Anyone who has access to an academic e-mail address and is currently running Windows XP or Vista, will have the opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of Windows, Windows 7 at a discount price of £30 starting from October 1st.
Beats wasting your time trying to find a working serial, patch or risk using maliciously modified software, right? Especially when you'll be using it for the next 5 years at least.
Or if you're on an IT related course, I suggest asking your lecturers or tutors if your university is a member of the MSDN Academic Alliance like mine is. You'll have the opportunity to download legit copies of Microsoft software for free such as all version of Windows and developer suites like Visual Studio. Only Office isn't available but you might want to take up the Ultimate Steal offer for that.
So why upgrade? It has all the good features of Windows Vista such as better video/photo thumbnail support, instant search, better start menu, a revamped taskbar, better resource monitoring and more. All taking up less resources than Vista.