Free software at Stanford: The (definitive) guide

Feb. 8, 2015, 9:58 p.m.

It’s always nice to have new software and products the moment they come out on the market, but software is expensive and usually not the first thing you’d want to spend money on. Fortunately, Stanford gives students (and faculty) a huge amount of free essential software. The Dish Daily team has put together a list of this free software – check here for what you want before you decide to buy something.

A lot of students know that the easiest way to get access to Stanford’s huge amount of Software is to just access it remotely: as long as you have an internet connection, you can connect your computer to Stanford’s FarmShare network of computers. It’s a sure and easy way to get what you need.

Stanford provides multiple ways to connect to the network, whether you’re using Windows, Mac, or are one of the few who’ve for some reason chosen to use Linux.

You can find a list of ways to connect to the FarmShare network here and a list of software that you can access through it remotely here.

For those of you who don’t want to need an internet connection to get free software, there’s a ton of free software that you can download for keeps.

  • VMWare lets you create virtual machines on your computer, letting you run multiple operating systems and environments at once. Stanford’s Software Web Store will let you download VMWare for Windows and Mac, giving you every possible permutation and version you could ever want. Scroll to the bottom of the linked website for a list.
  • The same store gives you a link for a free download of Microsoft Office Professional Pus 2013 for Windows.
  • Windows 8.1 can be downloaded for free here.
  • For those of you who are in the need of a throwback to an older operating system, you can also get Windows 7 Ultimate here.
  • There’s a whole list of free Microsoft Software you can get for free, from Visual Studio to Lync, at the web store.
  • Stanford Engineering, through Terman Engineering Library, also provides free copies of SolidWorks, the Computer Aided Design software. You can get the software from the Terman Engineering Library front desk – they will give you a flash drive or a CD you can install it from.

Note, however, that the free software from the Web Store can only be installed on one machine – you only get one license key, and you need to have a full-service SUNet ID to download it.

Know about other free software that you can get from Stanford? Or are there some great deals on software that we missed out on? Let us know in the comments.


Nitish Kulkarni '16 is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He writes about technology and breaking news, and runs online content sections. Email him at nitishk2 'at'

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