While there are many places on the Internet to download free software, not all of them are safe. Many sites take advantage of people looking for free downloads to trick you with malicious ads, fake virus warnings, or even compromised files.

While good antivirus software will protect you from the worst sites, it’s better to avoid shady free download sites altogether and stick to trusted freeware resources. Let us have a look at some of the best and safe sites to download Windows software.

In addition to general reputation and personal experience, we used URLVoid to check website security. This tool checks sites against dozens of security software blacklists. Every website here scored at least 41/43 (meaning all but one or two scanners found the site clean).

1. Official Software Websites

Before we get to the sites that offer tons of different Windows software, it’s worth remembering that the safest place to download the most popular software is often from its official website. If you want to download a browser, security suite, media app, or similar, you can’t be much safer than its homepage.

Some software may still try to inflict unwanted bundle junk on you from its official website, but you can be sure that it is free of malware. If you don’t know an app’s download page, a quick Google search for “download spotify” or similar will bring up a box that will take you directly to it. Just make sure you are on the official page.

2. ninety nine

Ninety nine is simple. The website presents a list of popular programs for you to choose from, and you check boxes for all the apps you want. Then, clicking the Download button will give you a custom installer file that bundles all the selected programs together, allowing you to install them in bulk.

Ninite is known for its safety and security. It automatically dismisses toolbars and extra junk, runs in the background, and doesn’t require you to click Next again and again. Thus, there is no risk of malware or bundled garbage. Running the same installer file later will cause Ninite to automatically update everything you originally downloaded.

While there are only a few dozen apps on the Ninite, it houses popular Windows software like Chrome, VLC, Zoom, LibreOffice, and more. Keep this in mind the next time you’re setting up a new computer.

3. Softpedia

Softpedia is one of the biggest download sites around; It has garnered over three billion downloads in the last few years. The most popular apps are updated every day, so you can get clean and malware-free software that’s also as up-to-date as possible.

On top of that, it has an easy-to-use interface that makes it painless to browse programs on any platform. You can browse what’s been updated recently, or search using filters like categories, last updated, and cost. In addition to Windows, you’ll also find Mac, Linux, and Android apps.

4. MajorGeeks

Even though the site looks like it hasn’t been updated since the late 1990s, MajorGeeks has been one of the most reputable software download sites for some time.

Its Top Freeware Picks list is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to browse the left sidebar and see all kinds of highly-rated programs that you might find handy. Otherwise, searching should help you find what you’re looking for.

5. File Hippo

FileHippo is a well-known site with many active programs divided into categories. It also has a repository of web apps if you’re not quite ready to download only desktop software.

The site will sometimes ask you to download another app (such as Opera) before the one you asked for (such as Opera). But it’s clearly labeled, easy to skip, and doesn’t push shady software.

FileHippo goes ahead by offering even older versions of the software. While you generally shouldn’t install older software for security reasons, it is a useful option if you run into problems with the latest version.

6. Download Crew

Download Crew’s website stands out because of its concise but informative descriptions on each app page. These are written by actual users, not just copy and pasted from seller’s website. You’ll learn what each app does, its benefits, and any drawbacks.

The top section has featured downloads, which makes it a good place to start. It also has a robust list of software license options, including open source, trialware, and more. This helps you to know exactly what kind of free software you are getting.

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