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How to extend the trial period of software

Testzeitraum abgelaufen? Mit einem virtuellen PC passiert das nie.Image: Dmitry Demidovich / Shutterstock.com

Demo software helps you trial and test available the tools found in the full version of the software, often giving you access to all features for a limited time. It can be helpful to use when you’re exploring new software tools, but it can also come in handy if you need a particular suite of tools for a short amount of time, and don’t want to pay the full, often-pricey cost for professional or creative software.

This also applies to beta versions, which manufacturers offer free of charge in advance on the internet. The incoming feedback on handling or possible bugs helps the companies.

With the right knowledge, it’s possible to extend the trial period for some demo software. Here’s how.

How to extend the trial period of demo software

Many demo versions offer a test period of about 30 days. This is usually sufficient for a comprehensive check. But if you want to try out the full version for longer, you can try to extend the demo.

For a long time, a well-known trick to extend the duration of software trials was to reset the date with the internal Windows clock. This often no longer works, however. Software usually uses other mechanisms for the expiry of the trial period and does not fall back on the system clock.

With many products, you have to create a free account with the developer to start the demo. You then log in to the software with a user name and password and the demo period is checked. After the trial period has expired, the program will contact you and ask you to buy the product. If you need more testing, you may be able to create an additional account with a new email address and simply start a new test period. Many developers do not like this method and it may violate the terms of use for the software, however.

Extending Microsoft Office trial periods

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Moving on, you can continue to use the popular Microsoft Office after the trial period has expired by extending the term with Microsoft’s own Rearm method. You start the Rearm tool via the file “OsppRearm.exe”, which you will find in different folders depending on the installed Office version.

For exact information on the installed Office version and information on the Rearm attempts, open the command prompt by entering cmd in the Windows search bar, selecting it, and, if necessary, change to the system directory with the following command:

cd c:\Windows\System32 

Then type in the following command:

cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv all.

It takes a moment until all the information about the installed Office package, among other things, appears. There are many instructions on the Internet for the different Office versions, either in 32 or 64 bit. These show exactly how to enter the rearm command and extend the runtime of the demo. This works up to six times. With the trick, you have the chance to use the Microsoft package for free for up to 180 days.

Similar solutions exist for Microsoft 365 (formerly: Office 365). Before installing the demo, you have to register with Microsoft using your real name and provide credit card information. When the 30-day trial period expires, the first installment for use will be charged immediately — so you have to trigger the extension of the trial period before that occurs.

Alternatively, log in to www.office.com with a Microsoft account and use the online Office suite free of charge in the browser. It’s good!

Temporarily activate a software subscription and buy it cheaply

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Many companies today offer the choice between buying standalone software or a subscription. The subscription is suitable for using a program only for a certain period of time. With a time-limited subscription license, you can use software flexibly without violating licensing conditions.

Tip: Subscribing for a full year is often much cheaper than paying monthly for the same period, if you use the software often.

Especially on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and before Christmas, software companies often offer special deals. Programs or subscriptions are then heavily discounted, and many developers let you stack multiple years of software subscriptions even if you get them for cheap, as detailed below:

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tip: Get 2 years of access for dirt cheapHow to get Microsoft Office 365 for cheap Get Norton 360 Deluxe, the best AV, on five devices for 15 months for $24.99 on PCWorld’s software store.

Another bargain opportunity is software bundles, for example when buying hardware, usually in the form of a voucher code. For example, when you buy a new computer, some manufacturers give you a one-year license of Microsoft 365 or an antivirus tool for free. Install the demo and extend the trial period as described above. Then activate the software with the PC manufacturer’s code.

This article was translated from German to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de.

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