One web site that I trust and always use before I download anything or even before clicking on a link is called 'Web Of Trust' (aka. WOT) and you should sign up to it at: www.mywot.com. They rate websites and let you know if the site is trustworthy and provide warning alerts for the untrustworthy ones. All safe web sites appear with a GREEN CIRCLE beside their links when you do searches in your browser(s). A few weeks ago I clicked on a link that WOT warned me about that had a Trojan Horse virus! Also, a web site that I trust and often download freeware and software from is CNET and here's the link: www.cnet.com.
*Microsoft Security Essentials: Is an excellent award winning FREE ANTI-VIRUS program with spyware protection, just click here to download it: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/products/security-essentials. Computer owners who have issues with ISP (Internet Service Provider) anti-virus programs are now uninstalling it and using Microsoft's. NOTE: In order for Microsoft's anti-virus program to work with Windows Operating Systems (XP, Vista and 7 or 8) you must have a genuine copy of Windows installed, meaning it can't be an illegal bootleg (aka. pirated copy). To check to see if your Windows OS is genuine click on this link: https://www.microsoft.com/genuine/validate/, then click on 'Validate Now'. Once the validation completes you'll see: 'Welcome to Windows! Because Windows installed on your PC is genuine enjoy the security, reliability and protection it provides' (with the option to download Microsoft Security Essentials).
Please also note that before you decide to validate that if your Windows OS is not genuine that Microsoft will now know. Of late, Microsoft has been contacting owners of pirated Microsoft software (often downloaded from pirate web sites) and they are asking people to buy authenticated licensed copies. Sometimes people aren't even aware that the Windows installed on their computers may not be legal because they bought their computer second-hand. In fact, even when a computer is purchased from a retailer, it may not have a legal Windows OS installed!!! So before you buy a computer have the previous owner or retailer validate its version of Windows for you! A pre-installed genuine version of Windows improves your computer's performance and will save you money by not having to buy a genuine copy.
*RegScanner or WinMendRegistry: Freeware. I highly recommend both of these Windows Registry Cleaners to repair your Windows Operating System (XP, Vista, etcetera) however, RegScanner has gotten a higher user review rating on cnet.com, but please read my comments below before downloading it. Both of these programs do an excellent job of ridding you of corrupted files to optimize your computer's speed and can save on your Internet download gigabyte usage, too. As soon as I use either cleaner, my network connects more quickly, my Internet browsers load faster, and my Netflix movie download time went from taking a few minutes to a few seconds!
Here's the download link for WinMendRegistry: www.winmend.com, click on the 'Freeware' tab then click on download directly under 'WinMendRegistry Defrag' 1.4.1. NOTE: If you opt to download RegScanner instead of WinMendRegistry, make sure that you have an UNZIP program installed on your computer before downloading RegScanner so that you can convert its .zip file into an .exe (executable file) since an .exe file format is always needed to install ALL software. CAUTION: NEVER click directly on or right-click on 'Open' on a .zip file since it hasn't been converted to an .exe file yet, because it will open your Internet Explorer browser continuously...very annoying!!! Once you have an UNZIP program installed (a good one to use is '1StepUnZip', see its link below) then it's okay to right-click on the .zip file then select 'Open with 1StepUnZip. Here's the link for RegScanner: http://www.cnet.com/1770-5_1-0.html?query=regscanner&tag=srch.
*NetLimiter MONITOR. Freeware that monitors your internet usage. This utility is especially helpful if your own ISP (Internet Service Provider such as Rogers, AOL) monitor stops working, just keep this monitor active to prove your usage. Here's the download link: http://www.netlimiter.com/download.php, and the NetLimiter Monitor Freeware is the last on the list in the middle of the page, and you'll see this: NetLimiter 2 Mon: and 'Download 32 or 64 bit', then the word FREEWARE beside it.
*1StepUnZip. I found this unzip software to be the easiest to use for your downloaded zip files to easily convert them from a .zip file to an .exe (executable) file. Here's the download link: http://1stepunzip.com/?ref=10079&where=program. They offer a free trial period, then if you choose to buy it it's only $19.95.
To view SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE: Tip #2. Software and Hardware Internet Retailers