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How do I return something?

If you need to return something you have purchased, please click here to see our return policy for more information and instructions.

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What is OEM software?

OEM means “Original Equipment Manufacturer.” OEM software is a full version of a program used by system builders and computer manufacturers. It is identical to the Retail Box version, but does not include a manual, a box, or installation support from the manufacturer. Support is usually still available on the manufacturer’s web site or on a paid-per-incident basis. OEM versions will usually include the software in the form of a CD-ROM, the Certificate of Authenticity, the product key code, the license, and a registration card. If you buy a Microsoft OEM or DSP version that does not have all of these items, there is a good chance that the software is not authentic.

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What is DSP software?

DSP means “Delivery Service Partner.” It is a version of OEM software used by smaller computer manufacturers and system builders.

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What is the difference between OEM and DSP software?

The software in both OEM versions and DSP versions is the same. OEM software normally has the hardware manufacturer’s name, such as Dell or Sony, printed on the manual and license. DSP software, however, has NO manufacturer’s name stamped on the manual or printed on the license. DSP versions usually just say “OEM.” Basically, DSP is a more generic packaging of an OEM product that is sold to smaller system builders who do not qualify for larger volume discounts and custom printing on their software.

Please note that OEM and DSP non-operating system software (such as Microsoft Office, Works Suite, WordPerfect, etc.) cannot be installed over a previous version as an Upgrade.

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Can I still use a rebate with OEM/DSP software?

No, OEM versions of products do not qualify for manufacturer rebates.

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What is a License?

When you buy a software package most of what you are paying for is a license to use the software. In fact, this is the main thing you are buying when you purchase software. The disc and manuals cost very little to produce. The software that is on the disc, however, may have cost millions of dollars to produce. Ownership of the copyrights and other intellectual property that is contained on the disc remains the property of the manufacturer or publisher. What you are buying is a license to use the software. In other words, when you "buy" software, you are not really "buying" the software. You are buying a license to USE the software.

Please be sure to read the software licensing agreement that comes with your software. The rules for using each program are usually specific to that particular program. When you open a software product -- sometimes you do not even need to install it -- you are bound by an agreement*. These agreements are legal contracts and it is important that you understand the rules to which you are agreeing.

Product licensing applies to businesses and individual users.

* This is one of the reasons we cannot accept opened software. Please click here to learn more about opened software.

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What if my disk doesn't work or the program installation won't run?

If you experience a problem with the disc for your software, please do the following:

First, check the support area of the manufacturer's web site (click here for a list of links) to see if there are any known installation issues or patches available for your product. There is a good chance that the disc may not be bad. Sometimes you may only need a software patch or there may be known installation issues with the product and the manufacturer will have all the information you need to get your software running correctly.

If there are no known issues or patches, the next step is to contact the manufacturer directly. They can help you figure out if the disc is truly defective and will, usually, offer free replacement discs.

If none of this takes care of the problem, please feel free to contact us between 9 am and 5 pm, Mountain Time, Monday through Friday.

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What is the difference between Tracking and Confirmation Numbers?

All major shippers with the exception of the United States Postal Service (USPS), which issues confirmation numbers, issue tracking numbers. What's the difference? Tracking numbers will reflect the actual status and location of a shipment. Confirmation numbers will only show that a package has been delivered to the Post Office and if and when it was delivered. If you require more detailed shipping information, please choose Ground, Second Day, or Next Day shipping. Priority Mail and most shipments using our flat rate option are sent via USPS and will only have a confirmation number. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for delays caused by the Postal Service.

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Do you accept international orders?

We will accept International Orders on an order-by-order, case by case basis. We experience an extremely high rate of fraud with international orders and will only fulfill those orders we feel are legitimate and meet certain requirements.

We do not accept Credit Cards with International Billing Addresses or issued by any bank outside of the United States. We accept the following ONLY for payment of international orders:

  • US Money Order
  • Cashiers check drawn on a US Bank
  • Wire Transfer prior to shipment.

The buyer is responsible for any transaction fees (Wire Transfer Fees) charged by any financial institution(s).

Our bank charges $10 US to receive international wire transfers. The buyer will cover this fee.

Please keep in mind that many countries charge additional duties and taxes on deliveries not originating in their countries. It is your responsibility to find out what costs need to be covered. Once we receive payment and ship items, it is out of our hands.

Flat rate and all other standard shipping options listed on our site are for domestic (US) orders only and do not apply to international orders.

If you agree to these terms, please email us an itemized list of what you would like to order. We will prepare an estimate with shipping costs.

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What is Product Activation?

Product activation is a technology that Microsoft began using with their XP (Office and Windows) line of products to help verify that their products are legitimately licensed.

Product Activation works by validating that the software's product key has not been used on more PCs than is allowed by the end user license agreement (EULA). The key, or product ID, is sent along with a "hardware hash" code generated from the PC's configuration to Microsoft during activation. Activations on the same PC using the same product key are unlimited.

If you do not activate your product within the specified time period, Windows XP versions and some Office products may stop working until you contact Microsoft. Some of Office XP products will enter "reduced functionality mode." If this happens, users will not be able to save changes to documents or create new documents. Other functions may also be disabled.

Important Things to Know About Activation

  • Activation applies to businesses and individual users.
  • No vendor, including DirtCheapSoftware.com, has access to activation information. You must contact Microsoft if you have questions or issues regarding your product activation.
  • If you buy a new computer, the licenses on it have probably already been activated at the factory and you do not need to do anything.
  • Licenses acquired through one of Microsoft's volume licensing programs do not usually need to be activated.
  • If you make substantial changes to your PC, ie change the network card, hard drive, CPU, CD drive, etc, the hardware hash code MAY change and your product MAY deactivate. Even if it is the same machine, the activation software may not recognize it as such. If this happens, or if you have any concerns about this happening, contact Microsoft.
  • Please see Microsoft's web site for more information about activating your software.

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What does EULA mean?

EULA is short for End User License Agreement. These are the terms the user agrees to when they use a software product.

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What does COA mean?

A COA is a “Certificate of Authenticity.” It is used to certify that the license for software is authentic. If you do not have a COA, especially with a Microsoft product, there is a good chance it is not an authentic copy. Computer builders will usually attach the Operating System COA to the outside of any computer on which they install an operating system. Do not throw out the COA when you get your software. It has the key code you need to activate your software. If you loose or destroy your key code, you will need to buy another copy of the software to get another one.

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What does EDOC mean?

EDOC stands for Electronic Documentation. Some products do not come with a paper manual and include all the documentation on the CD as an EDOC. EDOC's can usually be installed or run from the CD through the help files.

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What is an Upgrade Version?

An Upgrade Version of software is a full version of a software package that is usually less expensive. You must have, however, a previous version of the software or a qualifying upgrade product to be able to install the Upgrade.

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What are CD Only products?

CD Only products are the same software that comes in the box. It does not include a paper manual. The software contains a full license and can be registered. This is also sometimes called the “Retail Sleeve” version.

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Why don’t you accept returns on opened software?

We will only accept returns on opened software for exchange of the exact same product. If your product is defective, we will be happy to replace it.

If the software is good and you don't like it or it is not compatible with your system, we cannot accept the product back for a refund. The buyer is ultimately responsible for making sure that the software will run on their system.

Software that has been opened is considered used and cannot be re-sold. By opening a software package, you are accepting the license for use and are considered to have used that product. Even if all you did was open the plastic wrap and never installed the software on your computer, the product is still considered used. Period. Legally, reselling software where the license MIGHT have been used considered piracy. We do not sell pirated or illegal software in any form.

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Why does the shopping cart not keep track of the items I want to order?

If you are having trouble adding and keeping items in your shopping cart, there is a good chance that your system is not storing cookies. The most likely reason is that the browser is configured either so that it will not accept them or the security setting is too high for the cookie to be stored on your computer.

Other reasons may be due to Firewall restrictions or the use of Anti Spy Ware software such as Ad-Aware.

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What is a cookie and why do you use them?

A cookie is a small text file we send to your computer that helps us keep track of your order. The cookie itself is simply an ID number for the shopping cart. We do not store any other information in the cookie. Any information you enter when placing an order is kept on our servers. The ID in the cookie is merely a key.

We use cookies to keep track of each shopper's basket. When you arrive at our store, we give you a unique cookie. When you click on an Order button, we use the cookie to decide which shopping basket gets the product.

If we do not use cookies (or some equivalent approach), there is simply no way to make a shopping basket work. The cookie gives the server a way to tell that two clicks on the Order button are coming from the same browser. If we did not do this, you would not be able to continue shopping without checking out first nor would you be able to place more than one item in the basket.

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Where is my tracking information for the package I shipped to an overseas military address?

Tracking information is not available for any shipments to either APO (Army/Air Post Office) or FPO (Fleet Post Office) addresses. This is a security restriction placed on shipments by the US Military and the USPS.

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