How to buy Windows 7 Professional for $30

Although I'm not a big fan of Windows, many of my friends are, so I often get asked what version they should install and where the best deal is.

As to the first question, most experts agree that Windows 7 is the best of the modern Windows operating systems so I'll defer to their expert judgement on the matter.

As to the second question, you can legally purchase Windows 7 for $30 if you have a valid .edu email address.

Question: You say "Windows 7 Professional" but your provided link is for "Windows 7 Home Premium"

Answer: See FAQ #2. After you provide a valid .edu email address and receive your confirmation link, you will be taken to the purchase page. On that page, you will find a section that says "Need to join your school’s network domain? You can also get Windows 7 Professional for $29.99 Click here" When you click on that link, a popup will appear to purchase Windows 7 Professional for the same price (sweet!):

Question: What if I'm not currently a student but I have graduated from a college or university in the past?

Answer: Most colleges and universities offer "alumni" email address aliases. These are email adresses with your school's .edu domain but they redirect email to your regular email account (gmail, msn, etc). For example, see Harvard's program. Just Google for your school and add "alumni email address" or "alumni email alias" in your search. Sign up for an alumni email alias and use that to register for your copy of Windows.

Question: What if I'm not a student, never was a student, don't know a student, am homeless with a laptop and I recently received a revelation that if I don't load Windows 7 on my laptop the world will end in 7 days?

Answer: Sounds like you have issues and I pity you. However, this situation intrigues me and from a purely academic, hypothetical, I-don't-recommend-this-approach point of view, here's an option:

Morehouse College is essentially giving away alumni email addresses. From their public alumni page:
...Use your temporary username (first name [dot] last name and class year -- for example: and password (p@ssw0rd -- the "0" is a zero) to login...

A 3-second Google search brought up this page with the following excerpt:
...In the fall of 2003, Oluwabusayo "Tope" Folarin, class of 2004, was named the College’s third Rhodes Scholar...

So I have a first name, last name, and class year. Hmmm... What would happen if I browsed to, put in username and password p@ssw0rd?

What do you know... I'm prompted to create an email account! If I put in bogus data (note: zip code needs to be valid for bogus State you provide) and a bogus birth year (i.e. 1970), I'm redirected to an inbox.

Using the Windows 7 purchase link mentioned above, I use to have an email sent to the inbox with a purchase link. Thanks, Tope!

Question: Why don't you recommend this approach?

Answer: Because assuming someone else's identity is a bad thing.

Question: Then why did you put this on your blog?

Answer: Because I want to highlight this security issue to school officials, such as Morehouse and many others, that only require a name and class year for email accounts or aliases.


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