Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Demoware is a computer software distribution model. It is commercial software released by way of a free download in a version which is limited in one (or more) of the following ways: In addition, the software hides code somewhere on the computer system (in Microsoft Windows, somewhare in the registry) that prevents removal and re-installation of the demo in an attempt to reset the trial period. Once the trial period is complete, the user must either uninstall the software or purchase a registration code.

Some demoware is fully functional, but in other instances functions such as saving files or printing may be disabled, in which case the name crippleware is also used.

The major distinction between demoware and shareware tends to be one of scale. Shareware is most often associated with small, low-cost programs written by one or two people, and with games. However, there is an increasing tendency for major software vendors such as Adobe and Macromedia to offer demoware versions for high-value products. Also, while the shareware model usually encourages the passing of the software from one person to another, demoware vendors often require all users to obtain the demoware from their own website, often in exchange for capturing personal information for marketing purposes.

See also: freeware, adware, shareware