There's no such thing as a free lunch. And, there's no such thing as truly free freeware. You may not pay the author of the freeware, but you could be paying for it in other ways. While there are some great freeware programs, there's often a catch when it comes to downloading or installing or updating. Here are just a few of the potential issues.
The free version is limited.
Take some file sharing software, for instance. When you download the free version, you get 2GB of storage. That's a good size for miscellaneous files but not for storing photos or larger files. So, if you want more storage, you have to pay for it. And, sure, you can get more storage by telling all your friends (and all of their friends and their friend's friends and so on) by posting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that you're using the software. Or you can an invite all of your contacts to "Try it for free!"and subject all of your family and friends and co-workers to unwanted email.
It's got bloatware or malware bundled in the installer.
Yep. Even when you download from trusted sources, you have to pay attention. Even Adobe includes extra software in their downloads. Watch the screens, read it all. Uncheck boxes or click "Decline" when faced with bundled software. And, never, never, never download something you didn't explicitly ask for. Read this article from "How to Geek" on the many perils of bundling.
There aren't any updates or technical support.
It may have been a great piece of freeware when it was written, but if you have to pay for the updates and tech support it's a security issue just waiting to happen.
All that aside, there are some great, legitimate pieces of freeware out there. But, as a business owner, should you really be trusting your network, hardware, software, banking and client information to a piece of freeware? Probably not....
Have any questions about your network and it's health? Have aging hardware that's keeping you up at night? Want help managing your business's IT assets? Call us 203.987.4566 or email us email@example.com.