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What is Free Software?

Free software refers to the programs and applications available on the internet for free. Free software is made available by companies that look to entice or lure the attention of the consumers and therefore float “freeware”. The free software essentially is a basic version of an application that is already present but with fewer features than the parent application. It is usually made available to users to make them get a feel of the product so that they may buy the more advanced and the costlier version later on.

Why to Download Free Software?

Often individuals after purchasing a computer or laptop find it difficult to buy additional software. They then turn to the web where there is free software available for ready use. They only need to download it and use it. Alternatively, users find the free version of software available on the internet equally useful as the advanced version. Therefore, they download the software and use it as per their requirement.

Risks Associated with Free Software

There is an abundance of free software on the web and with the growing dependence on computers the free software is becoming more popular among the masses. However, there are risks associated with free software. The first of these risks is that the free software may be spyware which can seize the control of the computer. Such spyware can harm the computer and is spread intentionally by companies. Another of the risks with free software is that it could be adware, software which monitors the usage of the computer. Still another risk with free software could be that it could be malicious content which is virus-infected. Such free software not only infects the computer but can corrupt the entire system rendering it useless.

The risks associated with free software increase when they are available at unreliable sources. Downloading free software from websites that are known, credible and reputable is safe but one has to be quite cautious and alert in choosing such websites.

How Can the Risks Associated with Free Software Minimized?

The first thing that an individual can do to minimize the risks associated with free software is that he/she must research well. Before downloading any such software, the credibility of the source must be established. This can be achieved by finding a blog or forum where someone might have written about the software and the imminent dangers associated with downloading it. Alternatively, one could find positive reviews about the software and downloading it from particular sources.

Other than this, a precaution that every web user must follow while downloading free software is to run the anti-virus software such as McAfee Internet Security, Norton Anti-Virus or AVG Anti-Virus. The anti-virus programs when installed on the computer check for adware and spyware, keeping the safety of the computer intact.

Although there are certain risks associated with free software but that certainly does not mean that one must abstain from using them. The only thing to keep in mind is to ensure the credibility of the source from where the software is downloaded and the stability of the program so that the software does not harm the system.

   

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