How to Get Software for Free

In the last few years there has been a move towards sharing software – it’s much easier to get free software:

Each new generation of PCs and Macs comes with a wider range of integrated software packages, in an effort to convince you to buy it

There has been significant growth in the number of people developing software for anyone can Get Software for Free (freeware) or for a small donation (shareware)

The Open Source movement has become more mainstream. Open Source software is usually created by a number of software developers collaborating, sometimes countries apart. The result is professional software, regularly updated, for anyone to use for little or no charge

There are a number of different ways to get software:

Pre-installed on your machine. Some programs will already be installed on your laptop or desktop computer when you receive it. You may need to fill in some details the first time you use it, but otherwise it’s ready to use.

On disc, bought from a shop. Software traditionally comes on a CD or DVD in a large cardboard box. You can buy it from a large number of shops, including larger bookshops.

Downloaded from the Internet. You can buy software from online Internet stores and download it immediately. This is great for getting software immediately, but it can take a long time to download, and significantly impact your Internet data download quota if you have one.

Additionally, you won’t receive discs if you download software from the Internet. So you’ll have to download it again if anything goes wrong with the installation.

As a trial

Some software is available as a free trial. You’ll usually have a number of days to try it before you have to buy a licence in order to continue using it.

It’s illegal to use software on more than one machine, unless its licence allows it. In fact, modern software often uses an online database to track licence codes, which will even prevent you from installing it on another machine.