Microsoft Imagine

Q: Am I eligible to download Microsoft Imagine software?

If you are enrolled in any course(s) under the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences for credit, you are eligible to download Microsoft DreamSpark software.  Faculty, instructors, and TAs are eligible to receive the software for instructional use if you have an active ICS account.

Q: What software is available for download?

Please log in to the Microsoft Imagine page and look under the Software section for an updated listing.

Q: What if I want a software that has not been made available?

If you need a particular software for a class or research project, please email with an explanation of why you need it and we will look into its availability.  *NOTE: Microsoft Office is not included in the Microsoft Imagine program, but may be available via the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP) at or the Office 365 Pro Plus Personal Use Program at

Q: How much do I need to pay for the software?

In an agreement with Microsoft, the Microsoft Imagine program provides this software free of charge.  There is a small charge if you choose to have the installation CD mailed to you.

Q: What can the software being provided be used for?

The software is provided for instructional purposes.  It cannot be used for infrastructure or profit.

Q: Do I have to uninstall the software once I graduate or once I am no longer a student of the Donald Bren School of ICS?

The license is perpetual.  This means that you do not need to uninstall the software.  The software and product keys you receive are yours to keep, but you will lose the ability to download Microsoft Imagine software once your ICS account expires.  All free updates to the software, such as security updates and service packs, that are available to everyone through Windows Update, continue for the life cycle of each product.

Q: How can I obtain the software?

You may download the software from the Microsoft Imagine website.

Alternatively, the CD/DVD creation system in CS 364 lab has a copy of each software (generally as an ISO).  You can burn your own CDs/DVDs to take home or bring a USB flash drive and transfer the ISO files you might need.  However, you will still need to log in into the Microsoft Imagine site and "check out/purchase" the software from their website to get the necessary product keys.

Q: Why is the size of the file I downloaded so small or not executable?

If you are downloading Microsoft Imagine software, the file that first gets downloaded may not have an .exe file extension.  This has occurred when Mozilla Firefox is used as the browser.  Add the .exe extension if needed and double click the file to run it.  This is a downloader file of a very small size that is used to download a large SDC file.  After the SDC file is downloaded, the downloader is required to extract the actual software from it.

Q: I am getting an error in the middle of my download, what does it mean?

In many cases, you should be able to figure out what is wrong by the content of the error code.  If it is not immediately obvious what you should do, check the Download Error Help Page.  If you still cannot complete your download, please send an email message to

Q: How do I receive my login/password?

Please use your ICS account username and password to log in to the Microsoft Imagine website.

Q: What is an SDC file, and why can't I open or unpack it?

When you double click the executable file that you downloaded from Microsoft Imagine, it will ask you where to unpack the file.  There will be an SDC file inside the folder you choose to store the downloaded file.  This is a zip file that the downloader executable will extract for you when the download is completed.  You need to use the downloader to extract the install files from the SDC file.  The SDC file is safe to delete after the setup files are extracted from it.

Q: How much hard disk space do I need?

Some files require at least 2 GB of space for the SDC file that is downloaded plus the files that are extracted from it.  If you do not have enough disk space for the SDC and extracted files, you will need to download the file again in order to unzip the SDC file.  Make sure you have enough disk space before proceeding to download.

Q: How can I reuse product keys issued to me if I need to reinstall my computer?

If you made a hardware change or replaced your old computer and need to reinstall software that needs to be activated, such as Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Visio, or Project, the first step is to re-enter the same product key that was originally obtained from the Microsoft Imagine website.  Alternatively, if the software activation prompt provides a telephone number or other means to contact Microsoft, try contacting a representative regarding the situation with the Microsoft Imagine key you are attempting to use. 

 Q: After installing Visual Studio, the software wants me to sign in.  What credentials do I use?

You will need to use your UCI Microsoft Office 365 account credentials.  If you do not have an account, you may get one through campus at