How to find old computer software

Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope
DOOM first-person shooter game

Most of the 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 difficult for users. However, with the advent of emulators, many old PC and console games are revived on various platforms. The following sections contain several methods of finding older 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 Often there are obscure retailers that still sell old or out-of-date software.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 logo

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

A listing of online auctions is available 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 program you're interested in is still in business, try contacting them to see if they can sell you a copy.

A listing of companies and developers and their contact information is available through our company support page.

New console systems

As mentioned earlier, 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 called abandonware. There are several sites that are specifically setup to enable users to download any software considered abandoned. To find such sites, search for "abandonware" on any popular search engine.