What's the Safest Way To Download Software?

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Mrs. Lynne wants to know how she can download software and be certain she's not getting something malicious.

There's no way to be certain, but a few precautions can reduce the chance considerably.

First, only download from reputable sites, such as pcworld.com (sorry for the plug, but it really is a reputable site). Tucows, Jumbo, and Download.com are also dependable.

Another option: If you know what program you want, go to that program's own site. Unless the program itself is malicious, it's not likely to be infected there.

If you browse with Firefox 3, you've got added protection. The browser scans downloads--using your own anti-virus software--before it lets you get to the file.

And speaking of your own anti-virus software, always keep it up to date. It should--and in most cases probably will--stop you from opening anything evil.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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