Help Downloading Software

The following tips will help you overcome common download problems, find the files you want, and install them with confidence.

Is your download blocked?

As a security precaution, some browsers disable automatic downloads. In most of these cases, a "security bar" may appear at the top of the browser window informing you a download has been blocked. To continue the download, click the security bar and select the option to allow the download.

If you do not see the security bar and the download is still being blocked, adding "" (with no www) to your trusted site list often fixes the problem.

For Internet Explorer:

  1. Go to > Tools > Internet options > Security tab > and select the "Trusted sites" section.
  2. Now click the "Sites" button.
  3. Type in "" with no "quotes" and no "www".
  4. Uncheck the checkbox at the bottom that says, "require server verification..."
  5. Click Close > click OK.
  6. Click your browser's back button and click on the Download Now link again.

For Firefox:

  1. Go to > Tools > Options > Security tab
  2. Now click the "Exceptions" button.
  3. Type in "" with no "quotes" and no "www".
  4. Click Allow > click Close > click OK.
  5. Click your browser's back button and click on the Download Now link again.

Alternate download sites

If you are having trouble downloading a file from due to heavy site traffic or a bad Internet connection, we recommend trying to get the file from the download section of the publisher's home page. The process is usually very simple, and they may provide multiple download locations for you to download from. To find a publisher's download page try the following steps.

  1. Do a search on for the product you would like to download and then scroll down past the Sponsored Ads to get to the official product page link.
  2. Once on the product page, click on the publisher's name to go to the Publisher Profile page.
  3. On the Publisher Profile page, look at the Contact Info section.
  4. Generally you can click the Web site link to go to their home page.
  5. Once on their home page you should look for a download section or the designated page for your product and then look for the downloadable demo.

Saving your download

Always save your files!
Whenever you download a file, a dialog box should pop-up asking if you would like to RUN or SAVE the file. We recommend always selecting the SAVE option and then choosing your download location. At a later time, you can choose to delete any files you no longer have a need for. Saving your files will also ensure that you have a copy of the file for future reference and may help avoid a lot of unnecessary headaches and frustration.

If you decide to select the RUN option instead, your computer will automatically choose a hard-to-find location within it's temporary folders. When finished it will immediately begin to install the software or begin playing in the case of music and videos. If there are any problems when downloading, you will usually have to re-download the entire file again. This is also why we recommend always selecting the SAVE option.

Choosing a download location
The default save location for most computers is the "My Documents" folder. Unless it was intentionally or accidentally changed by the owner of the computer your files should still download there. If you cannot find the "My Documents" folder on your desktop, try going through the START menu and then clicking My Documents.

Changing download locations
If you do not know your default download location you can try this simple trick to determine where your computer is downloading your files to.

  1. Start a new file download. It can be the same program you just downloaded or another one all together.
  2. A dialog box should pop up asking if you would like to Run or Save the file > Choose Save.
  3. The "Save Window" should now open. The folder name at the top middle of the "Save Window" is your current download location.

Corrupted and incomplete downloads

If your file downloads take too long to complete, do not finish downloading, or if they are becoming corrupted during the download process, these behaviors are often caused by popular files being downloaded during the busiest online hours of the day. To reduce the chance that you files will become corrupt or damaged, please follow these suggestions:

  1. Download the file during off-peak hours. This is usually in the early mornings or after 9PM nightly.
  2. When the file download begins always choose the SAVE option. Then save the file to your Desktop or designated download folder so that it is easy to find later.
  3. If you continue to experience file corruption, try downloading the file from the publisher's home page during off-peak hours.

If you're not sure how to find a publisher's home page so that you can try to get a file directly from their download section.

Download managers, accelerators, and download speed

Download speeds:
The speed at which a file may download depends on a number of factors including the size of the file, its popularity, Internet congestion at a certain time of day, and your connection type. While we are unable to provide technical support surrounding individual user problems, we can suggest a few tips that may help you get the files that you are interested in.

  1. If you are having trouble downloading a very large or popular new release file, we recommend waiting a few days for the traffic to die down before trying to download the file again.
  2. If you are having problems downloading a file over 50 MB, we recommend that you retry downloading it during off-peak hours or when web traffic is at a minimum in your area. Off-peak hours are generally during weekdays up until 6 PM and after 9 PM.

Managers and accelerators:
At this time does not support download accelerators and download managers. Part of the effort to make our site trusted, safe, and secure was moving our files onto our HTTP Hosting servers. These files are automatically scanned for viruses during the upload process, allowing us to distribute products to our users securely and safely. In addition, our HTTP servers block all additional, unauthorized traffic from accessing our HTTP network including warez sites, and also may block certain download accelerators and download managers.

Malware and viruses

CNET has always been a leader in the Anti-Spam and Anti-Spyware initiatives and we take issues of this nature very seriously. During processing, we scan every file uploaded to our servers using the latest security software definition files. Due to the devious nature of malware, it is often difficult to determine where a virus, spyware, or trojan may have originated.

False positives
It is also very common for security software to generate "false-positive" results by misidentifying parts of a program. You can usually quickly determine whether or not your security software is giving you a "false-positive" result by doing a Google or Yahoo search for the name of the software and the exact name of the problem found. Every day thousands of people report "false-positive" malware results via message boards all over the world.

If you are interested in some free recommendations on how to keep your computer clean and free of viruses and other forms of malware, check out our list of recommended security and protection downloads.

Getting help
If your computer is infected and you need help dealing with a virus, trojan, spyware, or any other form of malware, we strongly recommend asking our technical experts for help. They combat viruses and malware every day and are excellent at researching and diagnosing these types of problems.

Reporting malware
If you believe that you have found malware in a product on, please double-check the *installation file* of the program with your security software by right clicking it and choosing the scan option. After you have verified the problem, contact us with the following information:

  • The name of the software containing the malware
  • The name of the malware as identified by your security software
  • The name of the security software you used to scan your computer
  • A link to the product page where you began your download

Our goal is to provide users with a friendly, safe, and easy-to-navigate Web site. If malware is ever found during our tests, we temporarily remove the product from our library and notify the publisher who created the software.

How to uninstall programs

Due to the sheer volume of files found on our site, we are unable to provide personal assistance for uninstalling software created by other companies. We can however recommend several different uninstallation options for our users as listed in the following resource.

Pricing and costs

There are generally two areas where costs may be associated with downloadable software, music, and videos. However, is no charge to be a member of CNET, CNET News, or All of our editorial content, including our newsletters, is 100% completely free. We also do not charge you anything to download the free music, videos, and "Try before you buy" product demos listed on

Downloading costs
Many download services will charge money to access a database of downloadable files that should otherwise be free. The majority of these services are known as "Rogue Peer to Peer" sites and considered to be online scams. Rogue P2P sites take money from unsuspecting customers for software and music files that can be downloaded using free P2P software , on , or directly from the publisher or music artist's home page. Music and software files that have met the standards of quality have also been approved for free distribution on by the music artists and software publishers.

Software license costs
Software license costs are decided upon by the software publishers and they determines whether or not an installed software product is actually 100% free to use or if it has a limited trial period before you will be asked to pay. For example, a software license may say, Free to try; $39.95 to buy. categorizes all of these types of software as either "Free" or "Free-to-try" and you can find this information on the product page.

Important note
As a rule of thumb, you should never give your credit card information to any company before you are able to download and try their software products or their service for free. If you are seeing an unauthorized charge on your credit card, we recommend calling your credit card provider for help locating the company's contact information as well as any additional support.


If you still need assistance after reviewing the our tips, please click here to open our contact form and send a message to our support team.

In the "Description" section of the form, please be sure to include the following details:

  • 1. The link to the specific page for the software you are trying to download
  • 2. Which specific link or button on that page you clicked to start the download.
  • 3. What operating system you are running
  • 4. What browser and which version you are using
  • 5. What exactly is happening when you try to download (please be specific and be sure to include any error message, in full, or a detailed description of any unexpected behavior you are seeing)

When you are done filling out the form, be sure to click the "Submit" button. You will receive an email reply from our support team, usually within 2 business days.

Related Article: Help Searching for Software
Related Article: Help Using Software
Related Article: Checksum failure when downloading files