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Shareware - What is it? How do I get it? How do I use it?

Revised 7-6-16

ShareWare is Software that is provided without charge by the author for the specific purpose of trying it out in order to decide if you want to use it. As with all software, there is a licensing agreement. You are licensed to use the software under the conditions set by the author. This usually includes the right to distribute the software in it's original condition. Most authors do not allow other programmers to modify and redistribute their programs. There are some that do, especially in the software area of Unix and Linux which are operating systems that are an alternate to Windows.

Shareware has conditions included in the contract that allow the user to use the software for a limited period of time, usually 30 days, but may vary by author. If you want to continue using it after the free period, it is expected that you will send the author a fee stated in the order form. Most Shareware is much less expensive than commercial software. It can be any amount stated by the author.

Shareware imposes a variety of conditions to encourage the user to send in a registration fee. Some allow continued use of the program, but starting the program brings up a Nag Screen reminding you to register. Once registered and entering a code, the screen does not continue to display. A good example of this is WinZip, A program for unzipping compressed files downloaded from the web. Another example is Paint Shop Pro by Jasc Software. 2006. PSP is now owned by Corel & all of Corel's products provide a 30 day trial period. This includes Corel Draw & Corel Wordperfect Office & many others. Just click on the Free Trials link.

Some Shareware will limit use by restricting certain features only available in the registered program. You may be limited to using it a limited number of times or not allowed to print or some other feature disabled.

Another way some authors try to entice you to register is to offer additional programs as a part of the registered version.

In any case, the conditions and expected registration fee are usually openly stated. Feel free to download and try a variety of programs. If you decide you don't want the program, you are expected to delete it. Note the Barrettism below. This is the easiest way to uninstall unwanted programs.


Always back up your data before doing any maintenance.

You should be doing regular backups anyway.

There is usually Shareware that will do the jobs that commercial software will do and at lesser cost. Look at the sites in the links provided below in the category you want and you'll be surprised at the number of programs available.

How do I get it?
Follow this link to the instructions for getting FreeWare. The process and sites are the same.

How do I use it?
Follow this link to the instructions for using FreeWare. The processes are the same.


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