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Safe downloads @ Sorry, but not anymore.

by c_t_c / January 6, 2013 5:15 AM PST

What happened to ad/spam free software? I've been using for a long time (actually, back when it was just For years I'd use c|net download area, because I liked that they said the software posted on the site was safe (and provided good links (not misdirects.)) I also like to see what other have to say about the programs, and the actual c|net reviewers give a perspective I admire. I needed a simple program to rename some files, so I downloaded 3 programs to evaluate (being exceptionally careful to uncheck any "additional download items.") After the installs, there were two additional programs installed. One, a gaming program, was a simple, straightforward removal. The other one however, isn't so friendly. WaJam has wormed its way into my nice and clean Chrome browser. Thanks for nothing c|net. Just like with so many other things, I guess c|net has decided that simple things like additional software downloads won't really bother their target market (as long as c|net was making a fractional cent off the deal.) Are you so desperate for revenue that you need the couple half cents per download to exist? Please don't tell me that it is the responsibility of the software designers to ensure their software is free of incidentals, and that you have no way of holding them accountable. How about a stringent personal verification system, combined with a zero tolerance policy for a software publisher that violates the policy? Anyone that knows anything regarding software publishing (for a living), knows that failure to be posted on c|net means an exceptionally difficult road to profit. Not to worry, I'm sure no one would notice you lack of concern for your followers. BTW: It's an amazing coincidence in the country of origin of both c|net and WaJam. I mean, when I envision cutting edge, I'm always thinking of America's top hat.

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Collapse - now among most annoyingly terrible sites
by StrandSC / January 9, 2013 4:01 AM PST

This site was top notch for over a decade; it was extremely reliable and resourceful. It was my go to site for years; I would tell all my less savvy users to use because they wouldn't get stuck with all the useless toolbars, lame add-ons, and sneaky infected files that plagued similar sites.
It has fallen so far very quickly. All the extra crap software tacked on to one download is insulting, aggravating, and underhanded. The less savvy users and people who are technically challenged who have relied on this site are the most cheated as they have no knowledge or defense against this leopard that has changed it spots.
Shame on you CNET.

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corrupted my system
by maywin26 / April 7, 2013 5:07 AM PDT

I have also used Cnet down loader for years. Not anymore. After downloading a file at the beginning of this week that corrupted my computer so badly that start-up repair no longer works. I tried every advanced debugging option I knew how to perform. Limited yes, but I have never had a problem this severe in the past. My only option was to reformat my system. Of course I didn't have the opportunity to back anything up. Fortunately I didn't have a lot of files that I lost.

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This is company that no longer has integrity.
by johnl12x / July 22, 2013 12:48 PM PDT

You are surprise after what happen CES and the Dish Hopper. I would tell people this is a safe site. You can trust it. Now no more. CNET is no longer a trusted site.

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cnet downloads no longer safe!!!
by slrohde / August 2, 2013 2:25 AM PDT

You're exactly right. I too used cnet to safely download software. Until yesterday, when I got way more than I bargained for. Halfway through the installation of what should have been a simple image resizing utility, I realized I was getting all kinds of extra junk. The nastiest bit was a thing called Top Arcade Hits, which, in addition to being a borderline malware app, also changed home pages and default search engines on all my browsers.

What a shame cnet did this.

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So, it's not just me?
by FreeBeing1901 / September 21, 2013 4:27 AM PDT

Thanks for speaking up about the download issues, c_t_c - I also got hit with that nasty WaJam - among others. I've stopped using C|net at all. Period. Done. I'm still trying to clean crap off my laptop.

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Too much junkware comes with safe downloads from CNET
by rajmash / September 26, 2013 1:50 AM PDT

I used to trust this site completely for downloading software. Today I tried to download Primo PDF from and got delta search and two other malwares. Delta Search takes over the browser and is sticky. You have to uninstall it (it protests and takes time), it takes over the home page, replaces google search and adds a delta search tool bar. All three have to be removed and it takes far too long.

This time, instead of Primo PDF, I got PDF Writer. After the problem with Delta Search, I didn't even try it. I forget what other junkware was downloaded without asking for permission.

Shame on you CNET. Now I will have doubt about your reviews too as you seem to be strapped for money to allow these vultures to download their software without permission.

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Going downhill fast!
by icantbelieveit2 / October 1, 2013 2:33 PM PDT

I had some problems before but never got to this point. After downloading a program in which I unclick the extra rubbish I had my choice ignored. Now I have my three browsers corrupted with a dark search engine I can't get rid off. I have spent considerable amount of time trying to fix this. Now I am requested to download another bugged program (I've read the reviews) to get rid of the malware?? I don't think so.
I will probably do a reinstall, I'll have to think about it. What I might not need to think about it is to trust this website again. You are letting people down and you will pay the price you built a good fame in the past but now is going the other way. It won't be long before this stories start appearing in you tube and other places. Bad publicity will be hard to shake and all for a miserable amount. If you need to make money you should look at other ways instead of ruining your name.

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Thank you for your feedback.
by CNETSupport / October 2, 2013 3:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Going downhill fast!

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience here, and we have shared your comments with the appropriate site managers.

All products on CNET are downloaded, installed, and scanned for viruses and malware before being published in our library.

Many software titles on our site do use the CNET Installer, an ad-supported stub installer or "download manager" that does offer additional, optional third party applications during the installation process, but all offers included in the Installer are likewise tested to make sure they conform with our security policies prohibiting malware, and to ensure that they may be declined or opted-out of during the download.

In future, you have a couple of options to download without using the Installer if you prefer - you can either click the Direct Download Link that is provided for all CNET Installer Enabled items, or, if you have a CNET account, completely disable the Installer for the whole site.

Read more about those options here:

For more detailed information on the CNET Installer, please visit the following resource:

You should be able to uninstall any offer(s) via your computer's Add/Remove Programs panel, but alternatively, you may want to try one of the programs listed in our uninstaller software category (keeping in mind that some do use the CNET Installer too):

The following page contains uninstall instructions specifically tailored to several offers:

And instructions for resetting the most common browsers may be found here:

If you need any further assistance, and/or if you would like us to double check a specific download, please contact our support team by filling out the form on the following page:

Jen Support

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by icantbelieveit2 / October 2, 2013 10:19 AM PDT


Jen, I have now after at least 7 hrs -if no more- restored my computer. Several options were offered on different sites, researching, reading and trying different things took an awful effort but I gave up and install an image I had losing some stuff. What happened to me and clearly to many others is a plainly malicious. I could go on about several steps of what happened there is no need. As I mentioned I declined accepting the extras but they were installed regardless but the point is that the whole download was intended to take control over part of the computer to force you using dubious results from searches but that's the tip of the iceberg.

Someone recommended you to me probably ten years ago or so and for a long time. I used to come here fully trusting you and I wouldn't dare going anywhere else for fear of catching something.

In the last year I have downloaded a few things that caused some problems or didn't work properly and yes they came with sneaky adons which I did not like but what happened this week is just too much for me.

If you do read the reviews there seem to be an endemic problem that's skyrocketing. I can't trust you anymore, I might lose files again, this time they weren't too important but they are gone anyway, who knows what else came with the download? I am not prepared to take such risks lightly. I am sure you could work out a service fee perhaps of $1 or so to avoid discouraging people but still provide you with clean programs. but for the moment I won't be rushing to use your services again. This seems to be happening mainly with programs that have been around for years and the last few versions -or updates- come with the surprises.

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icantbelieveit2, very well said.
by mopscare42 / October 5, 2013 4:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Hijack

CNET downloads are a total joke anymore and can't be trusted for downloading any kind of software. You are always going to get trash you don't want no matter how cautious you are. clicking the "Direct Download" doesn't stop the malware, toolbars etc. from being dumped on your computer.
I warned my granddaughter about this site and what it does, but she needed something for her school and downloaded a program, it took her Dad and myself 3 hours to get all the garbage removed and her laptop back to normal.
She promised it would be the last time she ever visited the CNET site.

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Now, does anyone have a better idea?
by emowrey1 / January 6, 2014 1:13 AM PST

I too have been burned by CNET. Is there ANY place I can go to get clean downloads?

AND, are there any safe, reliable sites that review things like this, so I can check them out BEFORE I use them?

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SAFE? not according to Symantec Virus protection
by AJ3657 / July 8, 2014 11:46 AM PDT

Pretty angry right now. Just looking for a simple, freeware dvd software. Instead I got viruses. You scan these before you upload them? With what, a 2001 version of virus software.

I'm calling BS. My browser was taken over, and I have spent over 8 hours cleaning my machine from a single download. Thanks Cnet (sarcasm, just in case your scanner missed it).

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