Running the same installer file afterwards will automatically update everything you originally downloaded. While there are only a few dozen apps on Ninite, it has the most popular Windows software like Chrome, VLC, Zoom, LibreOffice, and others.
Softpedia is one of the biggest download sites; It has provided over three billion downloads over the years. The most popular applications are updated every day, so you can have the cleanest and malware-free software that’s been possible recently.
On top of that, it has an easy-to-use interface that makes it painless to browse for programs on any platform. You can browse for the most recently updated apps here or search using filters like categories, last updated and cost. In addition to Windows, you’ll also find Mac, Linux, and Android apps.
Even though the site looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1990s, MajorGeeks has been one of the most respected software download sites for some time now.
Its list of Top Freeware Picks is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to browse the left sidebar and look through all kinds of highly-rated programs you can find. Otherwise, Search will help you find what you’re looking for.
FileHippo is a well-known site that has dozens of active programs divided into several categories. If you don’t just want to download the desktop software, there’s also a repository of web apps.
The site will sometimes prompt you to download another app (such as Opera) before you ask. But these are clearly labeled to install additional apps while installing, which are easy to skip, and do not suggest malicious software.
FileHippo also supports older versions of the software. It’s a useful option to run when you don’t usually install older software (for security reasons), but when you’re having issues with the latest version.
6. Download Crew
Each app page of Download Crew’s website will have short but informative descriptions for you to read about it, which will be of great help to you. These are written by real time users and not simply copied and pasted from the seller’s website. You can find out what each app does, as well as any flaws it may have.
The top section has featured downloads, making it a good place to start. It has a robust list of software license options, including open source, trialware, and more. It lets you drill down in absolutely free software.
7. File Horse
FileHorse doesn’t have a huge repository of software. Instead, the site focuses on stocking the best and most useful programs. Each product page has screenshots so you know what to expect, version compatibility, a changelog, links to older versions, and more.
Because the homepage is divided into a relatively small number of categories like video software and cleaning and tweaking, it’s also a good place to find reliable alternatives to popular software.
FilePuma has a very basic interface and focuses on simplicity. Search for software you’re interested in, or browse through its categories to find something new. Since the categories have the most popular tools on the homepage, it’s easy to see what’s on offer.
Apart from older versions and screenshots, there isn’t much on the product download page. The only other standout feature is FilePuma’s update detector, which makes it easy to check for installed updates for software on your PC. However, what isn’t available for Windows 10 here limits its usefulness.
SnapFiles looks a lot like the other download sites we’ve shown, but it has some cool functions that make it worth a look. One of these homepages is a freeware pick, which highlights some software you might not know about. And under More at the top of the page you’ll find a Random Pick, which is also great for searching.
There’s also a dedicated page for portable apps, which is handy if you want to run apps without having to install them. Snapfiles also provides user reviews on software download pages, and warnings on apps that try to install bundled software.
Nirsoft is a freeware utility site that was currently created by a guy named Nir Sofer. Each of the utilities is completely free and is usually very small in size. This is because each utility is designed to perform one and only one function. For example, some of the most popular utilities on the site are password viewers, which will show you passwords stored on your computer and browser, etc.
Of course I would have skipped adding to this list some other reliable software download sites where you can download applications without worrying about custom installers and other wrapware. But you should always be careful when you are downloading and installing a software. Furthermore, even the sites listed here are not always right for everyone and are likely to change as time goes on. So being a little careful never hurts.