Software versions change within a blink of an eye these days. Just look at the number of updates we have for Google Chrome or Firefox. We abandon the old and consign it to the great digital heap of things called Abandonware. But older or previous versions of software have their uses too.
Let’s take the example of disused computers given away for free to the needy. They can be made functional for educational purposes with old software which you needn’t pay for. Then there are instances when someone (especially the elderly) is so used to working on the old version, that they find it difficult to change over. Whatever be the reason, there are quite a few sites which cater to your search for old versions of software and their free download.
Editor’s note: Over the years, I’ve personally found a lot of use for old versions of software. They come in handy usually when a new version breaks things or works in the way I wouldn’t want it to. That’s when I decide to uninstall it and go back to the previous version of the tool.
OldApps.com opens with a page on Windows. But there’s a section on Mac and Linux versions too. Software are neatly arranged in categories. So you have older messengers, browsers, audio utilities, file sharing apps and more. There’s a small section on drivers too. All software have their own page where each version is listed chronologically with version number and release date.
You can help out by adding a version too especially if you develop your own software. Every app is scanned for viruses and malware, so the software are all safe to download. Also check the Most Popular and Newly Added older version software sections on the side column. The site also has a community discussion board with nearly 3000 members. You can put in a request for a specific software here.
Oldversion.com, at least on the face of it, looks more polished than the previous one. The site lists 7195 versions of 1938 programs. All three platforms are represented – Windows, Mac, Linux, and there are games too. I especially like the addition of the games category, because gaming programs are very spec-sensitive, and a newer version usually hates to run on older systems.
Use the large search engine on top, or drill down through the categories. You can again upload your copy to the site and earn some points (and redeem then for prizes). The site has a full-fledged forum where you can as for support, and a nice blog which is worth a read.
As one blog entry on Oldversion.com says, outdated software are artifacts that must be preserved. But their real use lies in promoting computer education through low-resource computers.
Have you ever deliberately looked for older versions of software for a particular need?