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Dec

04

What is Try-Before-You-Buy software?

 General

One of the main reasons people use FindApp is to get try-before-you-buy software.  As I start this blog, I thought I'd take the time to explain the way it works for anyone new to the system.

Also known as shareware, try-before-you-buy software is commercial, copyrighted software.  Anyone is entitled to download and try the software, but the software has some sort of limitation on it that can only be removed by entering an activation code.  For instance, a program might only work for 15 days from the time that it is first used, and then stop working until paid for and activated.  Other software will work forever, but certain features don't work.  For example, a shareware video editor might limit the user to saving only 30 seconds of each file until it is registered.

Generally, try-before-you-buy software is activated online.  When you decide that you like the program and want to activate it, you navigate to the maker's web site, and purchase the software.  You are then emailed a "serial number" or "activation key".  Typing this key into the program unlocks all the features.  You almost never need to download a new version of the program, you simply activate your already-installed trial version.  If you lose the serial number, there is usually an automated system to send it to you again.

The try-before-you-buy model has been increasing in popularity since it was first introduced. Major companies like Microsoft and Adobe now let you download and activate their software.

An example of popular shareware is Auto FTP Manager, an file transfer program.

Auto FTP Manager Main Menu

Shareware is different from freeware.  Freeware is software that is completely free of charge.

Some software is free for personal use only.  If a business wants to use the program, they are required to purchase it.

Almost every software company has its own license terms.  It's always a good idea to read the User Agreement.

In a future blog, I'll talk about how to pick the best shareware and freeware.

That's all for now.  Thanks for reading.

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