Seven perfectly legal ways to get Windows 7 cheap (or even free)

Seven perfectly legal ways to get Windows 7 cheap (or even free)

Summary: You don't have to pay full price for Windows 7. I've researched the best deals out there, and can help you save 58%, 70%, 85%, or even get Windows 7 free. Keep reading.


Up to 85% off: The Windows 7 Academic Offer

Expires: [Update: This offer expired on January 3, 2010]

Who's eligible: College/university students (international)

If you are a an eligible university student who attends an educational institution in the United States, you can purchase an upgrade edition of Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional for $29.99. (That's a huge savings from the regular price of $119.99 or $199.99, respectively.) You must be "actively enrolled in at least 0.5 course credit." Full terms for the U.S. offer are here. Any college or university that gives you a .edu address qualifies, as do the eligible institutions on this list. If you don't have a qualifying e-mail address, you can still apply by following these instructions. To apply in the United States, start here.

According to Microsoft, similar offers are also available in Japan, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Sweden.

Limitations? The deal is one copy per student. Digital download is fulfilled through Digital River, or you can pay $13 extra for a physical disk. The offer is non-transferable, but the terms are curiously vague about whether you can sell or give away the software itself. This is not an academic or otherwise restricted license; it is the same upgrade package available via retail outlets.

Free: MSDN Academic Alliance

Expires: No expiration date

Who's eligible: College/university students in technical departments (international)

If you are enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, or math department at an educational institution that belongs to the MSDN Academic Alliance, you can get free software for use in your studies. (There are also similar offers for students in visual, illustration, design, and art departments.) The program also extends to members of IEEE and ACM. The list of available titles originally included Windows 7 Professional, but when word spread of this benefit, both organizations suddenly had a flood of new membership requests, virtually all of them from non-students looking for a freebie. That inspired this announcement from Microsoft's Academic Care blog.

The release of Windows 7 through these subscriptions triggered an unanticipated situation that put the program at risk: We saw signs that non-students were joining ACM and IEEE as student members solely to obtain Windows 7 through MSDN AA. This infringed on the intent of the program and the conditions of the MSDN AA license. As a result, we decided to remove Windows 7 from the association MSDN AA memberships while we evaluate approaches to ensure that the offering is reaching only the target audience: students and educators. While we expect to have a final position on the matter resolved in the near future, we cannot guarantee that Windows 7 will be available through this associations due to the complexity of student enrollment verification.

So, here's the bottom line: If you want to join IEEE or ACM, you won't get a free copy of Windows 7. But if you're a student in a technical or design course of studies, you might qualify and you should aggressively pursue your right to this benefit. You can find out whether your school is eligible by searching here. If you're an English or Political Science major or a non-student, you should look elsewhere.

Next page: Subscriptions for Windows and more -->

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Legal, Microsoft, Software, Software Development, Windows

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  • Always a laugh when MS license conditions attached

    TechNet Plus
    "Keep in mind that you may use the evaluation software
    only to evaluate it. You may not use it in a live operating

    Wow a demo subscription.

    "Using the software in any other way, such as for doing
    email, playing games, or editing a document is another use
    and is not covered by the MSDN Subscription license."

    For users that don't edit documents or email.

    Highlights the licensing hoops one is confronted with as a
    MS user. Enjoy;-)
    Richard Flude
    • The license is vague.

      Let's say, for example if you want to evaluate windows 7 for play a game, then it is allowed and disallowed at once. -><-

      So, for a small office you can buy the technet plus and to use for such purpose, just the admin must have present to "evaluate" the performance of windows regularly (may be documenting it). And, in the case of caught, MS, at most, can ask you for upgrade your license. Since piracy is still a ambiguous term, then to overuse a license is even more ambiguous and hard to prosecute.

      The technet plus give WINDOWS 7 ULTIMATE + OFFICE , so it is a BIG discount.

      Other thing is that you can obtain a free technet plus.. but it is a bit hard to obtain the way. Also is the option to be a MS MVP (free zealots of microsoft), they obtain the MSDN (msdn is a superset of technet) for free.

      • A bag of chips at one pound is a big discount

        compared to a bag of chips at one hundred pounds.

        What a saving. How clever am I. Thanks Mr friendly chip shop owner, you're the best.
      • At most?

        Ummm... the penalties for being caught using software illegally are often considerably higher than just being required to pay for the license. One local example was a small company that was using about 10 copies of Vista and Microsoft Office plus two copies of Server 2003. Total fine was $51,000. Just slightly above the standard Microsoft licensing fees.

        You also seem to miss or willfully misunderstand the part about operating and/or production environment.
    • What does Apple's license state?

      Talk about having their users jump thru hoops:

      [i]2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.

      A. This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single <b><font color="#FF0000">Apple-labeled </font></b>computer at a time. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time, and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time. You may make one copy of the Apple Software (excluding the Boot ROM code) in machine-readable form for backup purposes only[/i]

      Now [i]that[/i] is funny
      • I Cannot Confirm Seeing NetCraft and Beastie Together

        If you buy a family license, that increases to 5 computers.

        There is no OEM variant of the OS X license, if you uninstall from one
        (for instance, perhaps a G4 running Tiger from purchase that will be
        switched over to YDL) you can then install on another, a right
        Microsoft grants only to licenses bought via retail.

        Upgrades are allowed as long as it's Apple hardware (of proper speed
        or architecture) and there is no entering or referring to a prior
        version's activation key. No activation key on client versions. No
        genuine advantage stuff either, so far.

        OS X doesn't license virtual use and Microsoft does, but again retail
        versions only and, well this is interesting, there must be some
        restriction to the same license being used more than once, but
        whether that's per-image or per-processor or per moment, I don't

        But let's take a moment and indulge our inner adult.

        Software companies restrict use for the things they sell because they
        want their money.

        The maximum rights, minimum cost license point on the quadrant
        belongs to FreeBSD. You may have to wrestle a tad to get the pretty
        pretty, you can't run Office, and you may have to compile some
        source code. But you can't beat the price or license. Give me an hour
        to do some updates and then I'll get out of the way as all you pure
        license mavens stampede over to Oh, one more
        bonus, they are prepping 8.0 (btw, congrats on getting up to OS X 6.1
        and Win 6.1 everyone!)
    • MSDN

      It stands for Microsoft DEVELOPER Network for a reason.

      I assure you, 99.9% of the people on here wouldn't have a clue about software development, therefore wouldn't even qualify for the subscription, therefore wouldn't have any problem with that kind of license.

      You obviously don't understand the purposes of those subscriptions, so do yourself a favour, move to another topic. You're just embarassing yourself in front of those who do.
      • Who cares

        That fact that those clauses [b]exist[/b] speaks volumes and shows how ridiculous their restrictions are.
        Wintel BSOD
    • What's even more fun...

      Is seeing how long it takes for your worthless posts to be flagged as Spam.
      Hallowed are the Ori
      • Yours already has been


        Wintel BSOD
        • See, stoopit, the thing is...

          I didn't flag his post as Spam.

          If I had, what would be the point of "seeing how long it took for someone to flag it"?

          Sometimes you trolls aren't all that sharp.
          Hallowed are the Ori
          • Hey it's ok to lie after the fact

            No problemo, shill...

            Touche' again!
            Wintel BSOD
          • @UAC nanny screen

            I trust you mean 'touche', not 'touch'!
            'touch' could lead to misunderstandings!
          • You trust right

            Learn some French, k?

            Wintel BSOD
          • Wow.. you really are stupid...

            I haven't flagged anyone's comments.

            I don't give three squirts of hot yellow liquid if you believe me or not.
            Hallowed are the Ori
          • Sure ya do, pal

            Otherwise you wouldn't keep responding with more stupid comments.

            Touche' again!
            Wintel BSOD
    • Or you could..

      ..visit a Microsoft Reseller such as
      Katie Tio
  • Thanks for the advice.

    $30 is about all W7 is worth, so I may be able to pick up a copy in order to learn how to use it to help others. That's the downside of being tech support.

    If I wasn't helping others, I'd be purely Linux based, and tell MS where they can port their products.

    - Kc
    • A career-shift perhaps?

      So you wouldn't have to help others with the thing you so loathe?
    • Well if your only willing to invest $30 towards your

      professional maybe your in the wrong professional. Maybe try some Linux tech support for free.