Microsoft Support = Awesome

This really put the nail in the coffin. A few weeks ago I had to write a midterm that was to be completed exclusively in Microsoft Excel. I got through the assignments so easily and was excited to ace this exam. The night before, I downloaded the startup files and tested them to make sure they worked properly since we were not permitted any internet use during the exam. Perfect, I thought.

I show up to the exam a bit early, on a Saturday, at 10am. After finding a seat, I flip open my laptop and power it on. The prof goes on a rant telling us how we shouldn't have any hardware or software issues, and that if we did, to get out and fail the exam. Fair enough, we've only been using this software together with these laptops since the start of the semester. Having things mess up now would be all-too-inconvenient.

Here we go! I fire up Excel and read through the first project. I click on a cell and start to type in a formula- except nothing is showing up. Turns out Excel needed to be activated, and it wouldn't let me do a thing till I did. The timing couldn't have been any better. Long story short, I removed, and reinstalled just Excel and ripped through the midterm with time to spare. No sweat.

Let's get back on topic. Last year I needed Visual Studio 2010 (the school only provided 2008). Microsoft is nice to students allowing us to download a bunch of software for free. This is all possible through the Dreamspark program. Best part is, all you need to get going is your school email address. Slight problem though, upon entering my email address, I was told it had already been used. Ahh! Never fear though, I sent an email to Dreamspark support (which was impossible to find, so here it is), and in a day or two, they replied with a key I could use to get all the software, no questions asked!

This next thing though, the nail in the coffin, really blew me away. Since my Office installation was void, I removed it completely and installed a trial version of Office 2010. The trial was good for 30 days- no good since my final exam is 40 days away. I popped in a key I found on the internet and it was accepted, great! Oh no, still needs to be activated in 30 days. I knew online activation wouldn't work with a key publicly available, so I decided to go through phone activation. I entered the 36-digit installation ID to the robo-woman, but she couldn't find a key on record for me to use.

Let me transfer you to someone that can help you with this issue.

Uh oh. I took a deep breath and waited through a few rings. The line clicked, I was listening to music now- the same 30 second song over and over again. Another click, another ring- different this time. A very pleasant man greeted me and simply asked for the first 6 digits of the monstrous 36-digit installation ID. I told him and he followed up with the next 6. That's all he needed. He then read out another 36-digit key that I entered into the activation window. He thanked me, I thanked him, we both hung up.

Aww yeah, free license!