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Microsoft DreamSpark: No Cost Software for Teaching, Learning & Research (Students taking STEM courses & faculty & staff in STEM departments only)

NOTE: Microsoft is now requiring UMass Amherst to enforce their current program restrictions. Starting spring 2015, Microsoft DreamSpark will only be for:

  • Undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in at least one Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) course at UMass Amherst.
  • Faculty and staff who work in a STEM department at UMass Amherst. More details to follow.

Microsoft DreamSpark Premium offers eligible UMass Amherst undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff (see note above) 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, but is now available for free for students through Office 365 Education for Students, and for faculty and staff through Office 365 Education for Faculty.

UMass Amherst’s DreamSpark Web store

About the Program

DreamSpark is a Microsoft program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes. The DreamSpark subscription includes the most current Microsoft developer tools, platforms, and servers. More about DreamSpark | Microsoft DreamSpark End User License Agreement.

Eligibility & Restrictions

  • Products are available to full-time undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in at least one Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) course at UMass Amherst.
  • Full-time faculty and staff must work in a Microsoft defined STEM department at UMass Amherst and can use the software only for educational and research purposes.
  • 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. Additional keys will not be available if a reinstallation is required.
  • Students, faculty, and staff are not required to uninstall the software obtained through DreamSpark when they are no longer enrolled in a STEM course. They are also not required to uninstall the software 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 - see Office 365 mentioned above)
  • 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 IT 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.