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How-To Geek

Abandonware

Abandonware, a portmanteau of abandoned and software, is a popular but nebulous term used to refer to software which is still informally distributed, but for which no author, company, or other agency is actively distributing the application or enforcing ownership rights on said application.

Abandonware is not freeware as in almost every instance the application does in fact belong to an individual or organization. However, in the case of old games, utilities, and other applications, the original company may have dissolved or the author may have ceased to maintain a web site or otherwise indicate any activity on the project. In these instances, there is no apparent organization or individual to which monetary compensation is owed.

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