You're a student and you're poor. Because of the cuts in Financial Aid (thanks Obama!), you're working at two different McDonalds across town to pay for that triple dorm room. You have to go back to school soon, but you don't have enough money to buy the tools you need to succeed. You resort to piracy and bam, the FBI is on your tail. You flee to Mexico but run into some trouble with the Federales. They deport your behind back to the States and a judge gives you 15 years and says you shouldn't have tried to download that bear -- all of this because you wanted a proper education. Don't let this calamity befall you. Here at Download.com we try to prevent this going to jail thing by finding the best deals for our readers. One of the best times to purchase software at a discount is at the beginning of the school year. That's why we flipped through our partner's catalogs to hand-pick what we think are the best deals. Sure, buying software may mean you're eating Top Ramen for the next couple of months, but hey, it sure beats paying bail.
AntiVirus -- McAfee All Access $49.99 (50% off)
Most likely you're coming to school with some new gadgets, and McAfee can protect them all in one package. Keep your PC, Mac, smartphone, and tablet safe from hackers and malware with unlimited protection. But wait, aren't Macs supposed to be safe from hackers? According to Eddie Cho, who visited DefCon this year, no chance. To us, this choice is the best balance of protection without slowing your machine down. A good rule to follow: when you're in college, always carry protection.
- Protects your PC, Mac, Smartphones, and Tablets.
- Protects against Viruses and Malware.
- Protects your Identity.
- Manages your Security from the Cloud.
Security -- LoJack $48.95 ($11 Off)
Having an AV is not going to do you any good if someone jacked your laptop. Theft happens in school -- from books, phones, and bikes to computers. Prevent it from happening to you with LoJack. Losing your laptop can mean losing more than money; there is also the potential of losing your work and personal information -- not to mention your sanity. That Macbook Air might cost a shiny penny but compared to the thesis you've spent a year writing, that's time and energy you might not get back. Thankfully, LoJack will do everything to track down your lost stuff, and if they can't they'll give you a thousand dollars!
- The Absolute Theft Recovery Team will forensically mine it to determine who has your computer.
- Remotely deletes personal and sensitive files from your hard drive.
- $1000 Service Guarantee if they are unable to recover your stolen computer or complete the Data Delete service.
Language Study -- Rosetta Stone 40% Off (ends 9/30)
Perfect whether you're preparing for that semester "studying" abroad or trying to talk to that cute international student you met in Social Studies, Rosetta Stone will get you up to speed in whatever language you're interested in. Students majoring in International Business, Social Marketing, or any other subjects that could benefit from a second language, can go farther with Rosetta Stone. Try French: it has some crazy words you won't believe are legal to say in public.
- Build vocabulary and language basics.
- Spell and write accurately.
- Read and understand in your new language.
- Retain what you've learned.
Productivity -- Dragon NaturalSpeaking Premium 40% Off ($59.99-$139.99)
Why write when you can talk? Reserve those hands for more important things like cooking your Ramen noodles or enjoying the latest CoD, Modern Warfare 10 - Black OPs Zombies. Dragon lets you take notes more easily, compose e-mails, and write papers more naturally by speaking. Saying your thoughts aloud will help you form and establish better connections with ideas. Plus it will confuse all of the 13-year-olds on Xbox Live while you spam them with your opinions on Shakespeare.
- 99 percent Recognition Accuracy out of the Box.
- Personalize with your own vocabulary.
- Interact with your PC in an easier and faster way.
- Create documents 3x faster than typing by hand.
Speaking of Xbox Live...
Documents -- Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium with 1yr Xbox Live Gold $99 (ends 9/28)
Get your work done faster with the classic Office suite, now with a modern look and a sleeker interface. MS Office 365 brings you all of the favorite tools you grew up with. The suite is also optimized to be compatible with touch controls for those running Windows 8 with the right hardware. The best part? Microsoft also offers, for a limited time only, a 12-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold with the purchase of Office 365 Home Premium (just in time for the Xbox One's launch). They're taking to heart the phrase "work hard, play hard." A year worth of Xbox Live Gold usually goes for around $50 so you're only paying about that same price for Office. It might be easier to convince the parents to give you extra cash for "School Supplies" this way.
Office 365 Home Premium includes:
Creativity -- Adobe Creative Cloud $19.99/month (60% off)
For the more artistically-inclined students, Adobe Creative Cloud is available for less than a dollar a day thanks to the low-cost monthly subscription -- just for students. Adobe software has always been ridiculously expensive and unaffordable to penny-pinching students. But at the cost of a week of Starbucks or two midnight Jack In The Box runs, you can get access to the entire Adobe suite. Take advantage of the powerful image editor in Photoshop, make movies with Premiere, or create Web sites with Dreamweaver. The bundle also includes Illustrator, Lightroom, Encore, Fireworks, and other tools to meet any designer's needs.
Budget a little tight? Check out the essentials and get the scoop on some freeware to make that transition back to school a little easier.