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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Redux: Alternatives to buying new software

Spring is over and it seemed time to update this post from a while back with new developments. At the time, I was in the process of migrating to a new computer a while back. The "new" computer being a slightly old Compaq, Windows XP machine that I was given as a gift.  I was able to upgrade to Windows 7 from XP.  It pays to check OS specs to see if this is possible. This is one way to avoid having to buy a totally new computer.

The software I was reinstalling, I found out had reached its limit. These days with online registration there are limits to the number of installs you can do from the original disk. You are also limited usually to one machine as well, so if your computer ID is different you are usually out of luck.

So, if you can no longer reinstall; if you have hit your limit, what are your options? You can buy the latest version of your software but that could be a very pricy proposition.  If cost is a concern try these options.

Open Source
Is there an open source alternative to the software you need? You would be surprised as to how fully featured some of the open source software is. In most cases the software is free with the option to donate what you wish. A good place to find open source graphic / audio and utility software would be:

This link from Lifehacker allows search by OS. Very thorough.

https://sourceforge.net/ (can search by category and OS)
When downloading watch carefully what you select.

This link is a good starter listing for open source software.

Use Linux
Being on the subject of open source, what about changing your OS itself.  No need to wipe your existing machine. A cool thing about using a Linux machine is that you can set up your computer to dual boot from either OS when installed or run it directly from a jump drive. Linux also doesn’t tax resources so it works great on older machines. The Linux distribution you select should also come preinstalled with most of the graphics / audio and utility software you will probably need. Check out the latest version of Ubuntu Studio.

Educational Versions
Educational versions of software varies from free to a substantial cost reduction from retail price. The only restriction might be use for learning only and not for use on commercial projects. Also, to get the special pricing you may need to prove you are either a student or an instructor by sending a copy of your school ID or having a educational email address. If the word gets out that you used software for commercial gain, be ready to pony up full pricing.

Used Software
Sometimes you can find used version that hasn’t been used or haven't had all the installs registrations used up. In some cases the original owner may need to notify the software company of a transfer of license to a new owner. Ebay could be a good resource for this.

The Upgrade
If you have registered your software and entered an email address, most companies will contact you whenever the new version is released and offer you an upgrade to the new version at a reduced cost. Usually much cheaper than buying the new version outright.

The Non - Latest Version
What worked in my situation was purchasing the non - latest version. Very often you can find a slightly older version of the software at a significantly reduced price. Often you will find that there might not be too much of a difference between say version 4 and 5 but the savings can be significant. Try Amazon or Ebay for this. We are talking new software that has not been opened or used it just hasn't been sold in a timely fashion. It doesn't make sense for a retailer to hang on to software that is outdated, hence savings as good as 50 to 80 percent off.  For the price of the current version of software, I purchased a non-latest software bundle (one version behind) at a huge discount, with all the functionality and two additional pieces of software for less than just the single version. You can verify price with Pricegrabber or Google to make sure you have the lowest pricing if necessary. One last cool thing is that because the software was slightly older, my machine specs worked perfectly since it didn't require the latest and greatest.

How about AppsMost apps especially graphic and audio these day have a lot of the functionality of their full blown counterparts. If you are on a Mac, Windows 10, iPad, iPhone or Andriod check the specs. The Bluestacks app player also allow you to run apps including Andriod on your Windows / Mac machines. Check it out:

Check out the Triple A Dude Archive
Take a moment and have a look at our past archive for free downloads and goodies.

Hope these tips help.
Happy hunting and don't forget to use Amazon, Ebay and Google price comparisons.


  1. Really great news!!! this information is well worth looking everyone. Good tips. I will be sharing this with all of my friends! Thank you for sharing valuable information.
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