125Everyone I know has downloaded some free software at one time or another. After all there are some absolutely great applications out there that legitimately cost you nothing. Two of my favorites are Avast anti-virus (click here) and Libre Office (click here). And there are thousands of others, ranging from music to business applications, and everything in between.

A lot of freeware applications, even when they are downloaded from recommended sources, may come with additional trial programs, web browsers as well those much-disliked toolbars. Another common side-effect is that your browser home page gets changed.

These intrusive “extras” are not going to go away as long as we expect to get something for nothing. They help fund the development of freeware programs, many of which, can be every bit as good, and sometimes better than paid-for applications.

So, what can you do to keep your computer from getting mucked-up and bogged-down?

The golden rule when loading any item of software, free or otherwise, is to never chose the “Quick’ or “Easy” installation option. Always select Custom or Manual installation, read each screen carefully before clicking Next and make sure that you uncheck those offers to install anything that you do not want or need.

If one slips by you and gets installed anyway, then make note of what it is, and go into add/remove programs in the control panel to remove it.