DreamSpark | Ryan Joy (atxryan) DreamSpark | Web developer living and playing in Austin, Texas. Microsoft Developer Evangelist.
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Many academic institutions are enrolled in DreamSpark Premium, which provides access to an extended catalog of Microsoft software – including Windows 8. If you want to develop Windows 8 apps, you should download Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012. You also have access to other tools like Expression Studio for doing User Interface design, Visio for flowcharts and UML diagrams, and SQL Server.

Students can find their school and/or department’s DreamSpark WebStore location using the Institution Access page. The ELMS WebStore allows students to browse for software and download it in just a few clicks.

Get Windows 8. Get the dev tools.

Windows 8 is required to build, test and publish Windows 8 apps. You can install it as your main OS, in a Virtual Machine, or as a dual-boot option. To get up and running, just select Windows 8 in DreamSpark and you’ll be brought to a screen where you can choose whether you want the 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Check out this page for help on installing Windows 8.

Download Visual Studio Professional 2012. You can also develop apps using the free Visual Studio Express 2012, but why not grab the Professional if you have access. 🙂

Publish your app in the store

As a verified student, you can publish and sell apps in the Windows Store for free. Just get your registration code. Check out this Windows Store step-by-step registration deck if you need help.


What if I don’t have Dreamspark Premium?

If your school does not have Dreamspark Premium and you are part of a technical program like Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Information Technology, you should talk to your professor and see about getting your school subscribed to Dreamspark Premium, they can find the information on how to apply here.

What if I my subscription is for Dreamspark Standard?

If you have Dreamspark Standard, you can download Visual Studio, but you won’t be able to download the software for OS like Windows 8. You’ll need to download the Windows 8 90 day evaluation.

My school doesn’t have any sort of Dreamspark subscription!

Just about any school can apply for Dreamspark Standard. Ask your professors to look into applying here. However, you can also contact me and I can provide you a code to access Dreamspark Standard. You’ll need to verify that you’re a student and the same limitations apply, so first check if you can get Premium through your school.