How to download the Windows 8.1 ISO

Download the ISO with this little trick so you can do a clean install or install Windows 8.1 whenever you like

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Windows 8.1 is a free update for Windows 8 users and it's easy enough to upgrade through the Windows Store. If you prefer, however, to have a copy of the installation files on USB or other media just in case--or to do a clean rather than in-place upgrade, here's how you can download the ISO, even though Microsoft isn't making the file readily available.

The instructions, shared by Windows 8 Forums member mosharino and Redditor redditorfor0seconds, are very simple. All you need is your Windows 8.0 key (retail or from MSDN). Then:

  1. Head to this Windows.com page and download both the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 installers.
  2. Start the Windows 8.0 setup (Windows8-Setup.exe) and enter your product key to start.
  3. Once the download is at 1%, immediately pause the setup and exit it.
  4. Then run the Windows 8.1 setup, which will give you an error ("The download did not complete successfully. Element not found."). That's okay!
  5. Close the setup window and run WindowsSetupBox.exe again. The download will begin again and you'll get an option to install Windows 8.1 or create media.
  6. Choose the option to create media and you can save the installation file to a USB drive or as an ISO file for later burning to a DVD if you want.

Mosharino writes that the ISO file helps in instances where you want to "Reset" your computer and choosing to repair the PC on bootup--without running into issues like missing install files. It's also just good to have the installation files for your operating system.

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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