Want something for nothing? Of course you do.
Despite popular belief, you can download completely free, high-quality programs for your personal computer.
C|NET’s Download.com, for example, is one of the more popular sites to grab free software, for Windows and Macs, and all of which have been tested ahead of time for “malware” (malicious software).
As you’ll notice in this following list of most downloaded Windows programs from this week, most of them are security-related – 4 out of the top 5, in fact – offering computer users free protection against various online threats.
If you’re curious about what’s trending, and to link you to the freebies, consider the following Top 10 free Windows programs from Download.com:
1. Avast Free Antivirus – This free antivirus solution offers real-time protection against viruses, spyware, adware and other online threats. The company says more than 150 million people use Avast worldwide – not surprising, perhaps, as 1.1 million downloaded the software just last week.
2. AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 - The latest version of the Anti-Virus Guard (AVG) software designed to safeguard Windows PCs from malware. The installer file is also smaller, now at 33MB in size, down from 100MB. A web toolbar is also included, but you can opt out of it, if desired.
3. CCleaner - If you need to delete content off your hard drive before donating, recycling or trading up computers at your local retailer, this software can properly wipe all the data from your computer – including a National Security Administration-level seven-pass cleaning.
4. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - This free and speedy antimalware program can catch incoming trouble, quarantine and properly delete it – before it can affect your PC. Hard drive scans only take about 8 minutes, on average, says the company.
5. Free YouTube Downloader – A program that lets you download YouTube videos to view offline or copy over to a mobile device, such as a smartphone, tablet, iPod or other media player. This tool can also convert the downloaded file into many different formats.
6. Hotspot Shield - Surf anonymously with this trendy VPN (virtual private network) software that encrypts your online sessions, so they’re private and confidential. Without it, search engines, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and website owners can know where you're located.
7. YTD Video Downloader – While not quite as easy to use as Free YouTube Downloader (no. 5), this freebie also lets you download videos from YouTube, Vimeo and about 60 other video sites, and then convert them into a number of different file types (even MP3) to play on many different devices.
8. Virtual DJ - As you'd expect from its name, this mega-popular DJ software for PCs and Macs lets you mix and play music (or even videos), be it for get-togethers, house parties or major professional events.
9. Camfrog Video Chat – Whether you want to video chat with one friend or join a live video chat room, Camfrog is becoming an increasingly popular and free tool. While optimized for video, it's also ideal for audio chats and text messaging, file swapping, and more.
10. WinRAR – This tiny tool is a powerful compression program capable of “zipping” or “unzipping” (compressing or uncompressing) files on your computer. For example, zip up a bunch of photos into one file, such as photos.zip or photos.rar, before sending them to friend.