These are the downloads that can ruin a Windows PC

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I give a lot of advice on what to do in your digital life. I give just as much about what you shouldn’t be doing.

Take, for example, things you should never google. No, it’s not because this research is embarrassing. These malicious searches put your security and your wallet at risk. Tap or click for my list of seven things you should never look for.

Some mistakes ruin your expensive gadgets. Tap or click for five silly ways to ruin your smartphone. Looking at you, everyone without a cute phone case.

When it comes to your computer, a wandering click can spell disaster. Here are the downloads to avoid.

1. Hackers never win

You can’t always find what you want to watch on the streaming services you pay for. If you are stuck, here is a convenient way to see where something awesome is playing.

Whatever you do, don’t look to torrent sites. If you are downloading from a questionable source, you might be downloading viruses with your wanted cinema. Any clue that you should find a new source? The site you are using has an incredibly long or unusually ending URL.

Stick to the ever-growing list of legitimate streaming sites to keep you and your devices safe from hard drive-destroying malware. Tap or click for 13 options we have selected for you. These sites will serve ads, but at least they won’t freeze your computer, or worse.

2. Don’t download something you weren’t looking for

Free software, software available for free, can be a wonderful thing. Here’s the caveat: If you weren’t actively researching a particular program, do NOT download free software that you find on the Internet.

This can happen to you in an email offer or in an advertisement on a site you visit. The majority of unsolicited free software will clog your computer with junk files, give you malware, or provide entryways for hackers.

If you weren’t looking for a program, don’t trust anything when it comes your way. Try to read opinions or recommendations from sites like mine before downloading free software. Keep your eyes peeled for any unusual activity on your computer after downloading something new.

Before downloading free programs, always back up the computer in case you need to reformat your device. It’s painful, but hey, there isn’t much that is really free online or offline.

3. Cleaning up promises can be a big mess

Maybe you are getting pop-ups and advertisements about cleaning your computer hard drive. Your computer is full of documents and data that you don’t need, the pop-up shows, and free software will help you clean it up.

Click on it, click Download, and you may have just infected your PC with malware.

You need to clean your computer from time to time. In many cases, free PC cleaning utilities come bundled with adware, viruses, or other software that ends up lagging behind on your PC.

There are ways to delete junk files built right into your PC. Tap or click for a guide on safely cleaning your computer.

4. Try before you buy software

Trial versions of software are often junk. Before installing trial software, search using the software name and the word review. And there is another downside to consider.

Let’s say you like the trial software and install the full version. The trial version can stay on your computer and start when your PC does. Make sure to run Disk Cleanup to get rid of any leftovers.

Here’s how:

● In the search box on the taskbar, type Disk Cleanup and select Disk Cleanup from the list of results.

● Select the drive you want to clean, and then select OK.

● Under Files to delete, select the types of files to delete. For a description of the file type, select it.

● Select OK.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click Kim Komando’s show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.



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