Information on Microsoft Windows 10

The highly anticipated Windows 10 was recently announced to be released to the public in late July 2015. It will be a free upgrade to Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 and Windows Phone users. While final features are still being developed, it is expected to be a blend between the Windows 8.1 and the more familiar Windows 7 user interfaces. However, it will still keep the high security enhancements, as well as the very fast boot speeds of Windows 8.1. Upgrades FAQ have yet to be released, and Microsoft will announce an “Upgrade Assistant” in the next few months.

Users in the Microsoft Imagine Premium program will be able to download Windows 10 for new installs, but the actual date of the release of the RTM / final release is still unannounced for Microsoft Imagine Premium. Windows 8 was released earlier to Microsoft Imagine than to the general public. However, it is unknown at this time.

Information on Microsoft Windows 8.1

The Microsoft Imagine Premium program has the MS Windows 8.1 Professional edition available for download, in both x86 and x64 versions. However, while the hype may lead one to believe that it is a “must” to upgrade, it is advisable to review Microsoft’s “Updating to Windows 8.1: FAQ” and download the “Upgrade Assistant” first and see if your system is compatible to handle Win 8.1’s demanding hardware needs. Further, understand that most system utilities (firewalls, anti-virus, anti-malware, etc) need to be specifically compatible with Windows 8.1, and may need to be replaced. Some hardware, and even some applications, can have compatibility issues. Thus, it is up to each individual to review the Win 8 FAQ page, download the Upgrade Assistant, install it on each computer being considered for Win 8.1 installation, run it, and carefully read the report. This will ensure that Win 8.1 is installed on a computer that can run it, as well as showing problems you may encounter.

The Update to Windows 8.1: FAQ web page can be accessed at Microsoft:

The Upgrade Assistant can be downloaded from Microsoft at:

It is advised that the desktop/laptop installing Windows 8.1 be backed up completely before attempting an upgrade to the new operating system. Some computers cannot be “rolled back” once they have Windows 8.1 installed.

It should be noted that Windows 8.1 has a very good built in firewall, which is much more secure than previous Windows firewalls. Other 3rd party firewalls may not be needed depending on your applications.

What is the Microsoft Imagine program?

The Microsoft Imagine program is an annual membership program for technical departments in the area of Computer Science, Engineering and Information Systems. As a member, a department/school receives a Microsoft Imagine Premium subscription that Microsoft platform, servers and developer tools software. This software may be installed on any number of school lab machines. The software must be used for instructional and research purposes, it may not be used to run the infrastructure of the department/school. In addition, the school’s faculty and students may purchase (at very low cost) or download the software to install on their personal computers.

The Program Has Two Primary Goals:

  1. To make it easier and less expensive for you to obtain Microsoft developer tools, platforms and servers for instructional and research purposes and
  2. To build a community of instructors who can share curriculum and other learning resources to support the use of these technologies.

In order to qualify for the Microsoft Imagine Premium program, you need to be in one of the following categories:

  1. Faculty/staff of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing.
  2. Currently enrolled in a CIS or EGR class during the semester.

If you are in one of these groups, you will receive your username and password for the current semester through your GVSU email. You do not need to contact the GVSU DreamSpark Premium administrator.

Sorry, it is a common misconception that this is a university program, which is not the case. This was a program developed by Microsoft to get the tools and programs for the computer oriented (majors, minors, class, etc) students to learn software and system development. While it may be beneficial for many more students, we are obligated to abide by Microsoft’s licensing terms, or jeopardize losing our program (which we purchase as a department on a yearly basis).

How can I get a username and password?

See above heading on “qualifying.”

What software titles are available for download?

The following list is a sample of the titles that may be downloaded through the School of Computing and Information Systems’ Microsoft Imagine Premium program:

  • Windows 8.1 Professional, 32/64 bit versions
  • Windows 7 Professional, 32/64 bit versions
  • Windows Server 2012 (Essentials, Standard, DataCenter, Storage Server)
  • Visual Studio .Net 2013 (Professional, Premium and Ultimate)
  • BizTalk Server 2016
  • Street and Trips 2013
  • One Note 2013
  • Visio 2013
  • Project 2013
  • SQL Server 2014 and 2012 (multiple versions!)
  • MapPoint 2013 North America
  • MapPoint 2013 Europe
  • Street and Trips 2013
  • AutoRoute 2013
  • and MANY more!

Can I use any browser to download these titles?

In order to have the downloads work correctly, the program prefers you to use Microsoft Internet Explorer. At this point, ALL the downloads work well if the student or faculty member uses this browser. Firefox usually works very well…but other browsers (Opera, Chrome, Safari) may experience some difficulties.

What if I don’t want to use Internet Explorer? I prefer to use (Firefox, Opera, etc.)

That is perfectly fine. However, since it is Microsoft’s program, and they are the software company that is offering this, they can write the rules. Other browsers may work, but you may get a download error.  This is not an Microsoft Imagine Premium website issue.

How do I access the GVSU School of CIS Microsoft Imagine Premium program?

To access the Microsoft Imagine Premium downloads follow this URL
You may browse the software as a guest, but may not purchase nor download. You will be sent an email on your GVSU email account in the beginning of each semester with username and passwords to access the system. The email may be received from from GVSU School of Computing and Information Systems, Microsoft or OnTheHub (depending on the semester). This email will contain the password required. Because of spam filtering of many email hosts, we will only support GVSU email accounts. If you have any further questions on the program, you can contact the program Administrator by clicking on “Help” on the top of the page, and “Contact Us” at the bottom. There will be a 2 week period at the beginning of each of the Fall, Winter and Spring semesters when no new accounts will be activated, this is to allow for final class rosters to be produced.

I lost my password, how can I find out what it is again?

Go to the Microsoft Imagine Premium website for Grand Valley CIS,
Just below the sign in boxes, there is a green line that states “Forgot username or password?”. Click on this link to  take you to a page where you will need to type in your GVSU email address. (GVSU DS Prem will no longer support emails accounts other than GVSU accounts.) Your password will be emailed to your GVSU email account in a few minutes.

I didn’t receive an email, Why not? Or how do I get into the program?

If you are in a CIS or EGR class, you are automatically in the program in the semester you are enrolled. The program ONLY supports GVSU email accounts. However, if your GVSU email is forwarded to another email host (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc), it will be considered spam and deleted. You must stop the GVSU email forwarding, and request another password (see paragraph preceding this one). The password will be sent in a few minutes. Once you know your password, you can then place the GVSU mail back on forwarding if you like.

What is my account name?

Your GVSU email address. For example, if your GVSU computer login is “smithjr”, then your GVSU email address is “”.

I downloaded the software, but when I click on it, it doesn’t install!

When a program is downloaded, MOST (but not all) of the programs on the Academic Alliance are ISO files. These are file images and must be burned to the proper CD or DVD in order to create a disk identical to what one would purchase through retail channels. If one is using Windows 7 for the operating system, the software to “burn the image” is built into Win 7.
However, if you are using other operating systems, you must use another program to “burn the image” to the disk. Examples of software to complete this would be Nero, MagicISO, Roxio Toast, etc. An excellent freeware, spyware free program to burn ISO’s is Free ISO Burner, which can be downloaded here:

How many licenses can I get? Can I get an additional download?

This is a very unique program from Microsoft that is designed for the computer science/information systems students and faculty to get low cost or no cost tools/programs to help with education. As such, they are limiting the licensing of the downloads to one (1) per user. The program is designed to allow the students to learn the programs, use for research and aid in the student’s education. It is not intended to allow unlimited use to run all the student’s computers.

With that in mind, if the student has a problem with a download, the student can log in to the web site and download any previous software again (as long as the student still has access to the program). This does not imply that a student can get a duplicate activation. There is only 1 (one) license of each software title allowed in the program. However, just like any other product, when you download the ISO, burn a copy and keep it off your hard drive. If you lose your hard drive, reformat your hard drive, crash your hard drive because of a virus, move computers, or other reasons, you can reinstall the software from the CD that you produced. Like software on a CD that you buy, if you lose it, you cannot go back to the store and ask them for another copy. If you lose your activation code, you cannot get another one.

I’m getting a download error SDC00400 (or other errors), what is the problem?

It could be one of two things that we have found. First, it is preferred to use Microsoft Internet Explorer to download the software. Other browsers can interfere with proper downloading. Second, many firewalls are very selective and interfering with the downloading process. If you are receiving a downloading error, temporarily disable your firewall, download the software, then re-enable your firewall. The server and files are configured and working fine. With <1% of all the downloads experiencing errors, it shows that 99% of them are downloading without incident.

How long will my account last?

If you are taking a Padnos College of Engineering and Computing class, your account will be automatically activated during the second week of classes into a new semester and will remain active until the end of the semester. There may be a period of overlap between semesters, which your account will stay active, though this may not always be the case. The administrator also reserves the right to deny any student access at any time, if it has been determined the student is using his/her account for non-educational purposes, or is distributing software to persons not enrolled in the University.