Of course, Dreamspark is only free to those who qualify -- i.e. students.
To get started, you need to head to www.dreamspark.com/default.aspx and Sign In with an existing Windows Live account.
Once you have done this, you will need to verify your account, which is done via the Get Verified link on the left-side of the page. To do this, you will need to select your country and then Verify as a Student. You are then presented with three options to verify your account:
- I have an Activation Code.
- I have an ISIC Card.
- Get verified through my school.
The first and third options are only open to students who have been earmarked for access to Dreamspark already, perhaps via the course that they are studying. The second option, however, is to sign up for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC).
Intended for full-time students, ISIC is issued each academic year, and the cards are valid for 16 months from September 1st until Dec the following year. You can sign up for one of these cards via www.isiccard.com/get_it_now, although you should note that you will require the right documents to prove that you are attending an educational institution.
With the correct credentials entered, your verification will be complete, and you will be ready to select the SDK that you want to download. In this case, select Windows Phone to acquire access to the SDK and app hub, where you will be presented with a download page. Use the Download button to save the installer to your PC, and you will be ready to set up the development tools listed above!
It shouldn’t be long before you’re up and running – your Dreamspark account allows you to list up to 100 apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace, so get a move on, there’s work to do!