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Microsoft DreamSpark: No Cost Software for Teaching, Learning & Research

Microsoft DreamSpark offers UMass Amherst undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff a wide range of Microsoft products at no cost, including Windows operating systems, select Microsoft software (e.g., MS Visio and MS Project), Microsoft server operating systems, applications, and developer tools. Note: The Microsoft Office suite is not available through DreamSpark.

Starting in Fall 2013, Microsoft DreamSpark is replacing the Microsoft Developer's Network Academic Alliance (MSDN-AA) program at UMass Amherst.

UMass Amherst’s DreamSpark Web store

About the Program

Microsoft DreamSpark is a special agreement between UMass Amherst and Microsoft, replacing the Microsoft Developer's Network Academic Alliance (MSDN-AA) program. The DreamSpark subscription includes the most current Microsoft developer tools, platforms, and servers. More about DreamSpark | Microsoft DreamSpark End User License Agreement.

How is DreamSpark Different from MSDN-AA?

  • Each eligible individual is entitled to one key per product to install on a single computer. Products can be re-installed on the same computer up to two times using the same key. 
  • Products are available for download as ISO images from UMass Amherst's DreamSpark Web store.
  • For questions and support, click the Help link in the DreamSpark Web store, refer to the Microsoft DreamSpark Web site or contact dreamspark@oit.umass.edu.
  • DreamSpark is a Microsoft-hosted program and is not managed by the Office of Information Technologies (OIT).

Eligibility & Restrictions

  • Products are available to full-time graduate and undergraduate students taking credit courses (i.e., a minimum of 12 credits for undergraduates and 9 credits for graduate students).
  • Full-time faculty and staff can use the software only for educational and research purposes (not for commercial or University work). Products can be used on home computers for non-work related purposes, and if on University-owned computers, only in research labs and teaching classrooms. Retirees and part-time faculty and staff are not eligible for this program.
  • Each eligible individual is entitled to one key per product to install on a single computer.
  • Students, faculty, and staff are not required to uninstall the software obtained through DreamSpark when they graduate or leave the University as long as usage still meets the requirements of the End User License Agreement (for personal, research, or instructional use, not for commercial or business use).

Available Software

DreamSpark offers over 100 products, including:

  • Windows operating systems (e.g., Windows 8)
  • Select Microsoft software (e.g., MS Project, MS Visio; does not include the Microsoft Office Suite)
  • Microsoft developer tools (e.g., Windows CE .NET)
  • Windows server operating systems & applications

For the latest list of products, see our DreamSpark Web store.

How to Obtain & Install Software

Before you get started, please remember:

  • Products will download as ISO images and will not install automatically once downloaded. When the download is complete, create bootable USB media, burn the image to a writable DVD - or - use Virtual CloneDrive to mount the image on a Windows computer. Learn how to burn an .iso or .dmg file on Windows or Macintosh computers. 
  • Most products will take between 10 and 15 minutes to download.
  • You will need to install Microsoft's Secure Download Manager (SDM) to complete the download process.
  • To view your order history, go to the DreamSpark Web store and click Your Account/Orders (top right corner). To access the product key, download the ISO image again, or purchase a backup disk, click View Details.
  1. Log in to UMass Amherst’s DreamSpark Web store with your OIT Account NetID and password.
  2. Use the navigation menu at left to locate the product you wish to install. Click the product icon.
  3. On the product detail page, review the system requirements, then click Add to Cart.
  4. In Your Cart, review your product(s), then click Check Out. Optional: To install the product directly from a DVD, add a backup disk to your order (for a fee). You can also purchase the backup disk any time after you complete your order.
  5. Click I Accept to accept the DreamSpark EULA terms.
  6. Next, review your order. Be sure your correct UMass Amherst email address appears on this page, then click Proceed With Order. You will receive an email receipt for your order.
  7. On the next screen, note the Product Key (in red), then click Start Download (top right side of the screen). The download process will start in a new browser window.
  8. Next, download and install the Secure Download Manager (SDM) (if not already installed), then follow the prompts to download your order as an .SDX file. You do not need administrative privileges to install Secure Download Manager
  9. Run the .SDX file. A screen where you can download the ISO image for your order will open. 
  10. Download the ISO image for the software you ordered.
  11. Next:
    • If doing a fresh installation, create bootable USB media or burn the image file to a writable DVD. For instructions, see: Working with Image Files (PDF, 413KB) (section titled "Creating Bootable USB Media").
    • If doing an upgrade using Virtual CloneDrive, double-click the image file.  
  12. On the USB flash drive, DVD, or virtual mount, follow the prompts to install the product on your computer.
  13. To view your order history, go to the DreamSpark Web store and click Your Account/Orders (top right corner). To access the product key, download the ISO image again, or purchase a backup disk, click View Details.