How to tell if a file is safe before downloading

There are several antivirus programs you can use on your PC to find out if a file downloaded from the internet has any more serious malware or viruses before you install it. The problem is some files can be dangerous just from being on your computer even without any kind of installation. The good news is that there are some software and websites you can use to check if what you want to download is safe or not before you even start downloading. You can check out our top tips on the subject below!

Check files before downloading

First of all, it is very important to remember that you should always take basic precautions when downloading files from the internet, as simply accessing a malicious website can harm your PC. Try to look for sites that are known or have a large active community, as there are more chances of finding safe files there.

Still, it's always good to check the content you plan to download. To do this, we will use a site called VirusTotal (you can access it at this link), which belongs to Google and can easily detect potential threats.

For starters, we will need the direct link of the desired file and not just the url of the website where it is hosted. You can achieve this by going to the file download button, right-clicking and selecting the "Copy Link", "Copy Link Address" or "Copy Link Location" option, depending on the browser you are using.

Then go to the VirusTotal website and click on the "URL" tab to proceed.

You should now paste the previously copied link into the text box available on the screen.

To verify, click on the magnifying glass icon next to the link, as shown in the image below.

This will allow VirusTotal to scan the file immediately. The time taken for this analysis will depend greatly on file size, so lighter ones will be much faster.

Anyway, in a short time you will be able to see the full analysis and if any external program has ever encountered a problem with it or not.

In our example, we used a file from a trusted site and no viruses or malware were found, as you can see in the image above.

The process is quite simple, but of course even in such cases it is always good to scan the file with your antivirus after you have already downloaded it to your computer.

Did you like the tips?

We gave you our tips for learning how you can check file security before downloading them to your computer. Be sure to leave your comment telling us if everything went well or if you had any questions.

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