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Why do some software programs come in 1 PC and 3 PC editions?

Answer: When you see the terms "1 PC" or "3 PC" listed next to the name of a software program, they are referring to the number of computers the software can be used on. A 1 PC license means the program can only be used on one computer. A 3 PC license means the program can be installed and run on up to three systems.

Most commercial software programs are sold with a single user, single computer license. However, antivirus software and other utilities are often provided with multi-user licenses. 3 PC licenses are the most common, since most households have three or less home PCs. However, 2 PC licenses are often available and 5 PC "family pack" licenses are sometimes offered for operating systems and other software.

When purchasing system utilities or other software programs, it is important to make sure you purchase the edition with the correct license. For example, if you only need to run a program on one computer, you don't want to accidentally pay for extra licenses that you don't need. If you want to run the software on multiple machines, however, a multi-user license will save you money compared to buying several individual copies of the software. If you need to run a program on ten machines or more, you may want to contact the software developer to see if a volume licensing program is available.

Published: November 27, 2012 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center