Microsoft releases FREE Sunset Edition of Microsoft Money

Microsoft Money is headed off into the sunset, but our friends in Redmond have one final version to offer those who are still using their personal finance product.

The aptly-named “sunset edition” of Microsoft Money was released in May and although it has fewer features (all of the online capabilities are missing) this new version of Money doesn’t require activation, meaning that users who need to install it on a new PC or who lose their product code won’t be stuck without their data.

The Microsoft Money Plus Sunset versions are replacements for expired versions of Microsoft Money Essentials, Deluxe, Premium, and Home and Business.

Microsoft stopped selling Money at retail stores in 2008, but continued selling it online until last year, when it announced plans to discontinue the software. Even though sales ended last year, product support is planned only through January 2011 providing a much shorter “end of life” support cycle then Microsoft usually provides.

There are actually two versions of the Sunset edition–one for those running Money Premium, Deluxe, and Essentials and the other for those running Money Home and Business. While users that plan to keep using Money should eventually install Money Sunset, Microsoft warns those still getting online updates should stick with the version they have until they no longer need–or no longer can get–those updates. That’s because the Sunset version actually strips out the ability to get online quotes, online updates from banks or do online bill paying.

If your installation of Money Plus currently has active online services, or if your installation of Money Plus is still covered by Microsoft support services…I DO NOT recommend that you upgrade to the Sunset version of Money Plus. Microsoft estimates all online updates will be discontinued by January 31st of this year, after which, it suggests people move to the Sunset version. They also recommend that users keep their original software, their most recent activation key as well as the Sunset software. Plus, for folks using a Windows Live ID to authenticate the software, they should switch to using Money’s built-in authentication, in case they ever pull the plug on Live ID-based authentication for Money. Lot’s to think about…

So far, Microsoft has done little to make people aware of the new version, other than quietly posting it online for downloading. So, if you’re a Microsoft Money user, I’ve posted the links below so you can download the appropriate “Sunset Version” of the software.

But perhaps it time to consider moving to a non-discontinued, still-being-updated product, such as Quicken–the software whose market dominance probably pushed Money to the recycle bin anyway.

Microsoft PLUS Sunset Deluxe

Microsoft Money Sunset Home and Business

If you’re ready to “bite the bullet” and move to Quicken here’s the link to check out – there’s even a conversion tool so you can transfer your current data right into Quicken 2010.

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