Shovelware is a bundle of various software applications that no longer have enough demand to be sold individually. Often times this bundle of software has been "shoveled together" hastily without trying to give the buyer all the information that came with the originals, or even a descent means of running the software that came from obsolete operating systems. By bundling several programs together the distributors hope that the combined value of all the programs will be enough to convince a person to buy the old or forgotten programs.

Most programs seen in shovelware were placed in the package either because they are old, obsolete, or useless.

If the program is useless, it is included to increase the total count. By increasing the number of titles in the product it makes the product seem more valuable. If the program is obsolete, it means that a better program has taken it's place. However, some people still prefer the previous program, so they may still want it. If the program is old, this simply means that it is technically out of date. The program may still be useful or exciting provided you can look past the antiquated look and feel, and figure out how to run it on their newer operating system.

Shovelware can often be a good way to pick up a copy of a program that you like for a reasonable price, but you will rarely see hot selling programs in shovelware.