You must have heard of freeware, shareware, malware, and other types of software. This article quickly summarizes existing software types.

Let’s give the first definition to frame the topic. Software is the set of intangible parts of a computer (to simplify programs) and differs from hardware that is the material part of the electronic system. In this list, you will probably find some types of software that you have never heard of.

Types of software

Here is then the complete list:

  • Freeware: Software that is distributed free of charge, without IF and without but.
  • Shareware: Software that is distributed in trial version [trial], usable for a limited period (e.g., 30 days). It is useless to go and uninstall and install the software again to use it another 30 days for free, as the expiration of the trial period is marked at the registry level.
  • Open-source software: Software whose source code is publicly released (not necessarily freeware).
  • Freemium software: it is a type of software (quite recent) that consists in offering a free basic version of the product, and in providing additional features for a fee. It is possible to notice this type of software in many games for mobile devices.
  • Trialware: it is a type of software that works for a limited period from installation (e.g., 30 days), after that period the program stops working, and you are asked to pay for the license if you want to continue using it. It is useless to go and uninstall and install the software again to use it another 30 days for free, as the expiration of the trial period is marked at the registry level.
  • Donationware: it is a type of software in which the user can freely choose whether and how much to donate to use it. Donation, in any case, is optional, and the software always remains entirely freely usable.
  • Crippleware: it is a software in which some basic features are disabled until the user purchases the license. Examples of blocked features can be saving or printing.
  • Adware: it is a type of software that is maintained thanks to advertisements. They can be shown only while using the program, or even when the plan is not open, going to interfere with regular computer use (in this case fall into the category of malware), showing advertisements in the form of annoying popups.
  • Riskware: a generic type of software whose installation may cause damage or risk to the device.
  • Spyware: a type of software that, once executed, starts to collect the user’s online activities and sends them to third parties without his knowledge. Data such as credit card codes and bank accounts, along with passwords, are thus stolen. In some cases, they can also lead to a general slowdown of the computer, with abnormal consumption of CPU/RAM resources and internet bandwidth.
  • Scareware: it is a type of malicious software whose installation is suggested to the user through incorrect marketing techniques or social engineering. Similar to rogueware.
  • Rogueware: type of software that goes to pretend to be a program known or otherwise not part of the malware (such as an antivirus), to deceive the user (for example by making him believe that the PC is infected with viruses) to install fictitious software (in this case a fake antivirus), which will then damage the computer itself. Another example is the classic deceptive advertisements that invite you to install a missing codec (while there is no need for it).
  • Malware: generic definition of malicious software.
  • Ransomware: type of software that once inaction goes to encrypt most of the user’s documents and files, subsequently asking to pay a ransom to decrypt the data.
  • Grayware: it is a type of software that behaves annoyingly, going to disturb the user and slowing down the system performance. It is part of the pup (Potentially Unwanted Programs). It can also go to disable antivirus and firewall, significantly weakening system security.
  • Bloatware: it is understood that all those software (and games) Little optimized programmatically, which go to consume more resources than would be necessary. Bloatware also means all those software preinstalled on new computers/devices that are purchased, usually unwanted software and often installed in the trial version.
  • Careware: it is a type of software that allows the user to choose whether to purchase the license or not freely. The proceeds will then go to charities. It’s a pretty rare kind of software these days.
  • Nagware: it is a type of software that offers all the features of the program (such as freeware) forever, even if it is paid. It brings up pop-ups or alerts that should convince the user to purchase the license, also if he is not obliged. An example can be WinRAR, which after 40 days after installation pops up a (” annoying””) popup on opening, even if it remains freely usable.
  • Crapware: it’s all that low-value software’s that are typically installed along with other software. Example is toolbar for browsers (with IE giving an example).
  • Middleware: it is all those soft wares that act as intermediaries between different applications. They are often used for distributed systems.