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College Resource Center : Internet/E-mail : Practical Tips for Computer Users : Factors to Consider When Buying Software

Factors to Consider When Buying Software

When evaluating software for potential purchase, consider these questions:

  • Does the version of the product that I am considering run on my personal computer system? Is it compatible with my platform (PC, Macintosh, Sun, and so on)? with the processor used in my computer (486, Pentium, Motorola 6040, PowerPC, and so on)? and with the operating system that I am running (DOS, Windows, NeXT Step, UNIX)?
  • Is the product compatible with other programs, such as extensions and device drivers, that I have on my personal computer system?
  • Does the product do all that I want it to do? Is it simple enough to use immediately but powerful enough to provide the capabilities that I will want as my familiarity with the program increases?
  • Is the product an up-to-date, current version or release?
  • Does the product have a clear, step-by-step tutorial? Is the product easy to learn?
  • Is the product accompanied by clear, easy-to-follow instructions or documentation?
  • Does the manufacturer provide technical assistance? Is a toll-free technical assistance number included in the software documentation? Does the manufacturer have a bulletin board or Internet address for technical assistance questions? Does the manufacturer charge for technical assistance? for product revisions or upgrades?
  • Can I find instruction or training in the use of the product?
  • Is the product from a respected, well-known manufacturer?
  • Does the program have any known problems or bugs, and will these affect my use of the program?
  • Does the product come with a warranty, and what are the conditions of that warranty?
  • Does the product cost more or less than comparable products on the market?


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