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Gain access to FREE Microsoft Software

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I wanted to share this with fellow Experts, who might not know.

How often have you wanted to learn something, only to be set back by either restrictions imposed on "trial" or "evaluation" software?  How often have you had to rebuild a home network due to the evaluation time period ending, thus asking you to pay for a product which in no way is going to be used as an Enterprise product at all, but rather as a learning tool?

Then, I may have an answer for you.

Caveats:
- Must be a student!
- Must have a .EDU email address (your school must issue you one).

- >>> See Below On How To Gain Access Without A .EDU Account <<<

Instructions:
- Go to https://www.dreamspark.com/default.aspx
- Sign up for an account by following the directions.  You will be asked for your .EDU email address, so be sure to have a way to log in to it, as your account information will be sent there.

"But, ThatSharePointGuy, I don't have a .EDU account for my school, but I AM a Student!"
- Go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/bb250597.aspx and read about the ELMS for MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA).
- Notice, that your educational institution must be a partner with Microsoft E-Academy, which offers online courses in Microsoft Information Technology subjects.
- To get an account, you need to go to http://www.e-academy.com/msdnaa_request.cfm and fill out the request form.  
- To do so, you must have the name of your institution's Program Administrator's name and email, as well as some other information.  


I hope that this helps some. I recently discovered it a few months ago, even though I had been in school for a few years.  I am not a Dreamspark member, as I did not have a .EDU email address, thus I went through my school's ELMS for MSDNAA Program Administrator to get access to it.

If/When you gain access to the system, you will have access to free full-version copies of most of Microsoft's software, as a learning tool.  Nothing beats running Windows 7 Ultimate with Virtual PC 2007 hosting four Windows 2008 Enterprise Servers, running both SQL Server Enterprise and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (one with 2010 Beta).  If you want actual CD/DVD copies of the software, you may request that also, however they do cost money (albeit, a lot cheaper than you would find anywhere else...$20 for most!).

Best.
Learning.
Ever.

Good luck, and learn as much as you can.  Microsoft has made this available to the students of the World, and taking advantage of it will show them how much we appreciate it.


Notice:  I am in no way affiliated with Microsoft.  I wrote this Article in order to help the other students in the IT community access an awesome resource for learning.

 DreamSpark Web Site
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Jenn Prentice
Great article! Oh that I was still a student and could get some free software!
Voted yes above!
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:ThatSharepointGuy
Thanks!  

I know it isn't comparable to most of the other articles on the site, like disaster recovery or how to use <insert new hot technology here>, but I do feel that more people need to be made aware of it.  It enables us administrators and developers to gain access to applications that we would normally not have access to - all in an effort to better ourselves as a group.

More Experts answering questions expertly enables more people to educate the Askers and general public.

Thanks for the votes guys!
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LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:Dale Fye
Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express are also free downloads.
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LVL 6

Author Comment

by:ThatSharepointGuy
Yes, however they are not full versions.
Especially when setting up a test network, or studying and trying to learn the FULL product, you can get SQL Server (2005/2008) free on there...full working products, with serial keys that come with them.  This goes for pretty much every MS product - Visual Studio included.
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Author Comment

by:ThatSharepointGuy
Let me rephrase that - Express editions are "full versions"....of the Express edition itself.  They lack a lot of the power than the full versions have, especially features that are constantly in use.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:younghv
ThatSharepointGuy:
Great information - thank you for passing it on.
A lot of students can benefit from the information here.

Yes vote above.
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LVL 6

Author Comment

by:ThatSharepointGuy
Cheers :)
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Attlax
Nice share!
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