How to Verify a File is Safe Before Downloading

How to Verify a File is Safe Before Downloading

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We all download a lot of software, files, songs, and more.  But do you know whether it is safe to download that file to your computer or mobile? Do you ever test the link before downloading?

Leaving aside the colorful banners with words like “Download here”, the fact is, we click too lightly on many links. To keep our level of security to the maximum, we shall learn how to verify if a file is safe before downloading it to your PC or Mobile.

How to Make Sure a File is Safe Before Downloading

There are basically two problems with the links we find on the Internet.

The first one is related to the shortened links – which we do not know very well where they will take us to the right path or what we are going to download. 

Secondly, any link to download a file does not provide us with too much security information.

What does a Shortened Link Hide?

The opacity of this system, which seeks to save characters, makes it possible to hide anything behind the hyperlink. Although the reality is that there are few reasons to justify its use, the fact is that they are still common on the Internet, especially in social networks and download pages.

One of the services we can use as a browser extension and is known as UnshortenIt. When we locate a shortened URL, just right-click on it and select the “Unshorten this link …” option. In a few seconds, we will see the real destination of that link.

If we prefer a web service and do not walk with extensions, we can turn to Unfurl.

Here, we have to paste the link in the text box enabled and click on “Check it”. In a few seconds, we will have the actual link that is “hidden” behind that shortened address.

For iOS, we can use the free application X-ray URL and for Android, we can count on URL Manager. In all the cases, the idea is the same and is none other than to detect what is hidden behind a link.

What to do after Getting the Hidden Link? 

However, once we have unmasked the legitimate links that hide behind the shortened URLs, it’s time to see where they really lead us. 

Although we have no suspicions, the method that we explain below can save us to know the truth and prevent malware from entering your computer.

It is true that all this is worthless without following the main basic notions of security to protect the computer and the broadband connection. Caution, before downloading any file from the Internet will always prevail over anything else and is vital to get away from the problems.

1. Download the link to analyze.

To keep going, the first thing we have to do is to get the download link we need to analyze. We speak of the link to the direct download, not being valid the link of the web or the section in which we are. For example, if we are going to download a video, the complete URL will end with something like “.avi” or “.mkv”, whereas, if we download a Word document, the address will end with “.doc”. This link can be easily located by placing the mouse over the link.

2. Click on “Copy link address”.

Once you have placed the mouse there, right-click and click on “Copy link address” in Google Chrome, “Copy link” in Microsoft Edge, or “Copy link path” in Mozilla Firefox. If we use another browser, we find a similar option in all of them.

3. Open in a new tab.

Once the link is copied to the clipboard, open in a new tab. In the URL tab, paste the address of the download and click on the icon in the form of a magnifying glass. VirusTotal will download a copy of the file on its own servers and analyze it thoroughly.

If the download is secure, you can see the message “No engines detected this URL”. In addition, we will see a text marker with something similar to 0/65 indicating that the file has been marked as malware by 0 of the 65 antiviruses used to analyze it. However, we must be careful with this, since recent malware may not yet be covered by the tools used by Virus Total.

If that number changes by something like 3/65, we can be faced with a false positive or really an infected file. If we get a result like this, we can see more details if we scroll on the page and we see the antivirus that has thrown that rating.

4. Integrate VirusTotal into the browser.

Finally, we can integrate VirusTotal into the browser thanks to the extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and  Internet Explorer

In this way, we can directly access the scanner to know if a file is safe before downloading it to your PC or Mobile. 


I hope this article helps you to download safe and virus free files to your PC and Mobile.

If you still have any queries let us know in the comment section. We will do our best to solve all your queries as soon as possible. If you find any other tool to check the links, then write them in the comment box and will include them in our article.