Is Abandonware Safe and Legal?

Some websites offer software that was once sold for a fee, often without regard for whether or not this was legal. It is generally accepted that sites that provide paid software and media through torrents, third-party applications, or websites are illegal. However, many types of sites, known as abandonware sites, offer a range of games and other free software for free download and got banned. Also, many sites have managed to avoid significant criticism as they have been operating for a prolonged period, which raises the question: is abandonware safe or legal? Firstly, we’ll see what is abandonware.

Is Abandonware Safe?

Is Abandonware Safe and Legal?

You will get to know if is abandonware safe or not further in this article. Keep reading to learn more about it in detail.

What is Abandonware?

Abandonware refers to software that is no longer being sold or supported by the company that developed it. This can include old video games, operating systems, and other types of software that are no longer in active development. The concept of abandonware has been a source of controversy for many years, with some arguing that it is a form of piracy, while others argue that it is a way to preserve and access historical software.

Also Read: What is Bot Attacks?

How does a Product Become Abandonware?

Any computer software, product, or tool that has been abandoned by its makers and neglected for years can be termed as abandonware. A few determinants might lead to a company’s software or product being cast aside and becoming Abandonware.

  • The product or program may be outdated and unable to compete with current technologies. New technological developments happen every day. Older items are no longer in use as a result of the market’s rapid adoption of superior technologies. So, the makers might abandon the software that is not able to keep up with the advancements.
  • Acquisition of the business is conceivable. This might be the cause of the software or product going out of business. The program will be abandoned if the new owners are merely uninterested in maintaining or improving it. The program may become abandonware due to their disregard and lack of knowledge about the item.
  • The corporation could have been closed down. This is the ideal explanation and makes it very clear that there is no chance that the product or software will ever be sold anew. Even though a business has been shut down, there is occasionally a remote chance that its products may still be available online.

Abandonware can still be downloadable, even if it is illegal because most of the time, the creators turn a blind eye to its illegal download. But, is abandonware safe for you to download? Moving forward, let’s examine this query in more detail.

What are the Examples of Abandonware Websites?

Let’s see a few examples of abandonware websites you can use to get desired abandonware programs.


There also are so many games that are now abandonware but people are still playing them. Some of them are mentioned below:

Also Read: 50 Best Abandonware Games for PC

Is Abandonware Legal?

The safety and legality of downloading abandonware is a complex and disputed topic that depends on various factors, including the laws of the country in which the download is taking place and the specific circumstances of the download. In general, however, it is generally considered illegal to download abandonware without the copyright holder’s permission, as it is a form of copyright infringement.

  • An argument against the legality of downloading abandonware is that it is a form of piracy, as the software is being distributed and used without the permission of the copyright holder. The copyright holder may still hold the rights to the software and may object to its unauthorized distribution, which can result in legal issues for those who distribute or use abandonware. There are also arguments in support of the legality of downloading abandonware.
  • Also, it can help to preserve and provide access to older software that may no longer be available for purchase or may not be compatible with modern systems. This can include video games and other types of software that have historical or cultural value. By making abandonware available for download, it becomes possible for people to use and explore these old programs that might otherwise be lost.
  • Another argument in favor of the legality of downloading abandonware is that it can serve as an educational resource, allowing people to learn about the history of technology and software development by using and examining older programs. By making these programs available for download, it becomes possible for people to understand the technological advancements that have been made over the years and the context in which certain software was developed. This can be especially useful for students, researchers, and others interested in the history of technology.

Now you know if abandonware is safe/legal or not.

How and From Where to Use Abandonware?

Presently there are more than 70 websites that host abandonware. I have provided here some abandonware sites you can use:

  • Abandonia: DOS game downloads primarily focused on games with expired copyrights.
  • Abandonware DOS: Old games for Windows and DOS
  • Software and games are available for Windows, macOS, DOS, Linux
  • RGB Classic Games: You’ll find unreleased titles and games that preserve classic games from DOS, Win16, Win9x, etc for computer systems.
  • My Abandonware: Huge collection of over 15000 titles
  • Formerly known as Good Old Games
  • The Vintage Software Collection: Archive collection of abandoned software programs on the Internet

We might not guarantee the safety and functionality of the downloads you make from these sites as there is always the risk of bugs and malware. Mostly to run abandoned software, one may additionally need an emulator or other secondary applications to run out-of-date software and probably a license key too (sometimes provided by the host). website | Is Abandonware Safe?

Also Read: 26 Best Free Malware Removal Tools

How Can an Abandonware Affect the Users?

There are several ways in which abandonware can affect users, both positively and negatively.

One potential positive effect of it is that it can allow users to access and use software that is no longer available for purchase or download, but still that abandonware is safe to use.

There are several negative consequences of using it that users should be aware of. These include

  • The security vulnerabilities that have not been addressed can make it easier for hackers to gain access to systems and data.
  • In addition, it may not be compatible with modern systems, which can cause compatibility issues.
  • There are also legal risks associated with abandonware, as the copyright holder may still hold the rights to the software and may object to its distribution without permission. This can lead to legal consequences for those who distribute or use abandonware.
  • Finally, abandonware may not function properly or may be difficult to use, leading to frustration for users.

Overall, it is best to avoid abandonware and seek out legal alternatives whenever possible. If you do choose to use abandonware, be sure to exercise caution and take steps to protect yourself, such as running antivirus software and keeping your system up to date with the latest security patches.


Here, we addressed what is abandonware and several facets of it in this guide. We hope that this doc could guide you on the topic is abandonware safe. If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.

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