The old always gives way to the new. This fact is true of life. It's even truer when it comes to software. Before you can say ' 'what a great piece of software!' the version changes. It takes just a click to uninstall the older software version and download the spanking newer variant. The memory of the older software gets left behind as a just a registry trace somewhere.
It also has a word of its own ' Abandonware
. Though meant for old and discarded games, it also covers older version software.
When it comes to technology, the speed of change is so rapid that we don't really miss the older versions. Perhaps, with applications like operating systems and Office suites, we do fall into habits that sometimes are difficult to give up. But the changeover to the newer version of the tools is just a matter of time.
But just sometimes the older version software comes back into the scheme of things.
Just like when one of our readers asked an apt question. His query in MUO Answers
touches upon his need to get a trial copy of Access 2003 so that he can study for an exam. I tried and have so far failed. Maybe you can help him out?
But while I was searching for that elusive software, I came across a few websites that keep copies of older software versions. Call it nostalgia or call it a 'timely' need, it's important to know a few sources to get the oldies from.
OldVersion (Windows & Mac)
Start off from the categories under which all the old software are arranged. If not, there's the search field on top. If both fail, the site has a forum of its own where you can post a question or help someone out with theirs (the forum seems to be down temporarily).
The site has been there since 2001, so expect to get some of the real oldies. The site lists 2,869 versions of 192 programs for both Windows and Mac. Mac users can choose from 601 versions of 35 programs.
From our archives: OldVersion: Find Older Versions of Software
OldApps (Windows & Mac)
OldApps.com lists both Windows and Mac software. You have older messengers, browsers, file sharing apps and more. For Windows you have 2,843 old versions of 194 programs. Mac users can choose from 550 old versions of 40 programs.
You can quickly glance through the Most Popular
and Newly Added
older version software sections on the side column. The site also has a community discussion board. You can also send in any old software that you might have lying around.
From our archives: OldApps: Get Older Version of any Popular Program
This is the place I stumbled on when I was searching for an older (less bloated) version of iTunes. The site is neat and looks like one of the newest, going by its first blog entry dated March 2009.
The software page lists out all the chronological version number changes and you can download them with a single click.
From our archives: VersionDownload: Archive Of Old Software Versions
This is a well organized site for old Windows software versions. Most of the software available on this site has been verified and installed by the site author.
The site lists 2,453 old software. On the homepage you can make out with a glance the alphabetical list of the software, the number of versions available, version that was last added, and when it has been updated.
The site presents a very simple interface with all software listed out. Apart from the usual categories, there are a few older versions of enterprise level software like Cisco TFTP Server, 3Com Daemon, and SolarWinds TFTP etc.
This website is almost a namesake of the previous one and does not differ by much in the way it has organized the old software collection. You can drill down through the categories on the homepage or use the Quick Jump dropdown. For some of the software, you get a simple download link, while others come with a brief description and the versions available listed out for download.
Last Freeware Version
This site can be a very good resource because it lists out the last freeware version of many popular programs that have become paid now. It's perfect for downloading software that is less system critical.
Take for example a calculator app like Showcalc. The latest version is v5.1 and it retails for $17.50. If I can make do with the functionality of its last available freeware version (v3.01), it's well worth a download for me from this website.
Download Old Version
This site has a selective list of older version software. The software listed are all free but not current. You can browse through the categories like Chat, Multimedia, Internet, File Sharing, Graphic Apps,
. What this site lacks is a search box, so you just have to go through the categories. The specific software page lists the changelogs and descriptions of the available versions.
186 programs available in 1,335 versions is a good enough resource. The website is available in three more languages. You have categories for old drivers and rather uniquely, a section on older mobile software.
Jaghouse's Links Page For Classic Macs (Mac Only)
Mac users can try out this page which lists out a lot of really old Mac software and points to lots of other pages where you can find more old Mac software to run on an older Macintosh. Random browsing revealed that some pages have become non-existent, while some have moved. But it is still browse-worthy because of the number of FTP links that you follow through for some needed download. The page doesn't seem to be updated.
Using old software versions is not only about nostalgia or a one-off use. One direct practical use is that some low end machines are not capable of meeting the hardware requirements of the updated software. Instead of throwing away an entire computer, they can be made useful with the older, less system intensive versions. Think of young students who cannot afford the latest software or the latest machines.
Installing old software is certainly not recommended for anti-virus and firewall functions, but for tasks which are less system critical; their use in special situations can be considered.
What are the reasons that might make you go looking for software you left behind long ago?
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