Moving programs and data files from one computer to another has been one of the main purposes of the Internet right from the beginning, and it remains so today.
Your Internet Explorer Web browser does a fine job of handling "FTP" - File Transfer Protocol. That means that you can use it to transfer programs and files from hundreds of download sites around the world and store them on your hard disk with just a mouse click. You can get more information about downloading files on the Web.
Most of the files you'll find on the Internet are compressed to reduce download time. To use them, you'll need a decompression utility. You can get a taste of FTP and obtain one of these useful utilities right now by clicking on Stuffit Expander (for Mac users) or PKZIP (for PCs).
You can get upgrades and demo versions of commercial software from industry giants like IBM, Apple, Compaq, Microsoft, Claris, Corel, Adobe, Lotus, Macromedia and others. You can download wonderful photos from space and paintings from the Louvre (click on "English" when you get there if your French is rusty). As you surf the Web you'll find all kinds of goodies.
There is no charge for anything you download (unless, or course, you give somebody your credit card number first). That doesn't mean that everything you download is yours to use for free indefinitely, however. Much of the software available is " shareware," which you are expected to pay for if you continue to use it after a trial period.
There are several huge shareware archives online, such as www.shareware.com.
Well, they're out there, and one could find its way onto your hard drive. Your computer can't be "infected" just by browsing the Web, but downloading programs and running them is another story. Computer viruses aren't much of a problem until one happens to you.
You can get more info on computer viruses on the Web, and you can download anti-virus software for Macs, Windows 3.1, and Windows95.
Return to PhoneTech FAQ page