What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying New Computer Software?

G. Wiesen

There are both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to buying new computer software, though these can depend a great deal on the type of software and the developer. One of the major benefits of new software is that the purchaser typically has more access to support from a developer, including replacement of a damaged disc or corrupt download, than someone buying a used piece of software may have. Since many programs are protected under copyright laws, buying new software may also be advantageous as it can avoid issues with terms of use and the license provided with a program. New software is typically much more expensive than used software, however, which can make acquiring some programs quite costly.

A tablet computer running a game, a type of software.
A tablet computer running a game, a type of software.

New computer software, in contrast with used software, typically comes directly from a software developer or from a retail store selling a new product. Buying new software can be an excellent choice in many situations since the new software often has more support than a used program may have. New computer software purchased from a retail store, for example, can usually be returned or exchanged if it is damaged. A used program, however, is typically bought from an individual reseller and may come with no form of return or exchange policy.

New software typically comes with a CD Rom installation disk.
New software typically comes with a CD Rom installation disk.

One of the ways in which many software companies protect their products is through end user license agreements (EULAs) and the rights that the license for a program affords the user. New computer software typically has all of the protection afforded the user by the license for that program. The EULA for some software can forbid the transfer of a license to a new user, however, which means that such software, if purchased used, would not afford the new purchaser any of the rights or protections he or she would have when buying the program new. There is also still debate over the legality of buying or selling used software, which means it is often less complicated for a person to buy new computer software.

Used software, however, does have a few advantages over new computer software. Most software programs are resold at lower prices than new programs, and these reductions can be quite dramatic, especially for expensive graphics software. Some programs may be out of print and can be difficult or impossible to find new, making the used market the only way to find such software. Brand new computer software may also have bugs or errors that have not been corrected, however, and such software can be difficult to use prior to the release of a software patch.

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