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Dreamspark & Dreamspark Premium For QUT Students

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by Andrew

Doing a unit this semester about Mobile Application Development, with a specific tutorial about Windows Phone development and also the release of the Windows 8 RTM has meant that the number of people I know at university trying to use the various Dreamspark programs that Microsoft offers has increased. Unfortunately, a combination of QUT switching over to a new format of e-mail addresses and Microsoft’s tendency to offer lots of choice (which increases complexity) has meant that lots of people have had difficulties accessing the various Dreamspark programs. I have personally had to help a number of people access the account they wanted to use and I’ve seen a number of people on Facebook been asking about this too. This post is designed to explain what the various programs are (and who can access them) and how to access each of them.

Dreamspark Vs Dreamspark Premium

In 2008, Microsoft started a student program called Dreamspark, which offers current students free access to popular Microsoft developer tools (such as Visual Studio), Microsoft servers (such as Windows Server) and other nice bits and pieces (such as a free account token to the Windows Phone Marketplace and 90 days free developer training on PluralSight). Dreamspark is FREE to anyone who goes to a valid university or high school (so basically anyone with a .edu address).

Microsoft also runs another program which up until this year was called MSDNAA (MicroSoft Developer Network Academic Alliance). Early this year, Microsoft renamed this program to Dreamspark Premium. Dreamspark Premium allows you to get access to everything on Dreamspark, plus MUCH MUCH more. You can access copies of Windows, Windows Server, Visual Studio, SQL Server, Project, Visio, Access and many many more products that you probably haven’t even heard of (it’s basically everything except Office). This program though normally costs hundreds of dollars to students to participate in. Now, through universities that wish to participate (and QUT does) can enroll students who study Science, Math, IT or engineering into Dreamspark Premium, so that those students can access the Dreamspark Premium program for free (whether the university has to pay for this, I am not sure, they probably do).

So essentially, while these two programs share the same name and Dreamspark Premium can be accessed from the Dreamspark website, they really are independent programs and the details used to log into them are separate (one is provided by QUT and the other you sign up for yourself).

Accessing Dreamspark Premium

In the past, to access MSDNAA (now Dreamspark Premium), you signed in with an email address in the format of (where student number was the same number you use to log into the QUT network, starting with an n) and a password that was given to you, but you could change if you wanted . You can still sign in using that old email address and password and it will log you in, BUT you won’t be able to download anything from it, because the account will have expired.

Dreamspark Premium - Account Expired

As part of an E-Mail Newsletter that was sent back in May 2012, the QUT Science & Engineering Faculty mentioned that a login change to access Dreamspark Premium would be needed. Here’s a screen capture of the relevant section of that E-Mail.

Email Re: Dreamspark Premium

Unfortunately, from my experience of actually configuring this, I wouldn’t say that this email is worded correctly. If you follow the steps in this E-Mail and actually log in to your Dreamspark Premium account using your old details and then try to change your E-Mail address, it doesn’t actually work, you can’t change anything, it won’t let you edit those fields.

What they actually mean (but didn’t write) is that you need to go in and register a new account. The reason your old account still works is so you can go in an retrieve product keys etc from any downloads you’ve completed in the past. What you need now though is a new account.

To do this, you don’t actually need a Dreamspark account (again as mentioned above, the Dreamspark & Dreamspark Premium programs are separate). QUT has registered a list of E-Mail addresses that they have approved for access to Dreamspark Premium and so if you try to register using one of those E-Mail addresses, you will be allowed in.

So to sign up:

1. Visit this link: (I would bookmark this link, it makes it easier to find the program).

2. Click on the Sign In link in the very top right hand corner of the page.

Dreamspark Premium Landing Page

3. Click on the Register button under the ‘Not Registered?’ section.

Dreamspark Premium - Sign In Page

4. Now, on the ‘Verify Account’ screen, it says the following: “To complete your registration, an administrator must first have created an account for you. Please enter your account identifier below” and then provides a box to type a username into. This is where you type in your E-Mail address in the format:

Note: It MUST be, not, because the @student addresses only last as long as you are at uni, but the @connect addresses last for life and they don’t want people using this service for life. E-Mails sent to the @student addresses do end up in the @connect inbox though for the duration of your time enrolled at QUT, so you don’t need to look in 2 places.

Dreamspark Premium - Verify Account

5. You should now be allowed to set a password and complete the sign up process. From now on, you just log on using that @student E-Mail address and the password you just set  🙂

Accessing Dreamspark

If you have a Dreamspark Premium account, you probably don’t need to make a Dreamspark account, because Dreamspark Premium offers everything that Dreamspark does, except for ONE thing: a token to the Windows Phone Developer Centre. This is what you can use to submit apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace (hopefully they might start a similar program for Windows 8). So to get this, you’ll need a Dreamspark account (even if you already have a Dreamspark Premium account). You may also want a Dreamspark account if you study a subject which isn’t eligible for a Dreamspark Premium account but still want either Windows Server or Visual Studio 2012 Professional.

So to sign up for Dreamspark:

1.  Visit and click on the Create An Account link under the ‘Get Started Now’ section on the right of the page.

Dreamspark - Landing Page

2. On the Create a Dreamspark Account page, fill in the Sign Up Form. The fields to take note of are:

E-Mail Address: This address can be any E-Mail address you like (you’ll be asked to verify with a QUT E-Mail address later in the process. I’d still recommend using your QUT account, it’s probably best to use the same address to avoid confusion, although you don’t have to as the account aren’t linked.)

Institution/School: For reasons that I don’t understand, there seems to be dozens of different listings for QUT when you type either QUT or Queensland University of Technology into the search box, some of which list places such as the United Kingdom and Alabama, USA. It’s probably your best bet to simply type in: ‘Queensland University of Technology’ and pick the entry named that that’s located in Australia.

Dreamspark - Create An Account

3. So once you’ve filled in the Sign Up form, click on Continue to Verify at the bottom of the screen and you should now be asked to type in your QUT student E-Mail address. This is where you type in your E-Mail address in the format:

Note: It MUST be, not, because the @student addresses only last as long as you are at uni, but the @connect addresses last for life and they don’t want people using this service for life. E-Mails sent to the @student addresses do end up in the @connect inbox though for the duration of your time enrolled at QUT, so you don’t need to look in 2 places.

4. Once this is accepted, you’ll need to click the link in the verification E-Mail you’re sent, but you should now be able to log in to Dreamspark!

Hope this information helps!

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9 Responses to Dreamspark & Dreamspark Premium For QUT Students

  1. Nic Lyth

    Great write up. Thanks for showing how to get eligible again!

  2. jon

    Thanks for the info mate. Just 1 question, Im a QUT engineering student, yet when I try register for Dreamspark Premium, I enter my email address (step 4) “NAME” i get an error message saying “No active matching account was found with the identifier entered. Please
    ensure that this value is correct for your institution. If you
    encounter difficulties, please see Help for more information or request support.”

    Any ideas what the problem may be or how to solve it?? Thanks!

    • I’d be talking to your Faculty. Just because QUT could allow Engineering students access to Dreamspark Premium, doesn’t mean they do. It could cost them money, so maybe they only give access to IT students.

      • jon

         yeh thanks mate – spoke to IT helpdesk at uni, and apparently you have to be enrolled in an IT course in order to have dreamspark premium access. When enrollments for semester 1 start, I may try to enrol in an IT course as part of my minor, see if i get access and can download what I need, then unenrol and switch back to my business minor. Worth a shot I guess.

  3. matt

    Thanks for the write up. Unable to access it currently, but I’ll hit up the Faculty on Monday. I’m a Games and Interactive Entertainment student so hopefully that will get me access, as half my classes are IT.

  4. Thanks for sharing such an useful information.

  5. Thanks for showing how to get eligible again!

  6. Vicky

    THX to provide thus a info! it’s really helpful for me!