DreamSpark – Free Software for all UK Students

Today sees the launch of our DreamSpark programme allowing students around the world to download a selection of full Microsoft products for free.

DreamSpark is available to students in the UK as well as many other countries (with more to follow shortly) and includes the following products:

Developer Tools:

  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition image

  • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition

  • XNA Game Studio 2.0

  • 12-month Academic membership of the XNA Creators Club

Designer Tools:

  • Expression Web

  • Expression Blend

  • Expression Design

  • Expression Media


  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition

  • Windows Server, Standard Edition

Each piece of software is the full product licensed for academic use and is available for instant download from the DreamSpark Web Site. All you have to do is visit the site, login with a Live ID, verify your student status (you must be in higher education) and download the software!

You can verify your student status using your Athens ID, ISIC number or University Authentication (where available) - if you have any problems verifying then please use this form to log a support request.image

One of my favourite things about DreamSpark is the inclusion of XNA Creators Club memberships, this is the first time we have made these available to students for free so you can now build and deploy games onto your Xbox 360 without having to break into your student loan.

You can find out more about XNA along with how you set up your 360 for deploying your XNA games at the XNA Creators Club Web site.

So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself over to DreamSpark now and get yourself some free Microsoft software...

Plus don't forget Microsoft is also offering free Web Hosting to UK students in partnership with Webfusion. To find out more click here or email me to get your unique sign up code.

Comments (18)
  1. edunhill1 says:

    There is an interesting interview with Bill Gates on Channel8 about DreamSpark which you can check out here: http://channel8.msdn.com/Posts/2047/

  2. The skinny: Where? https://downloads.channel8.msdn.com What? Loads of dev and design products Visual

  3. What’s this?  Free developer software for every student in the UK?   Ed Dunhill has all the

  4. What's this?  Free developer software for every student in the UK? Ed Dunhill has all the details

  5. Neil says:

    Would be most beneficial if we could also gain access to Microsoft Project through this. What’s a software development project without proper scheduling and management?!

  6. Andy Paton says:

    Unfortunalty ASTON UNIVERSITY isn’t listed on the site so no every student in the UK can get this… There are many other universities missing from the signup page too!

  7. Hello, I’m a student at Oxford Brookes University and I was quite excited to hear about the DreamSpark offer; however, when I went to sign up I discovered that Brookes was not listed on the list of establishments, preventing me from taking advantage of the offer.

    Would you happen to have any information about participating institutions, and/or what I can do to get my university involved?

  8. Ben Metcalfe says:

    Awsome, yet another great deal from Ed!

  9. edunhill1 says:

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Neil; I will feedback about Project, I know we’re working to add more software titles to the DreamSpark offering.

    Andy/Thomas; If your university isn’t specifically mentioned in the list then you should still be able to authenticate by either using Athens or ISIC (both listed in the drop down). However if your university does not provide an Athens ID or you don’t have an ISIC card then please use the support link in the above post to contact the DreamSpark techies so they can find a workaround for you and start the ball rolling on integrating your universities authentication mechanism.

    As I’m sure you can imagine it is very difficult to find a way to verify all UK students as there are a huge number of different mechanisms used to autheticate students at different institutions. It is something we’re working on but if you can’t authenticate with any of the provided methods we will do our best to find a workaround to get the software into your hands.

    I hope this helps.


  10. anonymous says:

    So does the Expression suite cover Expression Encoder as well that’s a separate download?

  11. edunhill1 says:

    Expression Suite includes the tools used by designers and developers to build content (Web/Blend/Design/Media). Expression Encoder is a seperate server technology. DreamSpark only includes the Suite tools but I will feedback on your interest in Encoder.


  12. Andy Paton says:

    Hi Ed,

    Tried logging onto the Dreamspark Site using Athens and get this message:

    Your home organisation has not registered to use the Athens to Shibboleth gateway. Please contact the service provider or home organisation for assistance.

    Also cant use the NUS number since our Uni disaffiliated from NUS last year.



  13. edunhill1 says:

    Hi Andy,

    Please contact DreamSpark support (https://downloads.channel8.msdn.com/FAQ/Students.aspx#contact) with this issue, they should be able to provide you with next steps to get this working.

    Let me know if you don’t have any joy.


  14. Sandeep says:

    Hi Ed,

    I am studying in london Metropolitan University. My university is not in the organizations list. So I tried to use athens as suggested by you. I have logged into the dreamspark and in the next step of verification, i havenot seen Athens in the dropdown menu. Please tell me where is Athens listed. or if it is listed with other name please let me know…



  15. edunhill1 says:

    Hi Sandeep,

    Athens is listed as “Eduserv Athens”. If you take a look at the screengrab here: http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/edunhill/WindowsLiveWriter/DreamSparkVerificationUpdate_8E91/image_2.png you should be able to see what I mean.

    Any problems let me know.


  16. Kudos to Paolo for getting to this one first. Simply put when Windows Mobile 6.5 launches an accompanying

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