Download Windows 8.1 OEM and Retail .iso

DellWindowsReinstallationGuide is written and maintained by Philip Yip.



Thanks in advance for leaving any donations Philip.

Introduction – The Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Version 1709

Windows 8.1 Reached End of Mainstream Support in January 2018. Extended Support lasts until January 2023. For more details see End of Support.

Microsoft are keen for you to Upgrade to Windows 10. The Upgrade is Free and you may directly Clean Install Windows 10 Version 1709 (September 2017) or perform an Upgrade Install of Windows 10 Version 1709 (September 2017).

Windows 10 Version 1709 (September 2017 Build 16299) is a polished and a very stable build and I would recommend installing it in all cases instead of Windows 8.1:


Since Windows 10 Version 1511 (November 2015) was released Microsoft have a proper Digital Distribution and activation mechanism for Windows 10 supporting all Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 OEM licenses including Windows 8.1 with Bing and Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing.

See Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads for instructions in Downloading a Windows 10 .iso, Creating a Bootable USB and Clean Installing Windows 10 or performing an Upgrade Install to Windows 10.

Download Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Retail and OEM .iso


  1. Introduction
  2. Determining your Edition and whether your License is OEM or Retail
  3. Determining your Edition when Windows cannot Boot
  4. Downloading a Windows 8.1 .iso
  5. English File Sizes
  6. Creating a Bootable USB
  7. The Media Center Edition and “Get Features with a New Edition of Windows”
  8. The with Bing Editions (Use Windows 10 RS1)
  9. Evaluation & Generic Product Keys
  10. Determining the OEM UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP Key

This guide has a complimentary video tutorial.

Part 1: Introduction, Editions and Product Keys

The Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Media Creation Tool will work with both Windows 8.1 “Edition” and Windows 8 “Edition” product keys. Unlike earlier installation media this tool treats Windows 8 “Edition” and Windows 8.1 “Edition” as equivalent.

Mainstream OEM and Retail Editions

This guide covers the following mainstream OEM and Retail Editions of Windows 8.1:

  • Windows 8.1 (Home) = Windows 8 (Home)
  • Windows 8.1 (Home) Single Language = Windows 8 (Home) Single Language
  • Windows 8.1 Pro = Windows 8 Pro

“Free” OEM Only Editions

This guide doesn’t cover the “Free” OEM only with Bing Editions which Microsoft failed to provide installation media for:

  • Windows 8.1 (Home) with Bing
  • Windows 8.1 (Home) Single Language with Bing

You will have to use the Windows 10 .iso for these.

European Commission N Editions

This guide also covers the European Commission Editions of Windows 8.1:

  • Windows 8.1 HomeN = Windows 8 HomeN
  • Windows 8.1 ProN = Windows 8 ProN

You may be thinking what is a European Commission N Edition?

  • These are Duplicate Editions which have restricted Media Features due to a lawsuit made from the European Commission.
  • These Editions are rarely used (even in European countries).

Media Center Editions

The last Edition is a retail upgrade and requires the base Windows to be reinstalled and then use of “Get Features with a New Edition of Windows“:

  • Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center

Additional Notes

For the OEM license(s) you don’t need to worry about your product key as its a UEFI BIOS Embedded System Locked Preinstallation (SLP) Key and will get input automatically during installation with the updated installation media mentioned in this guide.

For the retail license Berlarc Advisor can be used to determine your product key. In the case of the Media Center Edition record the Internet Explorer Key (it’ll be the original Edition) and the Media Center Key. Its more advisable to obtain the keys from the order confirmation emails or retail packaging.

Part 2: Determining your Edition and whether your License is OEM/Retail from System

The easiest way of determining what edition your product key when the previous installation can boot is by System. If you cannot boot into your OEM installation see Determining your Windows Edition when your System Cannot Boot.

To get to system right clicking the start button (or pressing [Windows] and [x]) and then select system:


If you have Windows 8.0 there is no Start Button so you may press the [Windows] and [Pause|Break] key to launch system or access it from Computer in Windows Explorer.


Look at the product ID at the bottom and see if the product ID mentions the words OEM. If the license is OEM then your product key will reside within the system UEFI/BIOS known as a System Locked Preinstallation (SLP) key. If you have a supported OEM Edition proceed to Downloading a Windows 8.1 with Update 2 .iso.

If on the other hand your license does not mention OEM, you should have a Retail product key in a confirmation email or in retail packaging. If you have your key proceed to Downloading a Windows 8.1 with Update 2 .iso.

Part 3: Determining your Windows Edition when you Cannot Boot into your OEM Installation

As retail product keys are sold directly by Microsoft the Edition and key are usually clearly printed in the confirmation email or retail packaging.

This part mainly concerns OEM product keys as there are more Editions and the product key (SLP key) resides in the UEFI BIOS. Many that will advise you on Windows installation on Microsoft Answers will say the choice is very easy and that there are only two “Editions” to choose from in accordance to your sticker and are wrong…

Home Editions

If you have this sticker which says “Windows 8” you likely have one of the following three editions:


  • Windows 8.1 Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language Common
  • Windows 8.1 N Rare

In the vast majority of cases the “Home Edition” is “Windows 8.1” or “Windows 8.1 Single Language”. If your system has this sticker try downloading these two .isos and if one of the .isos takes you to the license agreement during installation you have the correct “Edition”.

The “N” Editions are rare pointless Editions enforced by the European Commission to exclude media player so try these only if the regular .isos don’t work. N Edition keys are not interchangeable with normal Editions.

Home with Bing Editions

I had a look at a few shops BestBuy, PC World, Staples in the US, CA and in the UK. I checked the sticker at the base of the system and compared this with the Edition in system properties. I was looking in particular for a difference in the with Bing systems. Although all the systems have a sticker which just says “Windows 8” similar to the other 3 Editions which the Media Creation Tool Supports it was a different sticker.

If you have this sticker which looks like the following you likely have one of the with Bing Editions which are unfortunately not supported by the Microsoft Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool but should be supported by the Windows 10 RS2 .iso:


  • Windows 8.1 with Bing Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing Common

Pro Editions

If you have this sticker you likely have one of the following 2 editions:


  • Windows 8.1 Pro Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 ProN Rare

In the vast majority of cases the “Professional Edition” is “Windows 8.1 Pro”. If your system has this sticker try downloading this .iso and if the .iso takes you to the license agreement during installation you have the correct “Edition”.

The “N” Editions are rare pointless Editions enforced by the European Commission to exclude media player so try these only if the regular .isos don’t work. N Edition keys are not interchangeable with normal Editions. The UK has now thankfully left the EU so hopefully EC enforced annoyances will be a thing of the past.

RT Edition

If you have this stickers you have Windows RT:

Windows RT

A Windows RT device has hardware in particular a processor that is non-Intel/AMD using instead Arm processors. These devices were made to compete with Chrome Books as budget devices and prolonged battery life.

However in reality Arm processors do not scratch the potential of Intel/AMD processors because of the magnitude of third party applications written using either the Intel x86 or AMD x64 architectures (Intel and AMD have an agreement – Intel use AMD x64 and AMD use Intel x86).

These means the overwhelming majority of third party applications will run fine on Windows 8 but not on Windows RT. This gives Windows RT essentially the capabilities of Windows Phone…

This Edition was terribly marketed and sold often by shops as Windows 8. As a consequence of being sold and marketed as a broken variant of Windows 8 with the end user seeing it as a device with Windows 8 but with nothing working, Windows RT was highly unpopular. In turn as it was unpopular, developers never felt the urge to write programs which would run on Windows RT therefore making it redundant.

Windows RT is unfortunately unsupported by the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool and you have to procure installation media from Dell. Needless to say I don’t recommend Windows RT and don’t classify it as an Edition of Windows 8.

Don’t have a Windows 8 Sticker?

If you don’t have one of these stickers affixed to your system you likely got a system shipped with Linux or an earlier Edition of Windows and hence won’t have a UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP key. Its possible the Windows 8 sticker peeled off however you can check to see if you have a UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP Key using RWEverything see Determining your UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP Key.

Checking Edition from Dell Original System Configuration

You might also be able to get a hint of the preinstalled Windows Edition from Dells original system configuration, its worth quickly checking this out before committing to download a 4 GB .iso.

For Dell systems you may want to go to

Select support and then support by product:


Enter your service tag found at the base of your system or within the Dell UEFI BIOS Setup:

1a3Select System Configuration:


See if System Configuration mentions anything about the original installed Windows Edition. In some cases Dell fill in the Original System configuration very well in other cases they do not.

Editions are not Equivalent

The important take home note regarding the Windows 8.1 “Editions” are they are not equivalent as far as installation is concerned:

Windows 8.1 (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 N (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 SL (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 with Bing ≠ Windows 8.1 SL with Bing ≠ Windows 8.1 Pro ≠ Windows 8.1 ProN

If the correct Edition of .iso is used, your OEM key will automatically be input and you will be taken straight to the License Agreement Screen:


If the incorrect Edition of .iso is used then your OEM key will simply be ignored you will get stuck on the Enter Your Product Key Screen:


Unfortunately the wrong Edition of installation media doesn’t even mention you have an OEM key of another Edition. This is fixed in Windows 10 RS2 Installation Media which is multiple Edition and should input the UEFI BIOS SLP key if present in all cases.

In my opinion the installation media should give you an error message like:

“You are attempting to install Windows 8.1 on a Device with Windows 8.1 Single Language Installed. To continue installation either input a Windows 8.1 key or quit installation and begin installation with Windows 8.1 Single Installation Media.”

If you do not know what Edition you have you may need to use a bit of trial and error to get the correct Edition to install. For instance try Windows 8.1, then Windows 8.1 Single Language and then Windows 8.1 Pro in turn.

For the retail license, its easy to determine your edition from your physical media or confirmation email. If however during installation you enter a Retail key for the wrong Edition you will get the error message:

“The product key entered does not match any of the Windows Images Available for Installation. Enter a Different Product Key.”

Then installation will then abort.

Error Message

Part 4. Downloading a Windows 8.1 “Edition” .iso with “The Windows Media Creation Tool”

While this tool seems simplistic to use there are some common issues:

  • Do not use a DVD it will be rejected by a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot and you won’t be able to boot. For a legacy MBR BIOS there may also be burning issues. I don’t recommend DVD media at all.
  • If you use the Media Creation tool on a 8 GB or superior USB flash drive directly and it has been formatted as NTFS and not FAT32 the USB will be created with a NTFS format and it will be rejected by a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot and you won’t be able to boot.

I therefore recommend following the exact procedure I document.

This tool is a .exe and can only be ran on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

Microsoft have locked out its use even on Windows Vista and Windows XP which have both reached End of Life.

The Media Creation Tool cannot be ran on Linux or Apple OS unless a Windows VM is used (with Windows installed). For this digital distribution you hence had to install a modern Windows OS in order to download a modern Windows OS… which was a bit of a catch 22 for those stuck on Windows XP (with compatible hardware), Windows Vista, Linux or Apple OS.

The unofficial workaround was to use the Windows 8.1 Enterprise .iso (offered as a direct download link), install Windows 8.1 Enterprise and then run the Media Creation Tool. This flawed digital distribution was fixed with Windows 10 RS2 which offers Windows 10 RS2 installation .isos as direct Download links.

The Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool can be downloaded from here and allows for selection of language, 5 Editions and also architecture:

Direct Download Link:

This tool gives a Windows 8.1 “Edition” with Update 2 .iso.

Retail Notes:

These new Windows 8.1 with Update 2 “Edition” .isos will accept both Retail Windows 8 “Edition” and Windows 8.1 “Edition” product keys during installation. Product activation will occur automatically upon first connection to the internet.

This new set of installation media does not discriminate between Windows 8 product keys which were sold as Upgrade Only and Windows 8.1 Product Keys which were sold as Full. My clean installation with a Windows 8.1 Professional with Update 2 on a system with an upgraded processor and the hard drive replaced with a securely wiped SSD using a Windows 8.0 Professional key from the initial 30 day promotion, automatically activated online without any issues.

OEM Notes:

The tool itself does not require entry of a product key to download the installation media. The Windows 8.1 with Update 2 “Edition” .iso will automatically input OEM UEFI/BIOS Embedded System Locked Preinstallation Windows 8.0 “Edition” and Windows 8.1 “Edition” keys. Product activation will occur automatically upon first connection to the internet. There is thus no longer any need to use a third party utility to obtain your product key.

Double click the mediacreationtool


Select Run


The downloader will load displaying the Windows logo:


You will asked for Language, Edition and Architecture:


Microsoft offer a large assortment on languages as shown, pick your desired language.

I’m going to select “proper English”.

i.e. “English – en-gb”:


You will then be prompted for your Windows Edition – in this case I am going to select Windows 8.1:


Then you will be prompted for your architecture. I’m going to select the 64 Bit version, in most cases the 64 Bit version should be selected.

The 32 Bit version should only be used for legacy applications or weaker hardware such as tablets.


When you have selected your 3 desired options select next:


Saving the .iso gives you an easy means of creating a Bootable USB later on. Should something go wrong with the USB creation or you format the USB by mistake accidentally you will need to download the media again. Taking the additional step to save the .iso is therefore recommended in this guide.

Then select to save the .iso file and select next:


Select the location to save and name of your .iso and select next:


The .iso will download:

13 14

15 16


Once you .iso is saved select Finish.

If you want to download another Edition or Architecture simply launch the media creation tool again.

Part 5: English File Sizes

The English 64 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:

English UK

The English 32 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:



The English 64 Bit US .isos I downloaded were the following size:


The English 32 Bit US .isos I downloaded were the following size:


As you can see the size appears to be different for Languages and Editions.

Part 6: Creating a Bootable USB

You may use Rufus to create a bootable USB:

Rufus does not need to be installed and can be run directly by double clicking on the application.


Select your 8 GB or superior USB flash drive:


Select the .iso:


There are two types of bootable USB you can make with Rufus The “GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer” or the “MBR Partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI Computers”.

For all Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 OEM licenses you should select the “GPT partition scheme for the UEFI Computer”.

For Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 RETAIL Licenses you will need to determine if your system has a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot. If it does then use “GPT partition scheme for the UEFI Computer” and enable these technologies before installation. If it doesn’t you’ll have a BIOS with legacy settings and “MBR Partition Scheme for BIOS Computers”.

Globally Unique Identifier Partition Table (GPT) Partition Scheme for UEFI Computer

Use with Dell hardware and Windows 8.1 64 Bit with a UEFI BIOS later than 2012. Enable UEFI and SecureBoot.

Requires systems that have a Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI) Basic Input Output (BIOS) and also 64 Bit Windows. These requirements are in general standard across hardware post 2012 i.e. hardware Dell shipped with Windows 8 or later.

This is a new partition scheme which is more reliable than the MBR partition scheme. In GPT multiple copies of partitioning and boot data are stored on the hard drive and checks they are consistent.

This partition scheme has the advantage in the fact that it can support >2 TB drives and can create up to 128 Partitions.

This will support newer security technologies such in the UEFI BIOS such as SecureBoot and these should be enabled.

2010-2011 hardware may or may not have a UEFI BIOS and you will need to check and enable the settings in the UEFI BIOS setup if applicable. These settings will also need to applied correctly for systems that have previously been running Windows 7 (e.g. downgrade rights).

Master Boot Record Partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI Computer

Use with Dell hardware and Windows 8.1 with a Legacy BIOS earlier than 2010.

This can be used for an older system pre-2012 with a legacy Basic Input Output System (BIOS) so is required for pre-2012 hardware and for Windows 8.1 32 Bit.

Limited to 2 TB of space and to 4 partitions.

This partition scheme is less reliable as the partitioning and boot data is stored in one location meaning if its corrupt then the data is lost.

If you do not select the USB Device, then load the .iso and then select the Partition Scheme and File System in order, Rufus may revert some of the settings to defaults which may be incorrect.

Select the “GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer” or the “MBR Partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI Computers” respectively depending if your hardware is post 2012 or pre 2012.


Select the FAT32 file system. SecureBoot requires the bootable USB to be formatted as FAT32 otherwise it won’t boot.


Click start:


Select OK to format the USB flash drive:


Rufus will now create the Bootable USB:


When its ready it’ll say “Done” to the bottom left. You may now close Rufus and have a bootable USB for installation.


If you had no problems determining your Edition, making the .iso and are ready to clean install see Windows 8.1 Installation.

Part 7: Special Notes Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center Edition and “Get Features with a New Edition of Windows”

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center is a 2 stage installation. It requires installation of the base Windows 8.1 “Edition” (non-N, the N Editions are Windows with Native Windows Media Player Capabilities Removed) which needs activated and then “Get Features with a New Edition of Windows”.

When Media Center is installed the base Windows installation cannot be determined using System you will be in a similar case to users who cannot boot see Determining your Edition when Windows cannot Boot.

After installing your original Edition. The easiest way of adding the product key is via system by right clicking the start button (or pressing [Windows] and [x]) and then selecting system:


In system you should first check at the bottom that your old version of Windows is activated otherwise you may run into an issue upgrading to media center.

In system select “Get more features with a new edition of Windows”.


Select “I already have a product key” or select “I wish to buy a key online” if you want to purchase a new upgrade key. At this stage I do not recommend paying for media centre as you will lose it when you take the free upgrade to Windows 10 therefore the cost is not worthwhile:

4 Enter in your Media Center key:

6 Select next7

Select Add Features

9 Then select close. You may want to recheck that Windows is activated under system.


Theoretically the following pathways to Media Center are possible with the ones crossed out being a complete waste of money and time:

  • Windows 8.1 SL Core → Windows 8.1 Core →Windows 8.1 Professional → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center.
  • Windows 8.1 SL Core → Windows 8.1 Professional → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center.
  • Windows 8.1 SL Core → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center (Pro Pack).
  • Windows 8.1 Core → Windows 8.1 Professional → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center.
  • Windows 8.1 Core → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center (Pro Pack).
  • Windows 8.1 Professional → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center.

The N versions are versions without Media Player or Internet Explorer. These editions cannot be upgraded to Media Center via “getting features with a new edition of Windows”.

  • Core N → Professional N → No further Upgrade
  • Professional N → No Further Upgrade

After upgrading you will be unable to determine your original version using System. You can also obtain your product keys using Berlarc Advisor. I don’t fully recommend this as this utility looks to the registry and sometimes can give bogus keys especially for systems upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 via the Microsoft Store or from systems that have used “Get More Features with a New Edition of Windows”. Its better to get the keys from the original confirmation email and/or retail packaging. For a Windows Media Center Edition install take note of the product key for Internet Explorer which will be your original Windows 8.1 Product Key*.

* The test of Windows 8.1 SL Core → Windows 8.1 Core →Windows 8.1 Professional → Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center using generic keys gave only the Windows 8.1 SL Core (Internet Explorer Key) and Windows 8.1 with Media Center (as Key: None Activated).

berlarc advisor2

Part 8: The with Bing Editions

Windows 8.1 with Bing can only be preinstalled with low end budget devices. It was a freebie with the supposed only limitation that OEMs cannot change the default search results from Bing to another vendor. The second limitation is never marketed and that is there is no official .iso and its not supported by the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool.

This problem is solved with Windows 10 RS1.

  • The Windows 10 Home RS1 .iso will automatically input the Windows 8.1 (Home) with Bing UEFI BIOS embedded SLP keys automatically and activate online making the system a Windows 10 Home Device.
  • The Windows 10 Home Single Language RS1 .iso will automatically input the Windows 8.1 (Home) with Bing UEFI BIOS embedded SLP keys automatically and activate online making the system a Windows 10 Home Single Language Device.

Part 9: Evaluation & Generic Product Keys

To be honest there is zero point in evaluating Windows 8.1 and paying for a Windows 8.1 license at present given it is made obsolete by Windows 10.

The Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool will not run on Windows XP or Windows Vista so the user will need to run the tool on a Windows 7, Windows 8.0, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 installation in order to download the retail .iso.

Assuming you can download the .iso on a Windows 7, 8.0, 8.1 or 10 computer to evaluate Windows 8.1 Retail editions you may bypass the enter your product key screen, using a generic key to install Windows 8.1 of your desired Edition and architecture. These keys allow for installation but not product activation:

  • Windows 8.1=334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT
  • Windows 8.1N=6NPQ8-PK64X-W4WMM-MF84V-RGB89
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language=Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
  • Windows 8.1 Professional=XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB
  • Windows 8.1 Professional N=JRBBN-4Q997-H4RM2-H3B7W-Q68KC
  • Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center=GBFNG-2X3TC-8R27F-RMKYB-JK7QT

The generic product key can simply be typed in or added as PID.txt file. For details on the PID file, see here:

The generic key may also be used to evaluate Windows 8.1; if you like it and your system performs well; you can simply go out and buy a retail product key and select change product key.

The easiest way of adding the product key is via system by right clicking the start button (or pressing [Windows] and [x]) and then selecting system:


In system select Activate Windows:


Either enter the key which you bought from a retail purchase or select buy key.


Microsoft also allow the Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as a trial:

However the Enterprise edition cannot be converted into a retail install and hence if the customer gets their system up and running nicely they will need to clean install Windows 8.1 again after purchasing a product key. Therefore I recommend evaluation of the Retail License via the use of generic product keys.

Part 10: Determining the UEFI BIOS OEM Embedded System Locked Preinstallation Key

The OEM product key (SLP key) is hidden within the UEFI BIOS. Although you shouldn’t need your UEFI BIOS Embedded OEM SLP key as it should be automatically input during installation. You may also use the Windows Product Key Tool or RWEverything to obtain your UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP Key from your MSDM tab:

These utilities give the findings from the MSDM table if you have a UEFI BIOS embedded SLP key. The Windows Product Key Tool directly gives you your key from the MSDM table whereas RWEverything requires you to launch ACPI tables and then open the MSDM tab.

product key utility - Copy

No MSDM table = No UEFI BIOS Embedded OEM SLP Key:

product key utility

For RWEverything select ACPI Tables and the MSDM tab, copy down your product key.


Note no MSDM tab = No Windows 8.0/8.1 UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP key.

If you are supposed to have a MSDM table and don’t note the following…

  • This key is classified as hardware (part of the motherboard) and so Microsoft will not be able to help you if this tab is missing.
  • Systems which shipped with Windows XP, Vista or 7 have no MSDM tab as these versions of Windows used a generic key for OEM SLP; you need to purchase a retail product key for these systems. Note if you have purchased a retail license for such systems there will be no MSDM tab.
  • If you have a systems which came with Windows 8.0/8.1 and no MSDM tab then you need to contact your OEM for a motherboard replacement or purchase a retail license. Its extremely rare for an OEM motherboard to lose its Windows 8.0/8.1 key but I have seen a few examples.

While this utility gives your product key. It should be noted that it does not give you the Edition of Windows 8.1 this product key is for however at least you can confirm you have an OEM product key. If you have tried the 5 “Editions” and they all reject your product key then it is likely you have a Bing Edition which Microsoft chose not to support with this tool.


228 thoughts on “Download Windows 8.1 OEM and Retail .iso

  1. hii philip i had upgraded my win 7 home premium and then upgraded to win 8 pro and did a clean install of win 8 pro after 8.1 came i donloaded the iso but it asked for product key to install and when i entered my win 8 pro product key it wont worked so i need to know whether the product key will work now or not.

  2. any link to directly download the iso file as i have slow internet and the tool takes much time to download if i can download it via idm it will be better

    1. Microsoft did not provide a direct link to the .iso unfortunately.

      Microsoft previously had a flawed deployment of Windows 8/8.1 where Windows 8.1 Pro downloaders and media blocked Windows 8 Pro keys.

      The Windows 8.1 Pro with Update 1 .isos from the Windows Media Creation Tool mentioned on this page works with both Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8.1 Pro product keys.

    2. Go to
      U can find same iso which u are trying to download using media creation tool.
      Its safe and untempered file.
      I am using the same.
      Hope it will work for u.

  3. I have a new machine with UEFI bios that is GPT partitioned. However, I wish to install legacy software that requires MBR (TrueCrypt). I am therefore exploring cloning the drive, reinstalling windows with MBR, and restoring the drive from from the clone. Other than losing the advantages GPT has over MBR, will this cause unforeseen problems? Will it work? Thanks.

      1. This isn’t a TrueCrypt question. It is a question about putting converting my GPT to MBR on my UEFI.

  4. Please make a link to a command line prompt. After making that link, right click on that link and select “run as administrator”. One this is done you will be ready to begin the real work. After you have brought up a command line window as the administrator, click into the box making it the new focus. Type ” diskpart ” and hit return. (do not include quote marks please.) Once diskpart is running, please type “List Disk” and then enter. This will display a list of available disks drives, please look for the drive letter of the unit you wish to work on. Then type “Select” and the drive number of this drive you are to work on. Then type “Convert MBR”
    Now that answers our primary question, However depending on the size of the drive unit are attempting to use with Windows 8.1, a GPT style partition is required in order to acquire the maximum drive space the BIOS and OS will allow. Windows does not need MBR in this condition.
    Sincerely, Dr. Holder, former developer of windows 95

    1. Thank you. I’ll try this tomorrow and let you know how it went. The drive is only 1T, so that’s not an issue.

    2. Tried this today. Didn’t work. I got the following error: “Virtual Disk service error: The operation is not allowed on a disk that contains a pagefile volume.”

  5. Hi Phillip,
    I truely admire U for such a well explained tutorial which is very helpful for people like me.I seek ur help regarding to my Dell Inspiron 3537 (Mid,2013) pc which has a windows 8 single language (64 bit) english US OS preinstalled.I wish to upgrade my pc with windows 8.1 free upgrade.Microsoft offers this update thru windows app store but I don’t want to upgrade it from their as in case of OS reinstallation I’ve to redownload it which is not easy in my monthly bandwidth limitation & as U mentioned above only windows 8 users who performed a clean installation of windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade their pc to windows 10. As U suggested above I may use windows media creation tool for download ISO file of windows 8.1 SL (64 bit) for upgrading but media creation tool requires a reliable internet connection which I’m lacking of for downloading such a big file of 3.6 gb on it. In such scenario I’ve found a windows 8.1 SL (64 bit) English US file on this link -
    I wish to know if I’ll download this file with IDM then will I’m able to perform a clean installation of windows 8.1 SL (64 bit) English US on my pc with the help of windows 8 SL (64 bit) English US product key which is embedded with my system. Is this file appropriate for upgrading my OS to windows 8.1. Eagerly waiting for ur reply & suggestions.

    1. Thats a unofficial source and hence I don’t trust it. You download the same file of size with or without the media creation tool so I’d recommend just taking your system to an internet cafe and using the media creation tool.

      1. Thank U Very Much,Dear Phillip..Ur suggestions are valuable as always… 🙂

  6. Good Afternoon, I have been reading the comments of other users and have a similar issue with my mother’s laptop (HP Pavillion g7-2217cl) which she purchased. It was suggested to finally reinstall the OS, as we were having multiple wireless connection issues. We followed the instructions on creating a System Restore point, via a recovery partition. However; the recovery partition is bad. Now I have a laptop, with a license and no OS. I have been trying to resolve this issue for about a month now.
    Can anyone please assist?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    1. So you followed the instructions here. The system came with either windows 8 or Windows 8 Single Language so the Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Single Language Edition should work, just follow the instructions on this page to make installation media.

  7. Hi folks:
    I have followed the instructions printed above and created a DVD iso file to reinstall W8.1 on my system. I am running a Dell XPS 8500 Desk top computer which originally was purchased in late 2012 with W8 installed. The processor is an i7-3770 running 340GHz and it has 16 GB ram, a 240 GB SSD and a 2 TB HD. I updated it to W8.1 and used it for a couple of years with no real problems. Late last year my system developed some problems and I wound up using one of those services that updates and cleans out your system on line. When they were finished they said I was back to clean install conditions with all my software and set-up as it was before I ran into problems. I found that I could not use the Windows Store and many of my apps failed to work. After 5 tries by the service to “fix” my problems I gave up and decided to wait for Win 10 but I have discovered something new. I can not use the system repair or system reinstall functions built into my current win 8.1 install. After I prepared the DVD iso using the above instructions I find that I can not get to my BIOS settings to instruct my computer to boot from the DVD drive. Can you help me?

    1. I forgot to mention I am running a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse and a Dell TS2220T touchscreen moniotor

      1. Can I just run the iso from my win O/S after it starts up in windows?

    2. Don’t use a DVD as the Optical Drive/DVD are rejected by SecureBoot and UEFI.

      You need to make a FAT32 USB Flash Drive for UEFI BIOS as instructed on this page.

      1. Ah, So! How come that is not mentioned above? Or did I miss it? By the way I have a 4 GB thumb drive and the system said it is not big enough. When I use the system to analyse the drive it shows the drive as 3.72 GB. I expected to see this inequity in the numbers but should I get a larger thumb drive or did I just fail to set up the process correctly?

      2. I explicitly mention to save the .iso and to use Rufus to create a Bootable USB that is FAT32 formatted for the UEFI BIOS…

        I mention things this way because of issues with creating a DVD and with also the Media Creation Tool has issues directly creating a Bootable USB. I don’t mention DVDs at all in this guide.

        Get an 8 GB USB flash drive… your 4 GB drive is specified as 1000×1000×1000 bytes whereas Windows classifies a GB as 1024×1024×1024 Bytes. Thus (1000/1024)^3 Bytes=3.72 GB. The .iso should be smaller than this but its recommended to have some space on the Bootable USB just in case.

        Edit: I have updated the guide to explicitly mention this warning and changed the USB to at least 8 GB.

  8. Hi Philipyip
    Thanks for the explanation. After I got the instruction to refrain from using the DVD with my system I went ahead and used the above mentioned “Rufus” to make boot-able flash drive. The file did fit on my 4GB Thumb Drive and now my system is back to full operation. It seems W-10 will be downloaded to my system so I can upgrade when it is released just as advertised. Thanks to you I have solved a problem with my system that was beginning to look like I would have to replace my System Drive in order to

  9. Like many- Rufus refuses to allow me to create FAT32/GPT-UEFI…it keeps reverting to MBR/NTFS??? What’s the use of this tool again? And yes, I did try the posted order & it makes no difference. 2014 UEFI Dell BIOS/XPS12. Now what???

      1. No matter which order I use, it won’t budge: NTFS & MBR is all I get. This is a 100% OEM, Dell XPS12. I found the last 5 digits of the key in system info & then corroborated the entire key using Belarc. The Dell recovery is borked after the upgrade from 8 to 8.1 (common to Dell after MS dicked around & altered the partition table in 8.1- the Dell recovery no longer works). The machine is screwed in all sorts of ways so I’m attempting to install direct to 8.1 OEM. I used the Microsoft “create media” here, to get the ISO:

        After being stymied by Rufus, I followed this:

        Which did create the bootable USB, however, I was presented the screen in which I had to input the product key, which I did & it accepted. Now, I’m sitting & looking at my original partitions & wondering, “what next?” Blow them all out? Only install to the original C: partition after formatting?…

        I so DESPISE Microsoft for f*cking us all around– and Dell, for being such pr*cks that they can’t own up to their own recovery issues & simply allow the recovery ISO for each affected unit to be available via download! I’ve already spent three days trying everything I can find. It’s ridiculous. And, I’ll add, I’ve been doing tech work for over 15 years. This is totally b*llshit. Worse- I’m helping a friend- it isn’t even my own laptop! (end of rant, not directed at philipyip). SOOOOOOOOO grateful to be running Linux Mint!

      2. You shouldn’t have difficulties making the USB flash drive with Rufus. You can try an older version in case there is a bug in the latest version or contact its developer here:

        You shouldn’t of been asked for the product key during installation.

        If you managed to make the USB and it accepted the key it should be okay but its not standard behaviour.

        Blow all the partitions, Windows will recreate what it needs during installation.

    1. tracy,
      I had a similar problem.
      then I realised… after i selected the USB device (in the rufus menu), instead of selecting the .iso image at the menu bottom, I went on to select the next selections – GPT, followed by fat32, followed by selecting .iso. doing this, fat changed to ntfs and gpt to mbr.

      but, after I followed the correct sequence – select USB device, then .iso image, then gpt/mbr, then fat32… things went well.

      1. TY biren,

        I tried every which way- no go. Been doing this for years, across all brands & OS’s- stymied by Dell Recovery Manager/MS arbitrary shifting of recovery partitions/locations.

        I’m positive its a “corporate glitch” neither want to address.

  10. I didn’t want to lose the guy’s factory recovery in the event that reinstalling the idiotic & uber-flawed Dell Recovery Manager software might actually work post-8.1 install, or I certainly would have. I’m encouraging him to exercise his extended warranty on that piece of junk as it’s clearly a documented defect & definitely NOT supposed to occur.

    Thanks for the feedback & article. Btw- I couldn’t find the older Rufus version I watched someone use successfully on youtube, only the current one? Of course, by then I’d well & truly had it.

    I now leave it up to the owner to decide his path. For better (worse, really) 8.1 is installed. Ugh.

  11. Hi Tracy

    I have been watching your comets since I recently went through something similar with my 2012 XPS 8500 Dell machine. Fortunately for me Rufus worked flawlessly after I learned you have to create a USB boot drive. I haven’t even looked to see if I got rid of the Dell restore partition because now I have the USB drive and I don’t care. I have been using computers since the 80’s but never became more than a novice at rearing them. With the old XP O/S I use to swear by the Re image repair but I have learned that re image is not good with Win 8 and later. I had two major foe-paws using it and I will never try that again. I used Linux on a laptop for about a year but I could never get any windows software to work with their windows emulator and I am pretty dependent on some windows software. I am really happy with this desk top from Dell and I expect to like it better with Win 10. I didn’t know about the problem with upgrading Win 8 to 8.1 until this column brought it to my attention and I so appreciate Mr. Yip for helping me with it.

    There must be something different about the Install on the XPS12 because I found my full key listed in the PC Info in my system. My system never asked me for the key so I guess it was stored properly in the Bios. I was forced to do a complete clean install because when I tried to use the option to save all my previous set-up it also failed to repair the problem and I still could not get to any of my windows apps or the store. Those guys who made remote repairs really did a number on my system. Another thing I will never try again.

    I guess I said all that to say I feel your pain buddy.