The days of buying software on a CD, enveloped in a brightly colored, laminated sleeve are quickly coming to an end. Even if a user does purchase their software from a brick and mortar store, they are far more likely to receive a card with a link printed on it than installation media. So now that disks have gone the way of the dodo how do we keep track of the software that we have purchased?

Most software distributers have a way of correlating software with their owners; they have users create an account with a password which allows them to login and download the software from anywhere, on any computer. For larger software distributors like Microsoft, this can be very useful, as you might have a dozen programs under a single account—very handy for tracking your subscriptions and accessing the installation files when moving to a new computer or reloading an operating system.

Who Am I Now?
One of the pitfalls of digital downloads is that if a user isn’t intentional about their account creation, they can end up losing track of what email address they associated with which software, or lose the credentials to access those accounts. Any time someone creates a software account you should take the following precautions:

  • Make sure you set up 2 recovery options—an email address and a phone number, in case you change numbers or get a new address.
  • Write down the name of the software, the product key and the account you installed it under and keep this in a safe place (Perhaps where you used to store your disks?).
  • Make sure you aren’t making a new account for the same software distributor with a different email account (You don’t want to have 5 different Microsoft accounts for 5 different programs).
  • If you are using a third party to install your software (An IT company or a big box store) make sure they associate the software with one of your accounts and provide you with a product key.

Many new laptops are being produced without DVD drives and with the proliferation of high-speed internet, it is assumed that most of us will be online most of the time. So it should come as no surprise that software will be provided primarily through download. If current trends continue, software that you pay for up front and own forever may slowly disappear too, phasing out in favor of software as a service. Software as a service is predicated upon paying a monthly or annual subscription fee which means a user is essentially renting the program, but always has access to the latest versions and updates. If you have questions about managing your software, call Mankato Computer Repair today.