Why you should never do a full install with downloaded software

There are a lot of handy tools that you can download from the internet. And many of them are even free of charge. But quite some times free comes with a different price. Be careful when you download software from the internet that you don’t end up with having things installed that you haven’t asked for. So here some tips.

  • Always download from sites that are "trusted" for promoting good freeware. There are many IT related magazines that offer freeware that have been selected by the publisher. CNET is an example of a reliable source.
  • Limit your download sources. Don’t shop everywhere. Find reliable sources for downloading freeware.
  • Never share your email after a download is finished and you start to install. Most likely you will end up with another newsletter that comes too often in your mailbox. If you want a newsletter then the site should have a separate signup for this service.
  • Always check the filename first before clicking it for installation. If the name doesn’t relate in any way to the one you asked for it could be something completely else. Many sites have a number of sponsored links to other software that are more prominent than the link to your selected software to download (7-ZIP is an example that occurs on many sites).
  • Look for a review of your chosen software on Google before installing it. Maybe you will find more warnings not to install it then to go for it.
  • Be careful with installing additional software for downloading the software. If the freeware you want is good there are more websites that offer it without the need for installing extra installers for downloading your software.
  • Never do a full install. A custom install mostly shows that the software will install much more than you want. See the example below from CNET



    As you can see a full installation would install a toolbar and even change your search and home page in your browser. You certainly don’t want that.

  • Never accept any other installation than the software you want. A lot of installations have a number of screens where you have to accept the installation of games. Never accept this. Most of the time it will continue the installation anyway without installing the extra don’t wants.
  • Remember your good tools. Sometimes you forget that you already have a good tool for your job and quickly look for another one on the internet. Save yourself the hassle and remember what you have installed. Better be safe than sorry.
  • Clean your PC on a regular basis. De-install what you don’t need or what you don’t use. And review what you don’t know. Sometimes you have software in your list that doesn’t ring any bells of ever installed or using it. Get rid of it. You probably won’t miss it.
  • Don’t pay for freeware! If you like it, make a donation to reward the developer, but don’t ever use your creditcard on an installation. The donation should only be done over secured payment portals like Paypal.
  • Shareware is not freeware. Shareware is mostly offered as a form for trying the full version. After a trial period you can buy the license code. But if there is a freeware version, it often will cover your needs too. So make sure that you install the version you really want.


CCleaner – great tool for cleaning your PC (freeware)

Johan van de Merwe
Dedicated to professional software development since 1985. Has worked since 1992 as IT manager in several international operating companies. Since 2007 CEO and Sencha Ext JS web application developer at Enovision GmbH.

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