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Do You Download Freeware, and Is It Really Free?

Posted on 01/21/2015

Do You Download Freeware, and Is It Really Free?

In a recent study of freeware download sites, including CNet and SourceForge and many others, the How-To Geek was unable to find a single site that didn't insert adware or other unwanted material into the download.  To quote:

We were unable to find a single freeware download site that isn’t listing bundleware awfulness, and while a few of them attempt to do the right thing and alert you when something is bundled, it’s just not good enough. Nobody reads the fine print, just like nobody reads the installers when they are clicking through.

And some of these installers are extremely tricky. They move the buttons around. They change the text or, in some cases, they make it look exactly like a terms and conditions screen. They hijack browsers, insert ads, and they even use hidden services with deep dark API functions. The latest trend is pushing lookalike copies of Google Chrome with adware bundled directly into them.

The How-To Geek study goes on to describe in some detail what they experienced when downloading from ten of the "top" freeware sites.

Read about the How-To Geek research conclusions and recommendations here.