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Free Microsoft Programming Languages and Servers for Students
Originally Published on Suite101.com 

Students can obtain free full version developmental, programming language, and server software from Microsoft by using this special educational website.

Students can take advantage of a special website created by Microsoft to allow them to download and install free software which includes the latest programming tools, developmental suites, and server applications. Simply go to Dreamspark.com and sign in using an official educational email (.edu) address to begin the process.


Students do not have to be enrolled in any computer related classes to participate and there is no minimum credit load or particular field of study required. Anyone with a valid email address from a recognized college or university system can sign up. (The program is also open to high school students.)


Instant Download

Using the website requires some work on the part of the student in the form of downloading the image files and burning them to CD or DVD. This can be done with most standard CD or DVD burning software programs quite easily. The images are quite large, ranging from 100 MB to over 3 GB in size, and must be transferred to a blank disc before actually being installed.


The  website also includes free license keys for each program that requires it. These keys work just like the equivalent commercial software license keys found in packages costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars and typically require activation before becoming fully functional.


Large Selection

Users can choose from a wide variety of available software which ranges from programming languages to server operating systems and includes many specialized developmental programs that are not often seen in stores. The current list includes the following titles:


•CCR + DSS Toolkit

•Expression Studio 3

•Microsoft Virtual PC

•Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R2

•SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition

•SQL Server Express

•Visual Basic 2008 Express

•Visual C# 2008 Express

•Visual C++ 2008 Express

•Visual Studio 2005 Professional

•Visual Studio 2008 Professional

•Visual Studio 2010 Express

•Visual Studio 2010 Professional

•Visual Web Developer 2008 Express

•Windows Embedded CE 6.0

•Windows Phone

•Windows Server 2003

•Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

•Windows Server 2008 Standard

•XNA Game Studio 3.1

All of the above software is completely free and can be used indefinately by the student. There are no expiration dates and this is fully functional software with no limitations and all the features of the actual commercial boxed software costing hundreds or thousands of dollars.


Along with the above software titles students can sign up for a wide variety of free training programs for most of the above titles. Users can watch videos, read detailed tutorials, participate in a variety of practice labs, or sign up for the free Microsoft IT Academy.


Microsoft also offers a wealth of other resources to students who wish to get a little more from their education than the standard textbook lessons. These resources are also available to teachers and administrators at educational institutions for use in the classroom.

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