This page has greatly been updated, see here:
Download Windows 8.1 Retail and OEM .iso
The Windows Media Creation Tool is far superior to the previous Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Downloaders.
It allows download of a .iso with selection of language, architecture and edition. Importantly it allows download without input of a product key. This means it can be used both with OEM product keys and RETAIL product keys and no "unofficial workarounds" are required. The "We Can't Connect at the Moment" error as a consequence which previously meant the key had been used too many times is a thing of the past.
The Windows 8.1 "Edition" with Update 1 .iso accepts both Windows 8 "Edition" and Windows 8.1 "Edition" product keys both OEM and RETAIL so theres no need for the use of generic product keys for installation, RWEverything to determine the OEM key and change key for product activation.
The main caution is that one ensures they use the correct "Edition" and it unfortunately does not support the new "Windows 8.1 with Bing" and "Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing" "Free OEM Only Editions" at present. Finally it remains a .exe so media cannot be created from Linux or Mac OS and Microsoft have even locked out its use on both Windows XP and Windows Vista. Add your votes to leave feedback to Microsoft for the tool to fix the remaining issues and to ensure a smooth migration to Windows 10:
3 thoughts on “Download Windows 8.1 Retail .iso”
The really cool thing about this media, as long as the Windows 8 (or 8.1) COA is in the UEFI firmware, this is a keyless upgrade. This ISO should have been released long ago, as soon as 8.1 was, yet better late than never & it also includes Update 1.
Using this ISO, was able to recover a very botched Windows 10 install in no time, after updates, installing a few basic apps & security, plus backup the computer, 90 minutes or so. Then used a partition tool & gave the Recovery one a letter, this allowed me to get the needed drivers for the OS, plus a few software choices that was wanted.
This is much better than going through the Recovery partition, because it's a Clean install. While I could have used that partition tool & made Recovery the active one, forcing it to boot & reload the OS, plus all of the junk software, this was a faster & better method.
BTW, this was performed on a large (I believe 17.3" screen) Dell Inspiron notebook with a much watered down i7 (dual core) CPU running at less than 2.0GHz. I can't believe that they actually call these 'performance' notebooks, seems like battery life is the main objective. If so, maybe an i3 should have been used, all of the series has the same wattage & the frequencies aren't that far apart.
Don't want to get too carried away, for Windows 8/8.1 users, this ISO is the best thing since sliced bread, it'll also accept the Windows 8 Pro promo COA's that was purchased in late 2012 through early 2013, all one had to do was later add the Media Center key. Simple clean install, especially with Dell, as if the computer has drivers for the OS, these will be listed. If running a slightly older computer, then often using Vista drivers in Compatibility Mode does the trick.
I suspect that once many runs Windows 10 for awhile & sees their privacy leaking like mad, Windows 8.1 will look like a great OS after all. The cool thing is it's supported through early 2023, many will have a new(er) computer by then, possibly running a totally different brand of OS.
Philip, you've done a helluva job here! One thing that I'd like to ask of you is to do some coverage on the Dell Ubuntu computers, these doesn't get the exposure needed, maybe you can help. Personally, I'm not chained to Windows, period. Am on my XPS 8700 typing this post running Linux Mint 17.1, not one of the three installed Windows OS's on the PC. My 'go to' OS, other than sometimes Windows 7 or 8.1.
Have a great day & a big thanks to Philip for everything he's done for his site.
An .iso similar to this should have been made when Windows 8 OEM was released and definitely when Windows 8.1 OEM was released.
It took some time for Microsoft to get the media deployment of Windows 8.x on track and they only did so as the hype for Windows 10 was beginning.
Windows 10 at least came with the .iso on the first day but I do not like the mandatory requirement of an initial upgrade especially with a UEFI BIOS key (as its pointless).
Ideally the .iso should be downloadable on Linux and also the .isos should tell users if a UEFI BIOS SLP key is present and what Edition it is for.
Currently I am a Windows user and don't have as much experience with Linux. I prefer VMs to dualboots at present.
Philip, the media can be downloaded from a Linux OS, I've tested the link for this. The key can still be seen by whatever the process is for those with UEFI firmware. Those with BIOS (MBR) must manually enter the type of OS needed, as well as language & bit version.
I also run VM's, though normally these are when running Linux Mint (Windows VM's). Have one last Windows 10 Pro install as a VM that's fully activated, just from participating in the Preview program, it was activated around July 17, when the first early testers got theirs. So this proves that had one built a new PC late last year & began running early Previews, no 'underlying' license was needed.
Hope that this is useful!