Do you want to get quality software at a reasonable price? Whether you work at home or need good software for your computer, you are faced with an almost endless selection of computer software. Sorting through the options can sometimes be a major task. However, if you want to get good, quality software, there are several things that you can do that will save you money and headaches.
With the arrival of online marketing, you have more choices than ever. There are a large number of reputable software companies that sell software at significant savings. You can get good-quality software to accomplish your specific task with a little homework and thought.
Here is a list of twelve things you should do to save time and money on computer software.
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1. know the exact task you want your software to accomplish as closely as possible. The more specific you are, the better. For example, do you want a very general word-processing program to write occasional letters or a more sophisticated word-processing software program to run your business’s marketing?
2. Check out the minimum requirements necessary to run the software. You want to make sure it will run on your computer equipment. You should find out how much memory the program takes, what operating systems it will run on, and how much disk space is required. Is there any other computer accessory required to use the software?
3. Talk to friends and associates who have used the specific type of software you’re searching for. Ask them where they got the software, how much they paid, how long they’ve used the program, what type of guarantee came with it, etc. If you have a task that involves a deadline, like a payroll program, ask them how they could get answers to their questions and how long it took.
4. Search the Internet for reviews on the software. Look at user groups or bulletin boards to see what users say about the software. For example, if you’re looking at the QuickBooks business program, type in “QuickBooks Software Review” to locate review information about the program.
5. You should always test the software program before you purchase it. Many reputable companies will allow you to download and test their software before buying. Take advantage of the opportunity to test the program. Enter data, print reports, and give the program a real workout. Try as many options as possible. Don’t always follow set procedures. Try to experiment on your own. You want to know what the software does in a real-world setting. You want to know what happens when you make a mistake.
6. If the software provides support, you should think of a question about the program that may not be too obvious and ask permission for help. You’re much better off trying out support before you truly need help than waiting until you’re in a “must-have helped” situation. See how long it takes to get an answer. Check out how clear the response is. Ask yourself, “Did this completely resolve the problem for me?”
7. Check out the software warranty and company guarantees. A software company that stands behind its program usually guarantees its products for a specific time. It would help to get at least a 30-day money-back guarantee after purchasing the product. A 90-180-day guarantee is better. Usually, the longer the product warranty, the better the software.
8. Find out how often the company provides updates to its software. Check out the cost of getting the updates. For example, many companies will include updates with the software’s purchase price for a specific period. Companies that actively listen to their users update their software. You probably won’t get further updates if a computer program has not been updated for a long time.
9. If you get a “Freeware” software program, you need to know four things:
First, Freeware is a software program that does not cost you money. That means you will not be able to receive support from the author. You are basically on your own. Sometimes that is good. However, free software may not be your best option if you have a time-sensitive task and run into a software problem. If you miss a deadline and have to pay a penalty, that free software isn’t so cheap.
Second, Freeware I,s often an “introductory” version of a program. That means you may still have to pay for the “complete” program or the ability to use all the program options.
Third, suppose there is no charge for a program. In that case, the program may include software options that gather information about you, your computer, surfing habits, etc., and then return this information to the company via the Internet. This is sometimes called “Spyware” and can cause real problems with your computer. When you use a program to eliminate the spyware on your computer, your “free” software program may no longer work.
Finally, if you are fairly computer literate, have no specific deadlines, and know that a freeware program does not contain spyware. A freeware computer program can be a great bargain.
10. If you get a “Shareware” software program, you need to know three things: First, shareware is a software program that lets you try it out before you buy it. The author is “sharing” the program with you. If the computer shareware program does what you want it to do, the author expects you to pay for it.
Many shareware programs allow you to use the program for a set period. After that period, the program (or at least some program options) will not continue to work. Don’t make the mistake of entering a lot of important data and then deciding you “don’t want to pay” for the program. You could be left high and dry.
Finally, some shareware programs will continue to operate regardless of how long you use them. If you rely on a shareware computer program, paying the author the nominal fee they usually request is wise. This will help the author continue to develop and enhance the program. Besides, you’ll probably get support and help from the author if you need it.
11. Beware companies that send unsolicited emails offering “name brand” computer software at huge discounts. These are often overseas companies selling “illegal” software. You will not get support, but you could get a letter from the company’s lawyer telling you you’re using a pirated copy of their software. Some people even reported giving their credit card information to purchase these “great bargains,” only to learn weeks later that they had never paid for the software they never got.