What is the best place to download free software from?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by HandsOff, Jan 4, 2013.

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  1. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    For example, say I want to download the latest version of AMP Font viewer. This has always been a useful free program that I install on all my computers. And now that I have a new computer I am installing all of my old faithfuls. I always have the old versions, and could install them, but I usually attempt to get the latest version. Here is the thing...

    I don't think I understand the reason why so many different sites will provide downloads. Some sites seem to want to use some downloading software that you must install first. Some don't seem to have latest versions. Some seem to rate software in a way that does not seem impartial. Some make you jump through hoops and ask you non-relevant things, serve you pop up windows and ads, or have to do with torrent or something.

    I just would like to know who can be trusted out there for quick and painless downloads of programs I like, and maybe even a first place to look for a new free program.

    I know one does not like to slam anybody, but is there anything I should be watching out for?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    -HandsOff

    P.S. - Just for fun, three free programs I always install are:

    1) XnView -Image viewer, editor, and file type converter
    2) Softmaker 2006 Office Suite (was free MS Office compatible)
    3) AMP Font viewer - For viewing and organizing fonts
    4) Wordweb - online and offline dictionary (that's three, right?)
     
  2. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    Well, none of my suggestions will be 100% junk-free, you need to be a bit careful no matter where you download from. That said, Softpedia is not a bad place to start. You can find many well-respected programs there, plus "up and comers"..though these can sometimes be the junk ones. If there are reviews from Softpedia on a program, generally positive reviews from them will tell you what to expect. User reviews are user reviews and should always be taken for what they are.

    FileHippo is another spot to look for things, Majorgeeks too, though I don't much care for MajorGeeks myself as a preference.
     
  3. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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  4. PJC

    PJC Very Frequent Poster

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    What is the best place to download free software from?

    Softpedia, FileHippo, and MajorGeeks.
     
  5. Tyrizian

    Tyrizian Registered Member

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    I tend to stick with:

    1. Softpedia.com
    2. DownloadCrew.com
    3. SnapFiles.com
    4. FreewareFiles.com

    I highly recommend the above, all are trusted sites and provide plenty of downloads.

    I avoid the following:

    1. CNET Downloads - download.com

    The above site (as I'm sure you know), has tons of tracking/ads, bundles its very own pre installer/adware with downloads, software isn't always listed as up to date and has been known to list malware.

    I highly recommend not to visit or get your downloads from CNET.

    How CNET isn't listed as a bad site is beyond me.
     
  6. NSG001

    NSG001 Registered Member

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    My current fave is:
    http://portableapps.com/

    However for run of the mill updates:
    filehippo.com using their updater.
     
  7. Krysis

    Krysis Registered Member

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    I'm with the others! - Softpedia - Filehippo - Major Geeks and Freeware Files! I no longer download anything from CNet Downloads, (because of the stub installers that try and unload extra unwanted stuff onto you) but I like checking the user comments on various programs - some of the 'rants' you get are hilarious! It's like a 'Arrrrgh' forum! :D
    I was going to suggest Tekhseven.net for mobile phone apps, but I just noticed they've been hacked!!! Sheesh! :gack:
     
  8. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    Oh, one thing about these sites, be sure to check the file versions. Softpedia for instance will sometimes say they have the newest version of something, but the download will be a previous version. And yes, stay away from CNET Downloads. They have a great news site, but their downloads site is pretty crappy due to the custom installers they pack.
     
  9. Feandur

    Feandur Registered Member

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    (1) No exactly on-topic, but if I'm looking for an application to do a particular function, I go first to Gizmo's Freeware Review site. http://www.techsupportalert.com/ . This provides moderator reviews as well as user comments about a large amount of free applications ..... with links to their home pages.

    (2) My all time favourite site to download from is the developer's home page itself .... even in preference to mirrors.

    (3) Another site I visit from time to time is SourceForge
    http://sourceforge.net/

    - cheers,
    feandur
     
  10. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    TechSupportAlert is on-topic in my opinion. Provided the categories have a moderator that is active, you'll know exactly what you're going to get into with a program. Best of all, everything there is free. SourceForge can be iffy. There are a lot of projects there that don't seem to be active.
     
  11. Baedric

    Baedric Registered Member

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  12. Johnny123

    Johnny123 Registered Member

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    I also prefer to use the developer's homepage. Otherwise Softpedia and the others mentioned are all good. If you can read German, heise online and chip.de have a great selection of downloads, usually with good screenshots.

    BTW, take a look here, Softmaker has a free version that's newer than 2006, I believe it's the 2010 version: http://freeoffice.com/en
     
  13. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    One other place to keep in mind is Completely Free Software (CFS) ... while it's primarily devoted to games, there's a fair selection of other kinds of apps too.

    At one time they charged a (nominal - $15/yr) membership fee to access downloads, then required that only for files hosted on their own servers, and somewhere along the line dropped memberships entirely.

    Probably their best feature is that Mr. Pockett refuses to list pseudo-freeware (shareware or limited-time or -function trial versions), and is meticulous about noting in his reviews any adware or other bundling included.
     
  14. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    Softpedia, FileHippo, Major Geeks, and FileForum have all been great download sites for me but lately, for most of my downloads, I now tend to go to the developers' website.

    -And-

    Like others who have already posted, I stay away from Cnet downloads.
     
  15. woomera

    woomera Registered Member

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    Softpedia.com
     
  16. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    It's probably best to download from the developers webiste so you can be sure you get the very latest version.
     
  17. Wild Hunter

    Wild Hunter Former Poster

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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  18. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    I just had a look at download.com and started a few downloads. It appears that they are not using their own download manager any more.

    In the past, you could avoid using the download manager, as under the main download link there was always a link to download the orignal installer. Something that was very easily missed.
     
  19. niki

    niki Registered Member

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    Developer's site and MajorGeeks for me.
     
  20. encus

    encus Registered Member

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    For downloading : softpedia
    For searching user comments : cnet.
     
  21. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    I agree that downloading from developer's site is a good practice for file integrity and getting the latest version. However, there are cases where you might want to use a 3rd-party download site...

    Some developer sites may ask you for email address (you can throw in disposable ones). Some may redirect the download to a mirror that you may not favor (e.g. CNET). Some don't make it easy for you to find what you really need...let's say a freeware or "lite" version of a program. Worse still, the developer's site may be down. Even if none of those isn't the case, downloading from 3rd-party sites may help to save bandwidth costs for some developers.

    Reviews and recommendations of free software:

    Finding the right program for what you need is tricky business. Reviews and recommendations go a long way in helping one to sieve out the good ones from the many.

    Gizmo's Freeware deserves the top spot in my opinion. The site consists of editors that are in charge of certain categories.
    FreewareGenius is another. It's mainly a one-man blog.

    Recommended download sites:

    Softpedia
    - has a large selection in it's catalog and most of the downloads are clean.
    - Great for: informs you of the "Limitations" if the software is a 'Demo' and it usually has a note on the bottom of the page advising you of what it does during installation if the software is 'Ad-supported' .
    - usually have the latest versions listed, sometimes faster than some other download sites.

    FileHippo
    - has a smaller selection which are mostly freeware but consist of commercial demo/trials too. Their list consist of the most popular/known programs in respective categories.
    - Great for: it's archive of older versions of programs.
    - Note: Ketarin users can use FileHippo to get downloads.

    Majorgeeks
    - doesn't have as large a selection as other sites but most of the software listed are "hand selected" (to quote their own words).
    - Great for: a good resource mainly for geeks and techies since that's what their main focus seems to be. While I'm not really a fan of it's page design and layout, the 'Files' categories listed on the left side of the page sort of makes up for it - it makes it easier to find the tool for the job.

    AfterDawn
    - lesser known than many others but deserves more look in my opinion
    - quite a wide selection of software listed
    - Great for: it's archive of older versions of programs. It has much more than FileHippo.
    - I personally think of it as 'mashup' of Softpedia and FileHippo.

    The above download sites list all sorts of software regardless of license/price. While you can limit your search to 'free' software only, some users may prefer to browse through dedicated freeware listing sites.

    Dedicated freeware listing sites:
    FreewareGeeks; A+ Freeware; Freeware Guide; Freeware Guide (Native 64-bit)

    Last Freeware Version:
    Last Freeware Version

    DonationWare:
    DonationCoder

    Free and Open-source software:
    SourceForge; Google Code Hosting

    Giveaways:
    Giveaway of the Day; DownloadCrew Giveaway; BitsDuJour Giveaway; Softpedia Giveaway;
     
  22. Mman79

    Mman79 Registered Member

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    If we had the ability to create stickies, I'd nominate that post, Safeguy :thumb:
     
  23. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    @Safeguy :thumb:
     
  24. ComputerSaysNo

    ComputerSaysNo Registered Member

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    GREAT post:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
     
  25. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Thanks, Everyone!!!

    Really great info, and I will save the entire thread on my drive for easy reference. You have confirmed some of my suspicions, and also added several new resources.

    Setting up a new computer is always a bit of task for me because I get used to having a lot of capabilities. Almost every time I start the computer I install at least one more program. It can be fun though, too, to be honest.


    Thanks, again!
     
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