Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Reasons People Do Not Download Shareware ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Reasons People Do Not Download Shareware
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: tfpsoft-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 24 Sep 2003 01:08 PDT
Expires: 24 Oct 2003 01:08 PDT
Question ID: 259667
I am researching the reasons why people do or do not download or buy
shareware. I am looking for specific news, articles or other related
information on the topic. I am more interested in the specific reasons
why people do NOT try or buy shareware than the reasons why they do.

By "shareware", I mean all software that you "try before you buy".
i.e. Software that you download a free version of, that may have a
time-limited demo or have certain features disabled. If you like it,
you pay a fee to remove the time limit or gain access to the
additional features. I know some software differentiates itself as
trialware or demoware or many other terms other than shareware, but
for purposes of this discussion I am considering all software in this
general category equally.

***As far as reasons, I am particularly looking for GENERAL reasons
that people might use or avoid shareware, or choose one app over
another.*** I am not looking for specific flaws with specific
applications. For example, "I'm afraid if I download shareware I will
get a computer virus" would be a good example of a general reason.

Finally, I am interested ONLY in articles and opinions from a
consumer point-of-view. I am NOT interested in articles from the
industry perspective, unless it is a documented consumer research
study. In particular, I would like to eliminate all articles from the
Association of Shareware Professionals (
and their members, as I am already familiar with this material.

I would like to find at least 5-10 reasons and\or references. Personal
opinions are welcome in the comments area.

Thank you!!

Clarification of Question by tfpsoft-ga on 24 Sep 2003 03:26 PDT
Thanks, politicalguru-ga. Actually, I *do* mean shareware, and not
freeware...which is usually considered "completely free" with no
purchase process, ever. However, freeware would also be a good search
term as many people lump shareware and freeware together.

Clarification of Question by tfpsoft-ga on 24 Sep 2003 03:35 PDT
Oh! And that 5-10 reason\references is not a requirement... it's just
a guideline. If you have fewer references, but they are really good,
then that's okay, too.
Subject: Re: Reasons People Do Not Download Shareware
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 24 Sep 2003 05:59 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi tfpsoft,

I've done a extensive search on your topic and have found quite a
number of individual reasons that people give for not downloading
shareware.  I've put those reasons into categories for you with a
number of representative references. They are weighted the way that I
found them. In other words, although I didn't include every single
instance, the more references you see for each category, the more I
found online.

If I had to generalize, I would say the reasons fall into two main

FEAR OF DAMAGING SYSTEMS – Regular users do not download shareware
because it has a reputation for carrying viruses, Trojans, spyware,
adware, and files that will damage their computers.

POOR QUALITY – Professionals do not download shareware because they
view shareware as inferior, unreliable, not as advertised, annoying
when it's crippled or time-limited, and generally not worth the hassle
of downloading and registering.

The other growing reason for not downloading shareware is fear of
legal repercussions. Some of this is due to misunderstanding of what
shareware is. Some people seem to think that downloading shareware is
equivalent to downloading music from a P2P service. Wrong as that may
be, the fear is real and it effects their decisions to download.

And, of course there are those people who believe everything on the
internet should be free.




"Further, many Macheads dislike the idea of doing technical noodling
on their machines -- including installing shareware. "Most Mac users
won't download shareware," says Oppenheimer. "Macs are used mainly by
people who don't want to have to do that stuff.""

Toward a Hack-Proof Mac



"Windows users I know are afraid of trying sharewares because they
fear having to reinstall their system... Remember, a Windows PC with a
corrupt registry is an awfully big paperweight !"

MAC FORUM RE: BW posts special report on future of Apple

"Some people tell me that they don't download shareware and freeware.
They miss out on some useful and fun stuff (although they probably
don't have as many late nights debugging Windows weirdness)..."


"I never use shareware and I never will, I now what it's like. So my
tip is if it ain't freeware or `off the shelf` leave it be.."


"I NEVER USE SHAREWARE, as it screws up your computers configuration,
then when U want 2 get rid of it, U have to sit and go threw your
system deleting everything the uninstall did not remove.. Then I have
to sit and re-edit my system configuration.... Shareware , for me 
anyways is not werth the trouble......."

GOOGLE GROUPS: Subject: Re: MSIE4 User's -----ANY-1----- HELP



"General advice on avoiding viruses: Don't download shareware products
or uncopyrighted disks or floppy disks that aren't copyrighted."


"Use antivirus software to scan diskettes and don’t download shareware
or documents without having them scanned."


""… 'Trojan horse.' It doesn't get on your computer unless you install
a piece of software that has chosen to use it. If you don't want it,
don't use shareware.""

Beware of Gifts Bearing Trojans

I'm safe from viruses because I don't use shareware, public domain
software, freeware, etc…"

Myths and Facts about Viruses

Your best defense against viruses is to only load proprietary
software, DON'T USE SHAREWARE PERIOD  (Unless you just love getting
your system rebuilt)!,


"It's different for each share ware.  Some never expires.  It depends
on who made the software.  Never download shareware unless you have
virus software!"

Google groups: Shareware

"Hey! Never download shareware from non-official sites. Most likely it
contains a virus .... Be careful!!!"

GOOGLE GROUPS: Subject: Re: ICQ99a 2.05 Beta Out!



"And generally speaking, the security minded user would NEVER use
shareware, ESPECIALLY anything downloadable from the internet!"




"First, don't use shareware programs had have build in adware. This
includes almost every file sharing program out there.  If you must use
shareware, try to find versions without adware, like Kazaa Lite…"


"KaZaA, Gaming, and IMing Can Be Dangerous: Using file-sharing
applications (such as KaZaA) can make your computer vulnerable to
spyware and hackers. Either be cautious of the consequences or don’t
use shareware software.."

The Hazards of Free Web Downloads

"There were 35 gator files sitting on my computer. I have NO idea how
they get there as I NEVER download shareware or click pop up ads or


"If you have problems keeping 98 running then XP will blow you away.
Save your money.  Don't download shareware from the net. Screensavers,
greeting cards nice cuddly's all a scam! And nothing but
muck for your puter'! Sorry, but you don't get something for nothing.
95% of the internet downloads available that you would be interested
in are laced with spyware, Trojans, or some other resource sacrificing

Google groups: Subject: Re: 95,98 or xp?

"I've had Ad-Aware for years now and I notice the only stuff getting
in anymore (I don't download shareware stuff) is when doing MS
Internet Exploder updates."

GOOGLE GROUPS: Re: Stear clear of



"Some people charge a shareware fee for their schemes. I can't get
into that. I don't charge for my schemes, and I don't use shareware
schemes because I don't want to pay for them."


Don't use shareware, use freeware!

We don't need shareware, we need only software that works. I mean,

"As it is, I never download shareware (except WinZip) because I would
never pay the shareware fees that most poeple end up (needing?) to

Google groups: Subject: Re: In praise of smartCert prebranded software



"I don't use shareware... ever. 98% pf the software is either: 
Not-what-I-want, grossly insufficient in some area, has a very bad
layout, is counter-intuitive, is not as advertised, is unmitigated
junk, et cetera along the aforesaid lines. In addition, I don't like
the junk files and potential registry problems."


"We never use shareware clip art, flashing text or little mailboxes
with hands coming out of them. You're serious about your business. We
are serious about websites."


"I don't download shareware considering i find them mostly a waste of
time anyway I can usually find a better program THAT I Paid for to do
exactly what the shareware program can do...and usually faster."

Google groups: Subject: Re: The ugly side of rec.arts.anime.misc...

"I won't download shareware unless I think it's at least reasonably
possible that the job it does will be worth the registration price to

GOOGLE GROUPS: Subject: Re: New resource: useful utilities for web

"Personally, I never use shareware that is crippled or "drops dead"
after a while. Software that don't, and I like to use, I pay for. But
software that is crippled I consider demo software, and don't
register, and software that drops dead, I don't try anyway."

Google Groups: Subject: Re: 4dos$$



"The reason we don't use shareware at work (a Gov't Lab) is that we
are only allowed to use software that is legally paid for, and we
haven't figured out any way to pay for shareware (yet)."

"I think our friend just means … that the government has certain
protocols in their purchase of software for research purposes, which
may restrict their usage to "mainstream", commercial software;
"shareware" may be considered too insecure for their particular
government research."




"To keep your school legal do not install personal commercial or
shareware software on school computers, don’t make copies of personal
commercial software and share, don’t make copies of software licensed
to your school and share, don’t use shareware for extended periods
without paying for it."


"If you've ever used a peer-to-peer network and swapped copyrighted
files, chances are pretty good you're guilty of a federal felony….

"That's the reason I never download shareware."

Re: Are you an unindicted federal felon?

"[If you don't like the creator's condition of sale then..] Don't
download shareware.  Don't copy your buddy's copyrighted software, and
don't buy the software subject to copyright…."

GOOGLE GROUPS: Re: Truly Unbelievable (was Re: against copyright



"Don't download shareware from lame warez pages. Get them from
official program homepage or from a registered  Distributor.."



[*This is spam .. have no idea if people really do this.   –K~]

"If you download shareware read this now! …I've devised a method for
you to get an entire years worth of downloads from hundreds of bbs
systems for less than $6 monthly!  I'm gonna pass this "secret" on to



""We're asking the audience to do an awful lot on their end just to
see an ad," he observes. "Most people don't download shareware or
freeware until they have to…"



" I don't use shareware beyond their trials, but this is the only
shareware I've ever paid for…"



"Poll date: February 28, 2003
If you download a shareware program for your station computer, do you
eventually register and pay for the software? (be honest!)..

I never use shareware on my station computer  - 13.1 % (346) "

ARRLWeb Survey Results


This long thread is an interesting discussion on the use and abuse of
shareware. It's old (1992) but much of it still pertinent today.  Many
opinions – personal and professional.  I found it via post  #26, but
have linked you to the entire discussion.

Google Groups


So that should give you a good representative sample of what people
have to say about downloading and using shareware.  For more examples,
use my search terms below or try some combinations of your own.

One that I just thought of, but didn't try is: "avoid shareware" – I
see it nets 4-5 pages of results in both Google and Google Groups, so
you'll probably want to take a look at those.

If anything I've given you isn't clear or if any of the links don't
work, please feel free to ask for Clarification.

Thanks for your question. 


Search Terms – used in Google and Google Groups

"don't download shareware"
"won't download shareware"
"never download shareware"

"don't use shareware"
"won't use shareware"
"never use shareware"

"don't need shareware"
"don't like shareware"
tfpsoft-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Great stuff... exactly what I was looking for!

Subject: Re: Reasons People Do Not Download Shareware
From: politicalguru-ga on 24 Sep 2003 03:02 PDT

It seems, that the client meant "freeware", and in any case - this
could be a good search-term.
Subject: Re: Reasons People Do Not Download Shareware
From: techtor-ga on 24 Sep 2003 03:40 PDT
Freeware is different from shareware. Probably the existence of
freeware can be considered one reason not get shareware. If there is a
similar program for free, why pay?
Subject: Re: Reasons People Do Not Download Shareware
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 24 Sep 2003 06:45 PDT
wow tfpsoft! That had to be the quickest rating on record! :-) Thank
you for the kind words and nice tip as well.

While I was out checking my tomatoes, the thought occurred to me that
another angle on search terms I hadn't considered would be the word
"buy" ... use it in the same phrases I provided above: "Don't buy
shareware" etc.  This might give you a sense of why people download
shareware but then don't subsequently buy it. Similarly, the terms:
"pay for" or "purchase" .

Thank you again for the rating and tip. 


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy