I’m not going to describe Windows Vista; I’m not going to list its positives and negatives; I’m also not writing here to tell you whether or not you should upgrade. Rather, I’m just going to let you all in on something I bet a few of you have forgotten –Microsoft software can be free for college students. And, yes, this is true.

It’s something called the MSDNAA. Granted, its acronym sounds like a drug to me –a scary one at that.

MSDN Academic Alliance is a Microsoft program which provides some Microsoft developer tools for free to students and faculty in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, and related fields. The participating schools pay an annual fee to avail this alliance.

So, the first task is to find out if your school is part of the program. Just do a quick Google search for "[School name]", MSDNAA. For me, I just put in yale, MSDNAA and quickly landed on Yale’s MSDNAA site. Do some clicking, and you’ll probably be able to land on your school’s MSDNAA page pretty easily, too. There, keys and downloads are free. It might take a day or two to sign up at your school, but it’s definitely worth it.

Even if you’re not interested in Windows Vista, there’s probably some other great Microsoft products there that will definitely improve your productivity.