Microsoft has always offered pretty good deals on their software for students as a way for them to encourage the use of their products, which the students will hopefully carry over into their jobs. That’s why a lot of universities have MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA) subscriptions for students, and that provides access to hundreds of Microsoft products free of charge. That includes Windows 7.
One of my friends told me about a pretty cool trick if you’re a student that doesn’t already have access to MSDNAA. You can join the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for a mere $19, and as part of the membership you get access to the full MSDNAA catalog. In that catalog are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 in English, French, Chinese, and Spanish. Each version and language is accompanied by a unique product key that works with any version and language of Windows 7 Professional (ex. a 32-bit French product key can be used on a 64-bit English install). In all that means you get a total of 8 product keys.
So who qualifies for the student membership? Any high-school or undergraduate student according to their form. The organization does focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields though. For high-school students especially it would be tough to prove which “field” your focus is on since the curriculum is mostly general studies, but they may want to see related classes on your schedule.
I wasn’t able to try out the deal since I’m not a student anymore, but I was curious as to what kind of verification they perform when applying for a membership. I did some searching around and found this post over at Overclock.net where a lot of people have apparently been getting in on the deal. I guess ACM is requesting information from people to prove that you are a student, and that the process can take a week or two before you actually have access to the software. Getting eight Windows 7 Professional license keys for a mere $19 might be worth the hassle though.
If you do decide to give this a whirl let us know what your experience is like.
UPDATE: As several commenters have pointed out… it looks like this is no longer available. If you sign-up now there’s a very good chance you’ll never get access to MSDNAA. So don’t spend the money if that’s your only reasoning.