There’s no better way to buy software than to try it out on your own system first. Failing to do so can send your software budget through the roof since quite often, what’s advertised isn’t what’s available. You may for example pay $300 for an accounting system only to discover that it won’t work with your partitioned hard drive. Or you could spend three times that for an anti-virus program and later find out that it’s incompatible with your system’s SR1 version! Using the demo version of a program that you’re interested in therefore, is the only way that you can truly determine how well its commercial version will run since manufacturers can not possibly perceive the intricacies of every computer system.
Beware: What’s On The “Box” Might Not Matter Much
Even if a manufacturer advertises a software product will run on an XP computer with 64 gigabytes of memory, it may not take into account your computer’s specific configuration. Any number of explicit settings can disrupt the function of software, and unless a software program is purposely programmed to address your settings (or at least ignore them), you’re going to run into problems.
That’s why we push demo software and shareware. Both of these types of programs let you try them prior to buying them, and discern for yourself whether an advertised program functions as promised.
We try an insurmountable number of demos and shareware products before we make a commitment because our business depends on our exposure to a wide range of options. That’s how we discovered the sensitivity among hardware, compatibility, and even registry settings.
Thinking back to a recent example, we downloaded a demo that promised to work on Windows 95 machines and up. We tried it on four computers: a Windows 95 machine, a Windows Vista machine, and two Windows XP machines. We discovered that the program worked great on Windows Vista and on one Windows XP machine. A teeny tiny registry setting prevented the program from working on the other XP machine while the program didn’t work at all on the Windows 95 machine. Had we purchased this software to work on all machines without trying it first, we would have spent a total of $650 and only would have been able to use it on two computers!
Yes, we could have tweaked our other XP machine to work with the program, and thus expanded its usability, but the registry setting that prevented the program’s functionality is required for a different program we use.
Take the time to evaluate how a software program will work on your computer. It’s not just about the operating system or how much drive space you have. A program’s compatibility could also be about your monitor’s resolution or the type of sound card installed!