As I pointed out over a year ago, Microsoft has decided to quit producing Money Plus, its personal-finance software. At that time, I suggested sixteen powerful alternatives to Microsoft Money, but GRS reader Lijacka dropped a line the other day to point out that Money Plus is still available. For free! What’s the catch?

Well, the biggest drawback is that the free versions of Money Plus have no online features. Here’s the scoop from Microsoft:

On Jan. 31, 2011, all online services and assisted support for all versions of Money end. The Microsoft Money Plus Sunset versions provide an alternative version of Money with the following:

Money Plus Sunset version

  • No activation requirement. This version can be installed/reinstalled as needed without a requirement to activate.
  • No online services. Discontinued services include online quotes, bill payment, statement downloads initiated by Money, data sync with MSN Money, etc. If your financial institution provides OFX or QIF statement downloads, the Sunset versions will allow you to import those statements into your Money file.
  • Online Help is replaced with a local Help file.
  • No Assisted Support. Self Help and community support may continue to be available for a few more years
  • File conversion from older versions of Money. The Sunset versions are able to open and convert Money Plus files and files from older versions of Money (e.g. Money 2006, Money 2007). The Sunset version cannot convert files created by regional (non-US) versions of Money.

Money Plus Sunset is available in two versions: Money Plus Deluxe Sunset (designed to replace Essentials, Deluxe and Premium) and Money Plus Home & Business Sunset (designed to replace Home & Business).

Because Microsoft has removed the activation requirement and provided a public download, they’re essentially giving this software away free (though that’s not how they’ve phrased it: “This version of Money Plus Sunset can be installed stand alone, or as an upgrade to any existing installation of Microsoft Money.”). Please note that you should not install this over your existing copy of Money Plus until after 31 January 2011, or you’ll lose online features and technical support. You can read more about Microsoft Money Plus Sunset on the download page.

If you’re looking for PC-based financial software and don’t mind the lack of online features (I never use them in Quicken), then this could be worth a try.

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