This question includes a good list of sources where an individual might collect malware samples for analysis.

I'd like to get a large number of public, non-malicious programs for the purpose of comparing various attributes to malware samples.

I have explored the following options:

  • Scraping executables from arbitrary websites with a bot. Such a bot would be rather difficult to write, not to mention being unethical, and requiring strategies to deal with anti-bot measures such as CloudFlare.

  • Using C:\Windows as a source. I spent some time looking at some Windows files. They were abundant, but all seem to perform extremely specialized functions and I have doubts about how well they would represent legitimate programs in the real world

  • Finding and downloading programs manually. This would be extremely slow and tedious, and also ineffective to get large numbers of such programs.

I suppose what would be ideal for my situation is a sort of program dump, but I'm not aware of any that exist.

As someone unaffiliated with any organisation, is there an effective way of getting a large number of public normal programs for the purpose of comparing their features to a set of malicious programs?


1 Answer 1


For Windows, I would suggest shareware aggregators, for example

and/or archive sites:

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