Whenever I want to download software, I try to do so from the developer website and not third party websites. Not necessarily because I trust the developer website more, but to make sure that I can snag the latest version of the program, and not an older version. Yes, even respected download portals do carry older versions of applications in their repository, especially when the release of a new software version has been very recent. Regardless of the download location, I always double-check the downloaded file online and offline before I execute or run it on the system.
There is however one thing that makes me hunt for the software on download sites, and not on the developer website. Some developers like to display surveys or registration forms to users who want to download their applications. While it is their right to do that, I personally dislike this. If I like the software a lot, I'd come back anyway and register an account to keep tabs on the development and closer contact to the developers. Forcing users to fill out forms leads in my opinion to a higher drop rate which in turn means less users that download and install the software.
Whenever I come to a site where I'm forced to fill out a form I'm immediately appalled, and tend to search for the program on portals like Softpedia or Betanews. It is not always possible to find those programs on those sites, but if I do, I download them from there instead.
One example: I recently tried to download the excellent free to use virus scanner Dr. Web CureIt from the developer site. Before I could do so, I was asked to enter my name and email. Thinking this was all, I complied, only to be greeted by a survey on the next page. Even worse, I failed to enter the captcha on that page correctly and was taken back to the start form as a consequence.
Fed up with it, I decided to search on Bing for the download and found it on Softpedia. I downloaded the program there without having to fill out a form or give away my email address. I tend to use temporary email addresses for this anyway whenever possible.
What I would have liked to see on the Dr. Web page is an option to directly download the software, and an optional registration, not the other way round.
Where do you download your software? What's your experience? Let me know in the comments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.