Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do you guarantee that this software is free of spyware/adware/privacy problems?
NO, there are no guarantees. And this list is somewhat out of date.
What do the red, yellow and green dots indicate?
Each software title on this site is colour coded according to the guide below. For enhanced accessibility in case of limited colour capabilities, the icon includes a line to distinguish between symbols.
- While the reviewed version was clean, there is something highly doubtful about newer versions. Stick to the indicated version. Software with a red dot may be removed from the list; there won't be many "reds" around.
- The software is clean, but there is something during installation you should know about. For example, optional advertising or usage feedback (well-behaved, non-aggressive) which need not be installed. Details will be given in the description.
- Nothing during installation you have to be particularly wary of. Green means go! :)
What do you call "free" software? (Only open source?)
For the purposes of this site, "free software" is any software that a home/non-commercial user can legitimately use without a time limit and without an obligation to pay or compensate via other commercial means (including advertising, subscriptions, etc). This rules out shareware and leaves most freeware, open source (e.g. licensed under the GNU GPL or BSD license), and some trial/demo software.
What other tips do you have to help keep my computer spyware/adware free?
Create a low privilege, regular user account and use it for all your day-to-day activities. Whenever possible, install software under this normal user account. Only log in to your Administrator (or root) account when you absolutely have to.
Do not download software of questionable origin, e.g. warez, cracks, adult web sites. Never download from a web site that has been advertised in spam.
Before installing new software, research it by spending a few minutes at a search engine. See if others have been surprised by unexpected problems.
Always try to download software from its official site, rather than through a third party site (this is why CleanSoftware.org links to the original sites).
Always read the license agreements for what you install. The existence of spyware or adware is often revealed in the agreements.
How do I submit software?
There is no formal submission process. I welcome feedback for suggestions, but I will not list any software until I'm familiar with it. This site really lists my personal suggestions; it is not a constantly growing reviews site. The list will not grow very quickly, as I intend to provide a reliable, stable checklist of trusted titles.
Why don't you include program X?
Not finding your favourite application listed here does not necessarily mean it's spyware infested. Rather, I'm either not familiar with the software or I'm not confident that it's clean. See the FAQ entry above.
There's tons of software out there. Why list these ones?
I'm familiar with them; I'm aware of their reputation in the community; and they have a general enough appeal to be useful to pretty much everyone in day-to-day computing (as opposed to infrequently needed software).
Your list seems Windows-centric. Where is the Linux software?
Let's face it, spyware/adware/malware is almost exclusively a Windows issue at the moment. So my aim here is to steer mostly Windows users towards clean alternatives. You'll also notice that many programs have UNIX/Mac versions. Perhaps this will help Windows users migrate away from Windows, or just get the best out of their OS.