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Freeware for Windows XP: Facts about Freeware and the Best Sites to Get Them

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/2/2010

Freeware for Windows XP exist all over the Internet. Not all freeware is good for your computer. There are certain things that you should know about freeware for Windows XP before downloading free software. The article also looks at some of the best websites to get free software for Windows.

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    Freeware for Windows XP - An Introduction

    Almost every download website offers freeware for Windows XP. You should download free software for Windows XP or later versions only from sites you trust. Most of the software is designed for Windows XP or the later versions of the operating system. You can also find some free downloadable software for the Windows 7. Just because you can download any software without paying anything does not make it freeware. Before you download any software, you should know the differences among types of free software that you download.

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    Types of Software that can be Downloaded without Paying Anything

    Fee downloads for Windows XP or later versions can be shareware, limited functionality software, or freeware. On most websites, it looks same that you download free to use software for Windows. Other, reliable sites clearly cite the category of free to download software for Windows XP. It is necessary to understand the difference before you download free software.

    A) Shareware: Shareware is also available for free download. The main intention behind offering a free download of the software in this category is to give you an idea of how the software works. You can use all the features of the software for a particular period and then decide whether or not to buy it. Shareware freezes most of the features after the specified period if you do not pay for using it further. In other words, the software will be virtually useless until you pay for it after the trial period. Most of the shareware available direct from the Microsoft portal offer you a test period of four to eight weeks, and thereafter you pay to continue using it or you remove it from your system.

    B) Limited Functionality Software: Software in this category is also available for free downloads. However, most features of the software are not available until you pay for the key that releases all the features to make it fully functional.

    C) Freeware: Freeware is software that you can not only download without paying anything, but also use it for as long as you want. However, there are certain drawbacks associated with the freeware. For freeware that you download from websites other than the Microsoft, there is not much support available in case you need help. Most freeware does not even come with proper documentation. On the other hand, there are some freeware applications that really help and are designed so that the user can use it without much trouble.

    Caution: Most of the freeware for Windows XP can also carry a malicious code. I highly recommend you scan any software before you install it after the download.

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    Not all freeware for Windows XP can be used on all systems. The freeware for Windows XP may or may not function on your computer. Before you download free software, check out the system requirements so that you do not regret it later. In some cases, the system requirements are not visible before you download the free software. Such freeware for Windows can be considered ill-coded and its better to forget them. Once again I iterate that you should download free software only from sites that you trust so that your machine is not affected.
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    Freeware for Windows XP: Things to check before Downloading

    Plenty of sites all over the Internet offer freeware meant for Windows XP. Most of them are screen savers, system tools, games, music and video players, and system optimizers among many other categories that cover almost everything related to computers. The very term “free" means that you can download the software just to test it. However, it is better to be careful and check a few things before you download anything, because downloads are time consuming and you need to make sure the freeware you are downloading will be useful to you.

    A) Compatibility of the Software

    First of all, it is necessary to check the compatibility of the freeware you want to download. Software developed for Windows Vista or Server may not run on a PC operating on Windows XP or vice-versa. For some freeware, you can set the compatibility mode to Windows XP before you install it. You can do this by right clicking on the installer to select properties and then the compatibility tab on the properties dialog box. However, this does not always guarantee that the downloaded installer will be able to install the freeware on your computer running on Windows XP.

    B) System Requirements

    Check on the system requirements of the freeware before you download the software. This is to make sure that the freeware will install and run properly on your system. If the system requirements specify something other than what you have on your system, it would be a waste of time trying to download and install the freeware.

    For example, the Adobe Premiere Trial needs 1 GB of RAM to run properly. There is no use spending several hours to download the software as it will not install on the computer that has only 512MB of RAM.

    C) Dependencies

    Some freeware requires the support of other software before they can be installed and used. For example, if you are downloading a game that is Java based, you need to install Java before you run the installer. Similarly, to install the trial version of Adobe RoboHelp, you need the .NET framework on your computer. Make sure you download and install the dependencies before you install the freeware.

    Again, some of these dependencies can be freeware or paid software. Very often, you will not find the dependencies in the general system requirements listed on the website from which you are to download the software. You will have to read the reviews of the freeware at other websites to find out if it needs any supporting software.

    Risks Associated with Freeware for Windows XP

    As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of websites across the internet offering freeware. As such, not all the websites can be trusted blindly. Even though the intentions of the website may be good, certain freeware can contain tools such as malware and spyware, etc. that send your private information to the developers of the software – or to malicious third-party agents. Screen savers, games, and system tools that claim too much have the biggest chance of containing spyware.

    While most websites check for the reliability of the freeware before making it available for download, it is highly recommended that you take your own precautions. The first thing you can do is to read the reviews of the freeware before you download the software. After downloading the software to the local computer, run a scan on the installer and other related files to make sure that the freeware is safe to install.

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    Free software for Windows XP is available at many websites. Know the pros and cons of freeware for Windows XP before you download free software. Though free software for Windows XP is available at almost all download sites, I recommend you download free software for Windows only from sites that you trust. The page mentions some websites that offer best freeware for Windows XP. Even then, after you download free software for Windows, you should scan it using your antivirus.
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    Where to look for the Best Freeware

    The best site to look for risk-free freeware for Windows XP is the Microsoft portal. The portal offers several freeware and upgrades to the freeware. The most common freeware application is probably Internet Explorer. Among other system tools that Microsoft offers as freeware is the powerful Windows Defender. Windows Defender claims to protect your computer from malware and phishing software. There are learning tools, system maintenance tools, service packs, and much more to download from the Microsoft portal.

    You can find a huge list of freeware for Windows XP at the following URL:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/

    The URL also has Windows “PowerToys" that help you with several Windows tweaks, the latest Movie Maker software, Software Updates, as well as plenty of Windows themes, screen savers, images, and sounds, etc.

    There are several third party websites that offer freeware for Windows XP. Two of them are recommended by the Microsoft portal:

    a) http://www.freewarehome.com/ and,

    b) http://www.freeware-guide.com/

    Both of the above websites have a range of freeware for Windows XP. They include freeware from system maintenance tools to system enhancement to application software for different categories including accounting, business, communications, and plenty of other stuff. Though the Microsoft portal offers links to the above websites, it does not take any responsibility for any damages resulting due to the use of the freeware downloaded from the other sites.

    Other than these three sites, you can find thousands of websites that offer freeware for Windows XP. Some of the most famous ones are brothersoft, freedownloadcenter, downloadcenter, and cnet. You are offered all the information you need before you decide whether or not to download the software. The CNET site carries user ratings as well as editor ratings in addition to the unbiased editor reviews that help in making a decision about a certain freeware application. Still, as mentioned earlier, please use your own precautions before you install freeware for Windows XP.

Freeware for Windows XP, Windows 7 - Free Software, Microsoft Widgets for Mobile and more

This series intends to offer you with information on freeware for Windows XP and later versions. You can find information on where to find freeware for Windows XP, free software for Windows 7, and of course, Microsoft Widgets for all Windows versions including Widgets for Windows Mobile 6.5.
  1. Freeware for Windows XP: Facts about Freeware and the Best Sites to Get Them
  2. What are Microsoft Widgets?
  3. Windows 7 Themes for XP from Deviant Art
  4. How to Customize Windows 7 Desktop – Best Windows 7 Themes
  5. Freeware Registry Cleaner Roundup





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