Microsoft Imagine, formerly known as DreamSpark, is an incredible education tool that allows students and educators to use some of the more advanced Microsoft software for free, as part of a student’s technical education.
The purpose, according to Microsoft, is to allow students to “chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology—or just get a head start on their career.”
This free access allows students to familiarize themselves with advanced programs that might otherwise be expensive to purchase and become acquainted with.
What is included in DreamSpark?
DreamSpark comes in two different packages that your school can purchase: Standard and Premium. The programs available to you depend on which package your school selects.
Here are the two inclusions for DreamSpark in Windows 10:
DreamSpark Standard includes:
- Microsoft Azure
- Visual Studio Community 2017
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012, 2014, 2016
- Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016
- Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro
DreamSpark Premium includes:
- MS-Dos 6.22
- Windows 7 Professional, 8 Pro, 8.1 Pro, 10 Education
- Visual Studio 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 (all editions)
- OneNote 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
- Access 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
- Project 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
- Visio 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
- Skype for Business
Who can use it?
As long as you're a registered student at a university, community college, vocational school, or high school, you can download Microsoft Imagine for free.
Microsoft Imagine is designed to help educators introduce students to more advanced Microsoft programs, without burdening students with purchasing the software.
While it is more convenient when your school is registered with DreamSpark/Imagine (and may allow more program options), it isn't required.
Schools interested in signing up for Imagine can get it for all students, faculty, and labs at an incredibly low price.
How do you get it?
If you are a student interested in downloading Microsoft Imagine, follow these steps:
Step #1: Sign in at imagine.Microsoft.com
- Use any Microsoft account (Hotmail, Outlook, X Box Live, etc.)
Step #2: Select your account and choose Imagine Account
- In the top right-hand corner, you should find your account. In the drop-down menu, find Imagine Account, and click it.
Step #3: Enter any required account information
- You may be prompted to enter some information. Enter the account information and select 'I accept.'
Step #4: Select Please verify your student status
- On your account page, on the right-hand pane, you’ll see this option.
Step #5: Verify your status through one of the options
You will be presented with several ways to verify your student status. You can choose whichever is most convenient for you. The options include:
- School email address: you can enter your school email address if your school is already signed up for DreamSpark/Imagine.
- School login with Shibboleth: you can enter your school account if your school is signed up for Imagine and has a single sign-on using Shibboleth.
- International Student Identity Card: if your school isn’t registered, you can use this card to prove your student status.
- Microsoft Imagine Verification Code: if you work with someone from Microsoft and present your student ID, you can be provided with a verification code.
- Upload school enrollment documents: if no other options are available to you, you can upload documents that prove you are currently a student. This requires 3-5 days to verify.
Step #6: You are now verified
- Unless you require further verification (in case you've had to upload documents), you should now be completely verified by Microsoft. You can begin downloading programs.
What is the product key?
Your downloads may come with a confirmation email. This email will contain a product key: a code with several digits.
This code could be important if you have to reinstall the program later, so be sure to keep track of this email.
The product key may also be required to verify the products you download.
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