IEEE and ACM availability of Windows 7 from MSDNAA

The MSDN Academic Alliance program was established seven years ago as a membership service to provide access to MS platform and development tools to STEM departments at educational institutions throughout the world. In 2008, Microsoft extended availability of MSDN AA to organizations such as IEEE and ACM whose mission was to support the educational and professional development of students in technical disciplines.

The release of Windows 7 through these subscriptions triggered an unanticipated situation that put the program at risk: We saw signs that non-students were joining ACM and IEEE as student members solely to obtain Windows 7 through MSDN AA. This infringed on the intent of the program and the conditions of the MSDN AA license. As a result, we decided to remove Windows 7 from the association MSDN AA memberships while we evaluate approaches to ensure that the offering is reaching only the target audience: students and educators. While we expect to have a final position on the matter resolved in the near future, we cannot guarantee that Windows 7 will be available through this associations due to the complexity of student enrollment verification. We recommend the technical students and educators use their institutional and department MSDN AA subscription to obtain Windows 7. Find your department’s MSDNAA availability at (Once you find your school/department, click on the ‘Get Software’ link)

Background: The MSDN Academic Alliance program was established seven years ago as a membership service to provide access to MS platform and development tools to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) departments at educational institutions throughout the world. Through the program, 500+ professional-level Microsoft developer and design software products and tools are available to students, faculty and labs in these departments with a license for teaching/learning and research (non-commercial) purposes.

MSDN AA is available at over 20,000 departments world-wide and over 5000 departments in US.  All of these institutions do include Windows 7 professional as part of their MSDNAA membership and are making Windows 7 Pro available to students at no cost. Please contact your school/department to encourage them to use MSDNAA and make Windows 7 available to all eligible students.

If your school/department does not have MSDN AA (i.e. not listed at, encourage them to sign-up for MSDNAA membership at

If your school/department has MSDNAA, check if Windows 7 Professional edition is available for student download - This post also lists what the MSDNAA admin at your department has to do to make Windows 7 available to students via ELMS download center.

If you have access to Windows 7 from MSDNAA and want information on downloading and installing it, refer to

If you still have questions about MSDNAA availability of Windows 7 Professional at your school/department, please contact or call 866-643-9421


Responding to other questions raised:

  • Windows 7 Professional is included in MSDNAA for student distribution – this is the final version and not RC. If you are seeing RC in your MSDNAA- ELMS, contact your administrator to get them to make Windows 7 Pro available to students. This is also the full version and not an upgrade offer, so you can install it on a clean machine, by burning the ISO image onto a DVD (image is too big for a CD).
  • Windows 7 Enterprise is included in MSDNAA for lab installs and is not intended for student distribution. (I have passed along the student concerns about this to the MSDNAA program owners at Microsoft and will make a post when a decision is made)
  • Students and Faculty in the STEM (science, engineering, Technology, math) departments are eligible for Windows 7 and all 500+ of MSDNAA software products and tools.
  • By default each eligible student (and faculty) gets one license key to install any MSDNAA software (including Windows 7) on one PC. MSDNAA does not restrict a student to only one license key and provides your local department Administrator with the ability to distribute additional license keys, at their discretion – contact your admin if you have another PC you want to install MSDNAA software on.
  • If you are not a STEM student, you can still download MS design and development tools at no cost at, although this does not include Windows 7.


Comments (25)
  1. Mauricio Manterola says:

    I just enrolled to IEEE as an PhD student in EE and I am very disappointed for this….

    Using same argument why you didn’t restricted access to ALL software library?..

    Micro$oft still showing his true face…

  2. Manny Mann says:

    Just give them some time. If they find a good way to verify students, I’m sure it will be reintroduced. You can’t expect Microsoft to allow people to steal their top product a few weeks before its official launch.

  3. This is very good and informative site.

  4. I must admit, I’m pretty disappointed, too.  I’m an ME major (3rd year), and even though I have MSDNAA through my major, I run two machines so really would love to get another copy of 7 (x64).  I actually joined IEEE before even knowing about this program and when I found out, 7 had already been removed.

    In any case, I all I can do is wait.  I do have faith in this [wonderful] program.

  5. Mazen Abdel-Latif says:

    I recently joined the IEEE student program, I am a Bachelor electrical engineering Major, I used to run a 32-bit Windows 7 Ultimate RC, now I am looking for the final 64-bit version of Windows 7, and I was disappointed not to see it available on MSDNAA on October 22th. Now I am reading this, and I am really, really disappointed.. I truly hope you find a solution for this problem as soon as possible, because I am really looking forward to using the new Windows 7.

  6. Peter West says:

    This is truly disappointing.  At a time when Microsoft is struggling to stave off the competition from competitors such as Apple with competing operating system releases, we see this deal removed and all of our accounts disabled without warning.  I must mention the obvious to you that Apple’s latest operating system was released for roughly $30USD – this is not an upgrade, but a full disc version that may be installed.  Instead Microsoft continues to charge 4-5 times this amount for a full version.  I paid full-price for Vista and yet still feel punished to this day as a student.  The competitor is looking better every single day for at least I’ll save money on future operating system releases.  Slowly you bring upon your own demise.

  7. Phil says:

    I joined IEEE as a student (I am a real student!) while Windows 7 was on offer, only to have it removed during my 8 day waiting period. What’s the point of the wait if not to check student status?

    Regardless of what you do in the future, you need to step up and honour your commitments. You were perfectly happy to offer Windows 7 when you thought it benefited you. If you’ve changed your mind you still have an obligation to those of us who joined during that time period.

  8. Mark says:

    I am a computer engineerings student at Memorial University (which does not take part in the MSDNAA) and was very disappointed when I found out my new IEEE membership would not give me access to Windows 7. It’s really inconvenient, but completely understandable. If a significant number of people lied to become members of IEEE just to get a cheap copy of Windows that completely violates the MSDNAA principles and reresents a major loss to Microsoft. It’s an expensive OS, but if someone’s not eligble for the program they shouldn’t be using it. As long as Microsoft deals with the problem swiftly and allows legitimate users access to the software soon I won’t have any problem with Microsoft.


    "You were perfectly happy to offer Windows 7 when you thought it benefited you."

    What benefit? They were practically giving away their brand new operating system to academic users. They’re offering dozens of useful software tools and operating systems for a mere ~$35 membership (or $333 for a year for a university – literally a couple cents a student).

    How can you be angry at a company that is legitimately protecting its own interests? If anything everyone should be thankful to Microsoft for this opportunity (unless they never return IEEE users access to Windows 7 soon, which would piss me off to no end).

  9. AP P says:


    What does Microsoft do about the Windows 7 serials which have already been downloaded from ACM or IEEE? My opinion is that Microsoft should ban those serials, since if us, the new users, can’t get the serials neither should them.

    Do you know if finnish students will get student discounts sometime in the near future from when buying Windows 7?

  10. Clifford Cone says:

    The best method to ensure only students receive Windows 7 would be to open the download and keys after the new year and renewal. If someone renews, it is likely they are an actual student not simply one who is trying to manipulate the system.

    Just my two cents.

  11. Ahmet Karaküçük says:

    MS should never cut access to benefits they introduced before. This is both unethical and a punishment way to do so.

    My institutional department is only giving these kind of academical benefits through its own domain. They are using KMS like method to activate the software. This is uneasy for me to bring my desktop computers to school and access from there.

    Can MS ban those unverified users’ keys? No. What MS can only do is to cut access our rights caused by this offer. And the sad point is that we are eligible users.

    So here, as i mentioned above, the eligible, students of STEMs are the only people getting punished.

    Here I’d like to ask microsoft to take down other editions of Windows software from its channels.

    This whole thing has created nothing but frustration among us.

  12. M W G says:

    I’ve been following the comments here since this article was first posted and my situation and feelings echo a lot of what has been said already.  I’ve been an on again/off again Electrical Engineering student, and also IEEE student member, for MANY years.  I finally found the time and money to renew my membership and was excited to get the email about MSDNAA access.  My school’s technology support is embarrassingly lacking for a major university.  While we do have a campus agreement, the software available hasn’t changed in two years if not more.  We do not have access to MSDNAA through the school and I doubt they’d be willing (or able to figure out how) to set it up.  

    When I found out that Windows 7 had been pulled from the list of software available to IEEE student members ONE DAY before I got access, I was frustrated to say the least.  Furthermore, the announcement on the page had not been updated in a month but still indicated it should be available.  Now a new announcement is in it’s place:

    "2009-11-03   Please note: Windows 7 is not part of the this Developer AA package."  

    This does NOT make it sound like they are working diligently to find a way to make it available to IEEE student members again as it does not allude to the absence of Windows 7 being a temporary issue in any manner.  

    While I acknowledge it is borderline ridiculous to complain about something that WAS free and I agree that those who dishonestly gained access to MSDNAA through IEEE are to blame for this mess, ultimately, Microsoft’s response has left yet another bad taste in my mouth.  

    I understand that MS is trying to protect their business and products but putting the profit before the people should never be the first choice, which is what has been done by denying access to the product by those who have a legitimate claim to it.  I further believe it is a poor example of business practices that is being demonstrated here primarily to young individuals that will soon take a place in the industry that Microsoft is a part of.

    I have no problem with MS wanting a better verification system for student status, even if it means added inconvenience.  However, such a system should be conceived then implemented without disrupting any existing service.  If they feel such a system is implausible or will take a significant amount of time to implement, they should re-evaluate the MSDNAA access for IEEE members in its entirety rather than simply prohibiting access to a certain title due to its popularity and moving on.

    I have had dealings with several other (much smaller) software vendors that use major third-party companies to verify student status prior to offering their products for free or at discounted prices.  It couldn’t be that difficult for two huge organizations, Microsoft and IEEE, to make such arrangements as well if Microsoft is actually willing to distribute Windows 7 to legitimate student members of IEEE, which I personally doubt they are at this point.

    Considering how much time, energy, and money MS puts in to combating software piracy and how widespread such piracy is among technically savvy students at universities, this sort of move seems like it would only instigate such activities.  In fact, after telling fellow students of this issue, I have already been offered cracked versions of Windows 7. I’m honestly not someone who uses illegal software, but it’s hard not to believe that this move by Microsoft won’t increase the number of illegal copies of Windows 7 being circulated to some degree.

  13. JH says:

    Suitable authentication method?! Athens works fine for DreamSpark…

  14. MA says:

    I am feeling pretty frustrated right now, not because the software is unavailable(Well that is annoying too…) but because this has caused me to be stuck in limbo. I have been an IEEE student member for a year now, and I have had Win7 RC installed on my computer since it was released. When I realized I could get a final copy from MSDNAA I went to download only to find it blocked. Then I waited awhile, and now I have a CAD project that I need to complete by Monday, but because this might be resolved sometime, I don’t want to go and spend my food money on the $30 upgrade Win7 for students. The even more annoying thing is that I am a Biomedical Engineering student, and at my university business school students and continuing education students get access to MSDNAA, but not us. What business or cont. education student needs developer tools?!! And ironically, I worked at a Comp. Science department at a college this summer, but they don’t have MSDNAA, and my ability to get access from a university I used to attend just ran out at the beginning of October!

    So to sum it up, just make up your minds, or even better- allow everyone access and verify student status later. Then, just block the serials from those who are not students.

  15. screwed says:

    God dammit. How is this for student good will?

  16. William M says:

    Some of my professors in Management Information Systems say they have a student membership in the IEEE. They want to change to a full membership, but apparently the IEEE only allows people to do this during a single month (June I think).  That could be one cause of consternation for Microsoft.  Also, why don’t you just require Windows 7 downloads to be authenticated in the same manner as DreamSpark downloads?

    Of course, the most annoying part of this for me is that my school does not offer an MSDNAA subscription service (and they’re unlikely to start as they discontinued the MIS major for all future students).

  17. DM says:

    I don’t know why I bothered to keep reading past the first few comments, because all I kept hearing was ‘me, me, me, me, me…what about me?’

    You’d think that Windows 7 was a basic human right guaranteed by the US Constitution.

    You are all students, indeed!  Good luck in the real world when you get there…

  18. Paul says:

    I use Windows XP on an old laptop which cost $50 and I installed Ubuntu Linux for free on an old $30 PC. You probably don’t need this stinking Windows 7. Schools still have the latest Vista for free if you need to be familiar with a newer OS. Dreamspark has Server 2008 for free which you can run as a desktop just like Windows 7. Stop whining and grow up.

  19. Malang says:

    Windows 7 professional (x86/64) is available in the IEEE software repository for $23 plus the postage. Unfortunately, I can’t take advantage of this offer as the shipping is limited to US and Canada only and I live in Europe.

  20. Malang says:

    I wonder why this offer is for US and Canada only, after all there are lots of legitimate IEEE Computer society members in other countries. The irony is the fact that being a European and legitimate member of IEEE computer society I can access the windows 7 Pro but can’t deliver it to my European address. If this offer is available for all the IEEE members then why the shipping to US and Canada only, why not for the members in other countries. I’m really disappointed.

  21. Ryan Truss says:

    What if the IEEE required a .edu email address to verify that you are a student?? Although this might discriminate somewhat against homeschoolers, most of us (myself included) attend some community college during high school and thus have a .edu email account.

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    I am IEEE member of computer Science 3rd year. I am very disappointed about that.  I have been sending the mail to solve this problem since long time. Please solve the problem and upload the MSDN with Windows 7.

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