A software warranty is a document, often a digital document provided as a file with a piece of software, which indicates any rights a user may have to replace a piece of software if it is damaged or faulty. This type of warranty may involve the hardware on which the software was sold, such as a physical disc, or only the actual software itself. The latter type of warranty is more likely to be found with software available as a download, and so is not sold as a piece of physical media. A software warranty may provide fairly extensive means of replacement for a piece of software or limited replacement options depending on the preferences of the software developer.
The software warranty provided with a piece of computer software will typically accompany the end user license agreement (EULA) and other legal documentation for the program. These documents can be quite lengthy and most software users tend to skip reading them while installing the software, though this can lead to issues later if a user wishes to dispute part of the warranty or EULA. The protections and offers provided by a software warranty can vary a great deal, and may in part depend on the usage rights provided by the EULA and similar agreements.
A software warranty for a program that is offered as a commercial product that can be purchased as a piece of hard media, such as on a disc, will typically indicate any possibilities for replacement of the disc if damaged or corrupted. This offer can indicate that the disc itself may be replaced, or merely that a user can download the software again without extra charge in case of file corruption. There can also be a time limit on the replacement offered by a software warranty, such as 90 days or one year. Some types of programs may use registration of users rather than software purchase for profit, making free downloads of programs an easy form of replacement since the user paid for a registration or subscription service.
The details of the EULA provided with a program can also have an impact on the software warranty provided with a program. For example, the EULA may state that a software purchaser and user can make a copy of the software onto another disc to keep as a backup disc in case of damage to the original. This may be considered a replacement in terms of a software warranty, and therefore eliminate any official replacement offers. These types of warranties can vary greatly in terms of offers and usage, so individual software warranties should usually be read rather than assumed to provide any particular guarantees or protections.