Whether you're looking for an Internet security suite, backup program, or file management tool, there's no reason to pay full price when there are plenty of discount online stores available. Most of these stores offer the programs to the public, but others require affiliation with a school. You should also be aware of the risks of buying software online, so you can avoid problems from deceptive sellers and used software.
Find Cheap Utilities
A number of retailers offer discount utility software for the Mac and PC, and there are also sites that can help you find a good deal on a specific application. Many of these sites sell common programs at less than the retail cost and sometimes offer a better deal on older versions.
- Bizrate: Although the site does not sell software directly, Bizrate is an excellent resource when you want to locate the lowest price for a specific application. The site's utilities page lists popular programs and has options on the left side for sorting by brand, price, seller, and category. Simply type your program's name in the search box to view a list of stores that offer the program for the lowest price.
- Computers Worth: Another source for older, significantly discounted versions of software, Software Blowouts offers programs as low as just over a dollar. You can find products from companies such as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, Nero, and Roxio. Internet security, backup, disk burning, and PC maintenance programs make up the majority of what is offered.
- Amazon.com: While not all programs are discounted, Amazon offers many popular utilities at reduced prices and includes free shipping for programs over $25 that are purchased directly from the company, rather than from an affiliated store. If you're willing to purchase an older version of a program, Amazon offers even lower prices for many items. Amazon's utilities section offers tools for memory management, Internet security, PC maintenance, file conversion, backup, voice recognition, and file management.
- JourneyEd: This online store for students, educators, and schools offers a variety of programs from Microsoft, Symantec, VMware, Parallels, BitDefender, and more. Not all programs on the site are discounted, but many are. Available programs include virus scanners, virtualization systems, file managers, and backup programs. Some programs on the site do not require affiliation with a school, and this will be noted on the individual product's page.
- Academic Superstore: Offering brand name utility software at modestly to significantly discounted prices, Academic Superstore is an excellent option if you are a student, parent of a student, nonprofit organization, or staff member at a school or university. The site offers backup, disk burning, compression, FTP, screen capture, and system utility software from various brands including Acronis, Symantec, Nero, Corel, and Smith Micro. Pricing depends on how many licenses you need and the version of the product you order. Both electronic download and physical disk versions are available for some applications.
Precautions for Buying Discount Utility Software Online
Before you purchase any utility software online, you should become aware of the risks involved, especially if you're not sure the company you're dealing with is legitimate. There are other issues that arise when you buy used programs.
Although the sites mentioned are trustworthy, other sites sometimes deceive users by offering pirated programs yet labeling them as legal versions. The most common example is a website offering digital downloads of expensive programs at low prices. While these are usually pirated versions, they could also be OEM versions of software that are being distributed illegally. There's also a possibility you won't get the software you ordered at all. When buying from any online software store, you should look for appropriate contact information and a page that gives details about software licensing. If the site lacks contact information or seems too good to be true, it's safest to look elsewhere.
When you shop on sites that offer used software, such as some independent sellers on Amazon or auction websites, there are many considerations to make before you purchase anything. While some sellers offer open box software that is opened yet not used, others try to sell old programs that may have already been registered. Programs often notify users in the licensing agreement that you can't distribute these programs, and if the program requires a licensing code, there's a chance it is intended for a single computer or user. Antivirus programs and other software that comes with a subscription are also problematic if you buy a used version.
Buying Utilities Online Cheaply and Safely
Since many legitimate online stores sell new programs for a low price, it's usually not worth the risk of buying from an unknown seller, receiving a pirated product, or purchasing used software that may not work. Finding the cheapest version of the program you want can be another challenge, but doing some comparison shopping on the listed websites can help you save money.