If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This is an old saying that speaks volumes on the open internet even today.  There are hundreds of websites that offer free programs, music, or videos, but are they truly free?  We hope to show you the hidden cost of these “free” downloads, and why you should avoid them.

The internet has been an extremely useful tool in just the past 2 decades.  There are thousands of legitimate websites and companies which provide a service for their user base.  However, if you’ve ever been searching for a tool or program to help optimize your computer, then it’s likely you may have come across sites like CNET, Download.com, MegaUpload, or other’s offering free tools and software.

The problem with downloading free files online, is you can never really know what you’re getting.  When you use a site like Download.com to obtain free software, often the software comes with PUP (Potentially Unwanted Programs) like browser extensions, Ad Delivering feeds, browser bars, and even possibly viruses and malware.  You should also always scan an item with whatever Anti-Virus program you are using before installing anything you download.

You can see here just how much malware and unwanted programs this user gets from downloading the “Top 10” most wanted Free Apps:

So although many applications and sites advertise free software for your computer, know that there is a hidden cost in the form of delivering Ad’s to your computer, tracking your usage, or even infecting your computer.

When it comes to Free-ware, we recommend you avoid sites that don’t let you know what your actually downloading.  Websites that offer tools and software for your computer should clearly state what the software is, how you can use it, how big it is, and if it’s only a free trial.  There are many sites such as Periform.com, or the Omnigroup that offer useful tools you can use with your computer.

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