The Windows Media Creation Tool vs Direct Download Links
The Windows Media Creation Tool is a .exe file and only runs on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. If you are running one of these versions of Windows it is advised to run the Windows Media Creation Tool as it not only downloads the .iso but verifies that it is okay reducing the chances of installation error due to a partially downloaded installation .iso.
From time to time people install Linux by mistake or attempt to setup a dual boot and effectively wipe out their Windows 7/8/10 OEM installation. This guide primarily refers to installation of Windows 10 TH2 on real hardware using an OEM license.
For users running Windows XP/Windows Vista or Linux or users who wish to virtualise Windows 10 they must purchase a Retail Key for continued use. There is however a small unofficial workaround to get a Free Windows 10 Pro install via the expired Windows 10130 .iso as explained in detail here:
Windows 10 TH2 Host Linux VM
I recommend installation of Windows 10 TH2 as the host OS and using Linux in a VM. This way you can use your OEM license without any Microsoft Product Activation issues.
You will need to Download the .iso and then Create a Bootable USB.
Linux Host Windows 10 TH2 VM
One may think they can simply use the OEM license to install Windows on the virtual machine which has an OEM license for the host hardware. However the virtual hardware of the virtual machine is classified as a different Device and thus recognised by Microsoft as a different Device. In short the OEM license won't activate on the virtual machine even if the host hardware has an OEM license…
Virtualisation of Windows 10 TH2 will therefore require a Full Retail license… unless you use the unofficial Windows 10130 Upgrade path. You do not need to create a Bootable USB and can install Windows directly using the .iso. My VMWare installation guide demonstrating the Unofficial 10130 Upgrade Path can be used as a basis.
Apple OS Host Windows 10 TH2 VM
Note that use of Windows 10 TH2 for virtualisation on Apple Hardware will require a Full Retail license.
For Apple users you can use the steps to Download the .iso and you can use it for BootCamp installation. I do not have any Apple hardware so will not write a Bootcamp guide.
Download Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 .iso Direct Links
Its somewhat hidden but the direct download links to Windows 10 .isos are available:
This guide is not going to go into in depth details about Edition, Language and Architecture and the free upgrade for OEM licenses. For that you should refer to the main guide which gives a great deal of additional information about OEM licenses.
For Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 Education a script needs to be added to repair the Techbench website. The script restores the original layout of the Techbench website and restores the download links Microsoft software engineers for some reason removed, likely due to some ignoramus higher up or in marketing. Follow the instructions in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 TechBench Downloads.
Select your Edition:
The Windows 10 .iso contains Windows 10 Home and Windows Pro.
The Windows 10N .iso contain Windows 10 HomeN and Windows 10 ProN.
The Windows 10 Single Language contains only the Windows 10 Single Language .iso.
Now select your Language:
English International = English UK (recommended)
English = English US (unrecommended)
Now you will be given temporary Download links:
Scroll up to get to them and select 64 Bit (or 32 Bit) depending on the architecture your after:
Wait for the .iso to Download as you can see this is being Downloaded on Ubuntu with Firefox:
Once the .isos are downloaded go to your downloads folder:
English Files Sizes
The English 64 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x64 3,895,734 KB
- Windows 10N x64 3,644,650 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x64 3,832,158 KB
The English 32 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x86 2,927,760 KB
- Windows 10N x86 2,731,020 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x86 2.881.820 KB
The English 64 Bit US .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x64 3,922,852 KB
- Windows 10N x64 3,639,530 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x64 3,854,082 KB
The English 32 Bit US .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x86 2,962,582 KB
- Windows 10N x86 2,723,592 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x86 2,908,838 KB
As you can see the size appears to be different for Languages and Editions.
If you are using a Virtual Machine or Apple Bootcamp you shouldn't need to create a Bootable USB and can load the .iso directly for installation of Windows 10 TH2 directly.
If you are using Windows XP or Windows Vista to Download the .iso you can make a Bootable USB with Rufus see here.
If you are using Ubuntu, Fedora or Mint and want to install Windows 10 TH2 on physical hardware you will be unable to load Rufus as its a .exe so only runs on Windows so we will use UNetbootin. The instructions should also work on Apple OS but I've not tested it.
Making a Bootable USB with UNetBootin
Before making the Bootable USB you should use Disk to format the USB as FAT32 (otherwise it may not boot particularly in a UEFI BIOS). This can be done in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions by using Disk. Press the Ubuntu orb:
Then type disk:
Select your USB flash drive to the left and then under your USB select the settings crank:
Select format partition:
You can format to overwrite data or you can format to assign all data to free space. Select Don't overwrite existing data (quick) to prolong your USB storage device unless it is seriously infected:
Ensure you select FAT so it can boot in a UEFI BIOS:
Name the USB and select Format:
Select Format again:
Ensure it shows up as FAT (32 Bit version). Then exit Disks:
You can use the UNetbootin program to make a Bootable USB.
It can be run on Linux, Apple OS and Windows. For Windows I prefer to use Rufus.
Select Download (Linux).
You will be presented with the installation instructions. The install and use of this utility unfortunately requires use of the Terminal which may scare some people but it is quite easy.
Select the Ubuntu orb and type terminal.
Select the terminal
Type in the following
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gezakovacs/ppa
To proceed you will be asked for your password. Type in your password into the command prompt and press [Enter]
After you have done so you will get some information about Unetbootin. Press
It will begin to install:
Now type in:
sudo apt-get update
Now type in:
sudo apt-get install unetbootin
You will be asked whether you want to continue.
Final the install will be done:
If you then go to the Ubuntu orb:
Type in Unetbootin and select to launch the program:
Unfortunately you will get this error message. Lets open the terminal again:
UNetbootin will now launch:
Select Disk Image and make sure the .iso is selected. Load it:
Select the TH2 .iso:
Select the USB drive – its labelling isn't too userfriendly so its recommended to only have one USB flash drive inserted in your system:
Select Ok the program will now extract and copy the files from the .iso to the USB:
When finished select [Exit]
This USB will boot in both a legacy BIOS and a UEFI BIOS.