Web services and more
It used to be the case that software was something you only bought. It was available as a CD (or even in diskettes). Today, many software acquisitions (whether by purchase or for free) are exclusively downloaded.
Today, there is virtually no excuse for vendors to not make it easy for you to download and use software. Most software comes with installation wizards that will guide you through the process and execute the program so that you can begin using it right away.
Most people are tempted by things that purport to be free. When downloading software, we recommend that you are very selective when it comes to playing around with free downloads and with sites that offer you anything for free. You can read more about this in our discussion of free software downloads.
Many companies will give you the URL (the address you type into a browser window) of the web page you need to go to in order to find downloads you need.Software Download Cautions
Be sure that you trust the source you are downloading from. There is no shortage of spyware and other nefarious sources who will tell you that you need to download their software in order to clean your registry or remove spyware or any of a number of other seemingly critical error fixes. Many of these will claim to be from a reputable source such as Microsoft. You do need to update your software regularly but you will always return to the right source in order to do this. Be doubly sure you trust the source before you download any file that has the extension .exe or any other file name with which you are not familiar. Read more about anti-virus software.Downloading Microsoft software
Microsoft has its own advice, and their advice boils down to this: be cautious, and if you suspect anything wrong with the message, delete it and go to the Microsoft site to find out about any truly critical updates that are available.
- Never open an e-mail attachment that claims to be a software download.
- All legitimate notifications have a valid Microsoft address.
- You can read more of their advice on verifying the legitimacy of a security notification.