Download Windows 8.1 OEM and Retail .iso


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The Free Upgrade to Windows 10 RS1

Microsoft are keen for you to Upgrade to Windows 10. The Upgrade is Free and you may directly Clean Install Windows 10 RS1 (version 1607) or perform an Upgrade Install of Windows 10 RS1 (version 1607):

look-for-this-sticker-if-you-want-a-new-windows-10-pc-right-now-486011-2

Since TH2 (version 1511) 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 Download Windows 10 RS1 OEM and Retail .iso for more details on Clean Installation (recommended) or alternatively Upgrading to Windows 10 RS1 for more details on Upgrading (less recommended).

Download Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Retail and OEM .iso

Contents

  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 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?

Image result for european union flag without the uk

  • Essentially some Eurocrat decided it’s anti-competitive (ironic) for Microsoft to prebundle media features within Microsoft Windows so with some red tape forced Microsoft to duplicate almost all the Editions of Windows again… Like many of the European Commission policies (such as the infamously annoying Browser Choice Update) these Editions are extremely unpopular even in European Countries.
  • This annoyance essentially created more unnecessary Windows 8.1 Editions resulting in end-user confusion. Note because the European Commission does not have a Single Language there is no Windows 8.1 (Home) N Single Language Edition… for good humour c.f. The European Commission and the Official Language of the EU!

A Rant about BREXIT and the Future

Since I am from the United Kingdom and had to mention the annoyance of the European Commission even in technical Windows Installation Guides I will also leave a small side note on BREXIT and where I believe the United Kingdom should head.

On the 23rd of June 2016 citizens of the United Kingdom voted to LEAVE the European Union.

  • Unfortunately our government hasn’t yet invoked article 50 yet.
  • We look forward to re-engaging with the British Commonwealth and re-establishing our kindred Anglosphere links with Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZUK).

If you are from a CANZUK country ensure you sign here (Change.org) to advocate the Free Movement with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

canzuk

anglosphere-poster-a0-with-southern-cross-revg

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:

winx

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.

win8.1

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:

Win8Home

  • 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 TH2 .iso:

Win8Bing

  • 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:

Win8Pro

  • 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 www.dell.com

Select support and then support by product:

1x

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

1a3Select System Configuration:

1a4

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:

1a

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:

2a

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 RS1 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 (another sign that its dead) and Windows XP. It cannot be ran on Linux or Apple OS unless a Windows VM is used (with Windows installed). Thus you have to install a modern Windows OS in order to download a modern Windows OS… which is a bit of a catch 22 for those stuck on Windows XP (with compatible hardware), Windows Vista, Linux or Apple OS. Use the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation which is available as a direct .iso download. Install the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation and use it to launch the Media Creation tool.

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

1

Select Run

2

The downloader will load displaying the Windows logo:

3

You will asked for Language, Edition and Architecture:

4

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

I’m going to select “proper English”.

uk-flags

i.e. “English – en-gb”:

5

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

6

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.

7

When you have selected your 3 desired options select next:

8

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:

9

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

12

The .iso will download:

13 14

15 16

17

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

uk-flags

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:

english-ukx86

usa-flags2

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

english-us

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

english-usx86

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.

1

Select your 8 GB or superior USB flash drive:

2

Select the .iso:

5

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.

3

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

4

Click start:

6

Select OK to format the USB flash drive:

7

Rufus will now create the Bootable USB:

8

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

9

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:

winx

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”.

win8.1p

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.

prowithmce

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:

winx

In system select Activate Windows:

win8.1p

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

a

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.

rweverything

Note no MSDM tab = No Windows 8.0/8.1 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.

A second utility is called Windows Product Key Tool again it gives you the key but not the Edition:

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

  1. dear philip,

    you are such a life-saver. 🙂

    i have not yet done my clean install of win8.0 (SL-64bit), and the win8.1 upgrade (for which you have guided me – ref: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/4677/t/19603693)

    since i have not yet done it, should i use this win8.1 .iso download method (instead of the in-store update)?
    since my dell 3214 came with win8.0 64 bit SL, i presume i will have to select windows 8.1 single language in the ‘edition’ field, right?

    i have everything else downloaded and ready as guided by you (dell drivers, KB2871389, kb 2919442, kbkb2919355 and the win8.1 wsus updates)

    thank you.
    biren

    1. Microsoft have updated the downloader for Windows 8.1. The downloader now requires no product key.

      For installation a product key is required but the updated .iso of Windows 8.1 with Update 1 accepts both Windows 8.0 and 8.1 product keys.

      I’m not sure if it will accept the OEM key during installation natively and don’t have a system to test at the moment. Can you try this and let me know?

      If it doesn’t work we’ll need to use a PID.txt and EI.cfg file to install.

      As far as I know theres little difference between the regular Windows 8.1 and the Single Language. I will need to test.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to test, the .iso is the most up to date and contains Windows 8.1 with Update 1.

      Essentially the questions to ask are:
      1. Will you be stuck on the product key screen? Does it say invalid key or will an error flag up and halt the install? Alternatively does it accept the OEM key automatically and activate?

      Then depending on 1.

      2. If it says product key invalid, does it accept the generic key and let you continue the install?

      3. If an error flags up and halts the install, does inputting a PID.txt and EI.cfg allow the install to run to completion?

      Then depending on 2. or 3.

      4. Does the key from RW-Everything allow for activation once installed?

      1. got it, philip.

        the 8.1 downloaded and .iso burnt on to a dvd.

        will start the clean install of win8.0 in a day or two.

        (after fresh win8.0 installed, do i still follow the same process that you advised, that is – install KB2871389 before running this win8.1 update? and then install kb2919442 and kb2919355, followed by all drivers? correct?)

        regards
        biren.

      2. philip, which EI and PID files do i use? that mentioned for win 8.1 home? or there are different for win single lang.?

        also… since i have burnt a dvd from the downloaded .iso, how do i use these files if i need to follow this workaround method?

      3. Biren

        The new .iso includes Windows 8.1 and Update 1 hence there is no need for KB2871389, going to the Store to update to 8.1 and no need to install KB2919442 or KB2919355.

        Unfortunately I don’t have a generic product key for the single language version so its not possible to make a PID.txt until we find a working generic key.

        Can you try the install and let me know how it goes?
        It may be unnecessary work to hunt for the generic product key if it works directly.

      4. sorry philip… but since i am feeling a bit unsure, i would like to recheck – about the procedure.

        1. i reinstall win 8.0
        2. then, immediately i install win 8.1 thru this .iso
        3. then i install all 8.1 updates offline (wsus)
        4. then i install the drivers.

        please let me know.

        biren

    2. Biren
      The new .iso is a full .iso do not reinstall Windows 8.0; it is a waste of time. The new .iso will install Windows 8.1 directly (no need to install Windows 8.0 and then Windows 8.1) and it also includes the update 1.

      Instead directly install using the updated .iso. WSUS offline update is not necessary as the .iso will be almost up to date (at present) but you can use it if you want. You will need to install the drivers after installation.

      1. dear philip,

        i finally got around to reinstalling 8.1 from the .iso.
        this is what happened:

        1. was not asked for the product key (but windows is not activated – may be it will automatically do it once i can connect to the internet, or i may have to key in the key i got from RW)

        2. surprisingly, i was not even taken to the sign in page that asks for a microsoft account – the screen i saw simply asked for a name, password, etc.)

        3. once the windows was ready, i started to install the drivers. (since you said, windows updates are not necessary)

        4. the dell 1705 network driver failed to install
        i think i made a mistake in not only the drivers, but also the order. so, could you please check the drivers you suggested at dell forums (http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/4677/t/19603693) still hold true?

        5. on trying to install the intel turbo boost driver/application, it needed .net 3.5, which i could not download because of no internet connection. is this normal? and can i install the turbo boost app later also?

        also, i found that when i used dban, and reached the screen after successful completion of process (where it says, press any key to continue), on pressing the key, the screen that came up next was of some advertisement (of BLANCCO). i hope this was in the dban cd and not on my laptop. do let me know if u have any idea.

        thank you philip.

        i am now going to reinstall 8.1 and wait for your confirmation about the drivers and their order as suggested by you in the dell forum.

        i am sorry to be asking you to do it again.

        regrds
        biren

      2. Biren, no need to clean install again. For Windows 8.1 the driver installation order is not so critical as long as Windows 8.1 with Update 1 is installed first and the chipset next.

        1. Its as expected, it will activate when you are online.
        2. This page does not show if the system cannot connect to the internet. You can sign into your Microsoft Account after you install the wireless card driver.
        4. It should be the driver, check the device manager again. If its not there the wireless switch may be disabled.
        5. Leave the Intel TurboBoost until you are online. For some reason Microsoft disable the Microsoft.net Framework by default, it can be added using features when you are online. See here: http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/wsus-offline-update/obtaining-the-latest-service-packsbuilds-of-internet-explorer/windows-defender-latest-definition-and-enabling-microsoft-net-framework-in-windows-8-1/

        Blancco is just an advertisement to let users know there is a commercial version of DBAN. This is normal and it comes up in DBAN 2.2.8 I used 2.2.7 in my screenshots, its about the only thing thats changed regarding the user interface but theres other enhancements with version 2.2.8.

        See here where it mentions Blancco: http://www.dban.org/download

      3. thank you philip.

        i already reinstalled 8.1. 🙂
        now i will try with the drivers that i downloaded thru links given by you in the dell forum reply to my query.

        will let u know.

        thanks a bunch.
        regards
        biren

      4. dear Philip,

        as I said, I had reinstalled 8.1. (ifound that the windows got activated on its own once I was connected to internet)
        then i directly went ahead to install drivers that I had downloaded from the links you provided me on the dell forum post (http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/4677/t/19603693) – in that same order.

        this were the problems I faced:

        A.
        the 4th driver was intel turbo boost –
        it stopped because it asked to download .net 3.5, and I couldn’t do it since I couldn’t connect to the internet (without the network driver)

        B.
        I found I had saved 2 network drivers for dell 1705 –

        Network_Driver_9TR42_WN_10.0.0.263_A00
        and
        DW1705_WIN8.1_A00_Setup-9TR42_ZPE

        the first one failed to install
        the second one installed, but somewhere – as it was loading – I read it was for x86.
        is that okay? since my system is x64? though my Bluetooth and wifi seems to be working ok.

        C.
        the intel WiDi (?) driver (WiDi_Intel_W7W8_X04_A01_Setup-4N2D3_ZPE) –
        installed ok. but when I clicked the desktop icon (to see what was it about), it said “this program has compatibility issues”
        do I need to do anything? do I need this app?

        D.
        the last was quickset app (Application_1VRX6_WN_11.1.007_A00) –
        this also installed ok. but I couldn’t find the icon in the notification tray. nor was I able to see it listed in ‘all programs’ (I remember seeing it as dell quickset when I was running win8.0 on my laptop)
        just now, what I have done is… I went to the programs folder and copied the shortcut icon to taskbar and start.
        why is it not showing in notification menu? can I do something about it?

        E.
        after the driver installation, I went to windows update, thinking there will be one or two updates, if any. there are 45 updates (and 5 ‘other’ updates)
        is this normal/ok?
        should I download and install this through windows update? or wsus?

        F.
        I am having this feeling that all has not gone well. is there a way I can check if everything is as it should be?

        thank you for holding my finger all along this path.
        I shudder at the thought, what if you were not there to help.

        regards
        biren

    3. well I have tried it with diff programs that say to copy to flash drives but no luck or I am doing something wrong so if you can help me on my clean instill of win 8.1 thank you

      1. Good day to ask the question! Finally I got some new Dell hardware – Inspiron 7347. I also have upgraded my XPS 8300 to have USB 3.0 ports so I could use my new StarTech USB 3.0 HD Video Capture Device to capture within the Dell BIOS. I have done some personal testing with the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool with its Windows 8.1 OEM license. I demonstrate making a bootable USB of the correct edition for use with a UEFI install with SecureBoot enabled. Take a look at the new tutorial videos at the top of this guide…

  2. Win 8.1 Core_Single_Language default key: Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
    Works for OEM users,I hope.

    I did clean install by using Win 8.1 OEM media on Dell system which is Win 8.0 OEM licensed.It asked for product key at the beginning of installation,I used this key and it worked.And then activated using OEM key.

    1. Thanks just input it into a VM and it allows he installation to proceed with the Windows 8.1 Update 1 Single Language .iso. It can be added as a PID.txt file if the OEM key is rejected.

      If you have time can you make a bootable USB with the updated .iso and tell me if you go straight to the license screen or if it asks for a product key or finally if the installation is terminated?

      1. Yes I did,it didn’t ask for product key.Went straight to the license screen.

        But my system is not showing USB path under the boot list options in boot menu (F12) if secure boot is ON.So I continued in OFF mode and finally it showed “Windows can’t be installed on GPT partitioned disk” error for every drive of my hdd,didn’t allow me to proceed further!

        I tried with all three types of Partition schemes in Rufus,didn’t work.

        (I faced this before when I was installing Win 7.So I removed my hdd,converted to MBR using other system and installed.)

        Mine is Inspiron 15R 5521,Win 8.0 OEM licensed.

        I guess all preinstalled systems come with GPT partitioned disks,isn’t it?

    2. Philip

      Thanks for the solution,I’ll try that later and inform you.

      I tested on another system which is also Inspiron and Win 8.0 preinstalled but MBR partitioned.It went straight to the license screen,but not activated automatically.I used RWEverything to get embedded key and then activated.

      1. Hi Ravi

        Thanks for the feedback, its excellent news and it means that Ei.cfg and PID.txt files are not required.

        The RW-Everything and change key are simple enough steps to follow to activate the product.

  3. Windows 8.1 Default Keys:

    Core=334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT

    Core N=6NPQ8-PK64X-W4WMM-MF84V-RGB89

    Professional=XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB

    Professional N=JRBBN-4Q997-H4RM2-H3B7W-Q68KC

    Core_Single_Language=Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC

    1. It definitely solves the problem – you do not need to modify any files, after installation simply enter your key and activate. I have / I installed Windows 8 Pro off course by taking an ISO image from the Media Creation Tool and this keys. Thanks.

    2. Hi Ravi

      Now that I am back from travelling I have done some extensive testing of the generic keys and the additional Media Centre Edition generic product key in a VM. This guide is significantly updated to address the issues users are getting stuck with.

      Thanks for the help.

      1. Hi Philip,

        Your guide looks like Wikipedia,covered all.It definitely solves the problems.

        I just wanted to know that activation of Windows by GVL keys is legal for personal use??
        If that is the case I’ll share some generic keys of it here.
        And I found generic keys of Enterprise edition(Anyway you didn’t recommend this for consumers).I’ll share these keys also for those who use KMS to activate Windows if it is legal.

      2. They can be used for installation only and not product activation and some are available here which is essentially a Microsoft site, it has only the professional and enterprise editions:
        http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867.aspx
        I’m not sure where all the others originally came from but I got them from you and HeiDoc.net:
        http://heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/70-windows-8-x-and-windows-10-iso-direct-download-links?highlight=WyJ3aW5kb3dzIiw4LCJ3aW5kb3dzIDgiXQ==