If you download from known, trusted sites, you should be perfectly okay. At least that's been my experience over the many years of downloading and running files only from known trusted sources. And as long as you have a sound reliable backup plan in place, recovery from a rare malicious file should entail nothing more than a trivial inconvenience. Also keep sensitive data off the machine you use for running all those downloads, or at least keep it on a separate encrypted partition. BTW, I don't participate much in these discussions anymore because I've become rather bored after so many years of trying numerous security approaches but never experience anything that breaks through them. The threat, at least for me, seems virtually non-existent as long as nothing more than just basic security measures are followed. My teenage daughter's laptop has Sandboxie containing her browser, but a while back she decided to run some gimmicky installers (at least one of which was a toolbar) outside the sandbox and infected her computer. She failed sandboxie; sandboxie did not fail her. But alas, I have a sound backup plan for all our household computers and merely had to replace her pooched system with a fairly recent backup, ran some latest MS updates, and she was back in business in short order. She learned from it as well, so she now knows better not to run such gimmicky installers again.