Old software - any reason to keep?

Back in the days when getting on the internet required killing robots, downloading software was a big deal so I used to do it once and hang onto installers in case I needed them later or maybe needed to revert to an earlier version of something. Now, more than 20 years on, I don’t tend to keep copies of installers but I have more than 250GB of old versions of everything I ever downloaded before about 2015 or so.

I honestly can’t remember the last time, or if ever I have needed to use any of these older versions but I’m reticent to ditch all this stuff in case I one day really, really need a copy of Firefox 2 or IE 5, or even Apple Security Updates from 2007.

I would guess I’m not alone in doing this and interested in others’ thoughts on whether there is any potential value in keeping this stuff, or any potential downsides of getting rid of it.

1 Like

Unless you’re looking to restore old machines it’s probably not of much use IMHO.


From Catalina on, 32 bit applications will not work.
So if you have need for such, then a backup OS/application is wise.

In my own case I have an older Mac with OS compatible if, for some reason (and you usually find this reason some time down the track) I require some older stuff to convert, update, whatever.


Parallels Desktop will run down to OS 10.7 Lion in a VM.
Whilst I haven’t tried it, I’d suspect that 32 bit applications will work in an older Mac OS VM under Catalina or Big Sur.
So if there is stuff you maybe want to keep using, a shared folder with those old apps in them could be a workable set up.

When setting up my 20th Anniversary Macintosh it came with a Farallon ethernet card as an add in. This requires a really obscure driver for MacOS 9 to run. Luckily some guy had kept the installer and uploaded it onto his own website. It turned out he had done what you had done and kept everything. If he hadn’t have uploaded this driver, I would be without ethernet on my TAM.

I vote for keeping it and perhaps storing/archiving it somewhere online.

1 Like

I too am also a hoarder of all things and had versions of stuff going waaaaay back into the early 90s. I used to do tech support for family and friends (usually PC’s not Macs) so had copies of random drivers, applications and assorted random stuff. I didn’t start keeping Mac stuff until 2008 or so, but have kept every version (including updates and combo updates) through most of the version until a couple of years ago (note some of the newer versions need the system date tweaked before you can install them as they are time bombed to ensure people are getting a current version).

With a view to clean up my NAS where it was all stored I moved it to an external 1TB Desktop HDD, which has been plugged in maybe twice in the last five years when I went looking for some specific thing.

But if you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of old HDD’s sitting in a drawer from upgrades to old machines. I went through the pile of laptop drives and bought off ebay a bunch of really cheap USB to SATA cases. With only ~250GB of files I’m sure there will be something gathering dust and for less than $10 per drive case you are buying at the very least that feeling and knowledge that you have that stuff… just in case :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Is it still hoarding if it’s neatly packed in a labelled box…?

I have a bunch of old floppies with apps / etc… and a bunch of CDs / DVDs too. Somewhere, I have a USB Floppy Drive that I was going to use to sort through the floppies… but, yeah, that was 10 years ago…

Over the past year I have actually been slowly sorting through my various backups and duplicates of photos… capturing just 1 of each file, sorted by year taken. (Plus of course Time Machine backup, AND a regular clone to an external drive – but better than the typically 4 - 10 copies of each file that I currently have. Hell of a job though…

Oh god I have 10 + external HDDs of backups and data that I need to go through and I’m really really really dreading it :open_mouth: