How do I find old software?

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

DOOMMost of the software programs, utilities, operating systems, and games are only sold for a few years and then phased out by the developer. This discontinuation of sales is usually due to new programs, compatibility issues, or lack of sales. It can make finding older software very difficult for users. However, with the advent of emulators, many old PC and console games have been revived on various platforms. The following sections contain several methods of finding older software programs, operating systems, utilities, and games.

Internet Search

Try performing searches for the name of the program you are attempting to locate. Often there are obscure retailers that still sell old or out-of-date software. Try searching with Google and Amazon, two of the most likely places to find many programs.

Online Auctions

eBay logoOnline auctions, such as eBay, are a great resource to locate old software and its documentation. Many users who no longer use their software will auction it off on these sites, and unless it is in high-demand, you can usually pick up a program for a very reasonable price.

A listing of online auctions can be found on our online auction definition page.


Some companies may still have copies of their programs that can be shipped to customers. If the developer of the software program you're interested in is still in business, try contacting them to see if they will sell you a copy.

A listing of companies and developers and their contact information can be found through our company support page.

New console systems

As we mentioned before, newer game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U, Sony PS4, and Microsoft Xbox One now have online shops where users can purchase and play classic titles. If you have any of these devices, you may want to see if the old game you're looking for is its respective marketplace.


Software that is no longer able to be purchased because it is no longer supported for various reasons is referred to as abandonware. There are several sites that have been specifically setup to enable users to download any software considered abandoned. If you want to find such sites, search for "abandonware" on any popular search engine.