Difference Between Freeware And Shareware

Freeware and shareware both are software but they are different in their applications or uses. In this article we will cover the difference between freeware and shareware.

Difference Between Freeware And Shareware

What is Freeware?

Freeware is computer software that is copyrighted. It is made available for use without paying any charge for an unlimited time. It is referred to software that is allowed to everyone to use it free by downloading it from the internet. The term “freeware” is used by Andrew Fleugleman in 1982 when he was seeking the ways to sell his communications program named as PC-Talk.

It is provided free of cost with a fully functional mechanism, it is having no expiry date. User License and EULA (End User License Agreement) are the important parts of freeware.

Difference Between Freeware And Shareware
Difference Between Freeware And Shareware

The features of freeware are free, it is available to all. The programs of freeware can be distributed at free of cost. Freeware have no time limits in its access duration. Here the authors retain the copyright to the software. Examples of freeware are Adobe FDP, Google Talk, Yahoo messenger, MSN messenger.

What is Shareware

Shareware commercial software. It is copyrighted but it can be copied for others for the purpose of their trying it out with the understanding that if they continue to use it they have to pay for this. Shareware gives chances to users to use or try the software once before buying. Bob Wallace in 1982 produced PC-Write that is a word processor and distributed it as shareware. The term was first used in 1970 in InfoWorld magazine.

The laws of copyright are also applied to shareware but the authors or holders of copyright hold all the rights with a few specific exceptions. The features of shareware are not available most of the times or they have limited use. To enjoy all features of shareware user has to purchase the software. Shareware may or may not be distributed so easily. In different cases, author’s permissions are required to distribute the shareware. Shareware program may only work for a short duration that is 30 days. Examples of shareware are donations ware, Adware, Demoware, Nagware.

The software of freeware and shareware has cons and pros in different ways and usage.

Advantages and disadvantages of freeware

These applications have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of freeware are as it is free and it is copyrighted. Its disadvantage is that we cannot sell freeware software.

Advantages and disadvantages of shareware

Shareware software is free and it can be copied and is covered by copyright. Its disadvantage is that shareware software cannot be modified, and it may be either cut down or a temporary version.


Shareware is often confused with freeware but now it is cleared that both have two different purposes and they differ from each other in their use and features.  Both are often used interchangeably by people without knowing which one is a more appropriate term to use. Confusions are mostly due to its free download and use but the difference seems when people start using the software and realize the restrictions on most of the features of shareware.

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