A lot of work is being done on computers these days. When I started a business that depended heavily on working on computers I had an experience that changed my approach to software. Like many people, I was using software that was acquired in less-than-legal (pirated) ways. Something I had been working on was due for submission and my software decided that that was the day it would stop working. Besides being extremely frustrating this nearly cost me a very important client. I vowed to stop using pirated software after that as it would put my business at risk going forward.


It might surprise you to know that the most pirated software in the world is the humble but incredible effective file compression management software knows as WinRAR. It is used to compress and condense files into archives as well as managing them for those who are not familiar with it. It’s more popular with people like creatives who will have dealt with large files and then need to transmit them and securely at that. The free alternative to this software is PeaZip which offers similar functionality and handles most if not all of the popular file archive formats known to the world.


Not surprising should be the fact that the Microsoft Office suite of programs including the incredibly popular trio of Word, Excel and Powerpoint also make the list. The Microsoft Office suite has set the bar in terms of productivity or office software but the price tag has been restrictive in the past. Add to that the move towards the online-based Office 365 the idea of using pirated versions of Microsoft Office is becoming harder and harder to maintain. WPS Office which first made its name as an adequate mobile operating system alternative to MS Office has come up with a more than the adequate free version for Windows PCs that does everything the powerful 3 (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) do and more. All 3 functions operate from one single app interface and they have added functions like ePub reading and PDF reading as well as web browsing within the WPS app.


The paradox of pirating anti-virus software is complex and deserves a very long discussion on the appropriate platform. Suffice it to say it is counterintuitive. Pirated software may have spyware and other malware embedded in it that comprises the very security of the computer you are trying to protect. So before you use a pirated version of antivirus you need to stop and think about what you are doing. There are a few anti-virus programs that offer free versions but Avira stands out amongst them. In addition to being easy to use and light running on machines, Avira also offers great protection with a constantly updated library. It also is very effective against most viruses that are popularly passed on through removable media.


This recommendation is a little bit tricky because it is for the creative industry where people hold on to industry standards. However, if your concern is the end product as it should be then this recommendation will make sense. Creative suite software like Adobe’s illustrator and Corel draw has seen the short end of the stick when it comes to piracy. It is conceivable that many if not most graphic designers starting are using pirated versions of these or other software programs. GNU Image Manipulation Program is a completely free alternative for creative drawing, design and image manipulation. It is very smooth and intuitive and can produce quality results once you get the hang of it. All are safely legal to use and offering much of the same functionality as the aforementioned software.


I was a little bit conflicted about adding this one as Microsoft is turning a corner when it comes to their ubiquitous Windows operating system. In the past, Microsoft has insisted on licencing the Windows operating system but changes in the world particularly given the mobile operating system developments thanks to Android have made Microsoft see the game differently with Windows 8.1, 10 and soon 11 being made available as a free upgrade to customers with previous versions. However, Windows 11 will not be made available to all machines so I feel this is worth a mention. Linux is an open-source operating system much like Android but for computers. Android is based on the same core as Linux and the operating system has its advantages over Windows. You will find that Linux runs lighter in terms of processing power and space. Many software developers support Linux so you still get a lot of the software you need and have become accustomed to with Windows.

These software options are meant to give you free alternatives that are certainly safer than having software that may be embedded with spyware and malware. So if you are using any of these pirate software applications perhaps consider switching to free and legal versions.