Microsoft

Quick Tip: Download a new copy of the Windows 8 Upgrade ISO

Using your Windows 8 Product Key you can download a fresh copy of the setup file and then save it as an ISO file.

Did you purchase and download Windows 8 Upgrade from Microsoft during the initial release and now need to reinstall the operating system but don't have a DVD? For instance, maybe selected the Install now option or maybe you selected the Install by creating media option and now can't locate the ISO you downloaded or the DVD you burned or the USB flash drive you created.

Fortunately, using your Windows 8 Product Key you can download a fresh copy of the Windows 8 Setup file and then save it as an ISO file. You can then burn the ISO file to a DVD.

Caveats

Keep in mind that this particular download is not for everyone.

  • This procedure will only work if you purchased and downloaded a copy of Windows 8 Upgrade during the initial release.
  • If you purchased a new computer with Windows 8 preinstalled, this procedure will NOT work for you. If you need to reinstall Windows 8, you will have to investigate the manufacturer's recovery procedure.
  • If you purchased and downloaded a copy of Windows 8 from the Microsoft Store and now can't locate the ISO you downloaded or the DVD you burned, all you have to do is return to the store, sign in to your account, access the Downloads, product keys, and subscriptions section, and you can then re-download the ISO.

Also keep in mind that for this download procedure to work correctly, there are two requirements you need to pay strict attention to. If you don't adhere to these requirements, the download will fail.

  1. You must perform the download on a system running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. (You cannot perform the download on a system running Windows 8.)
  2. The computer you use to perform the download must meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 8.

In addition, you'll want to pay attention to the bit version of the system you use to perform the download. More specifically, if you want to end up with a 64-bit version of Windows 8, you'll need to perform the download on a system running a 64-bit version of Windows. Likewise, if you want to end up with a 32-bit version of Windows 8, you'll need to perform the download on a system running a 32-bit version of Windows.

Getting started

To begin, go to the Upgrade to Windows 8 with only a product key page and click the Install Windows 8 button. When you do so, you will be prompted to Run or Save the file - select the Run option. This process is illustrated in Figure A.

Figure A

After you select the Install Windows 8 button, click the Run button when prompted.
You'll then be prompted to enter your Product key. When you click Next, there will be a slight delay while your product key is verified. You'll then see a screen that shows you the Windows 8 version that matches your Product key. These steps are illustrated in Figure B.

Figure B

You'll begin the process by entering your Windows 8 Upgrade Product key.
As soon as you click Next, the download will begin. Once the download is complete, Windows 8 Setup checks the download, and then prepares the files. These steps are illustrated in Figure C.

Figure C

The download will proceed through three steps and take about two hours to complete.
Once the files are ready, Windows 8 Setup prompts you to choose how you want to install the new operating system. You'll then choose the Install by creating media option and then choose ISO file option. These steps are illustrated in Figure D.

Figure D

You'll choose to create an ISO file that you can then burn to a DVD.
When you click the Save button, you'll be prompted to specify a location on your hard disk to create the ISO file. Windows 8 Setup then creates the ISO file, reminds you of the Product key, and prompts you to Open the DVD burner. These steps are illustrated in Figure E.

Figure E

Once the ISO file is created, you can burn the file to a DVD.

If the system doesn't have a DVD burner, you can copy the ISO to a USB flash drive or other external drive and then burn the ISO to DVD later.

Also read:

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

18 comments
JimInNM
JimInNM

Thanks Greg for taking the time to clarify what I misread. Love reading your articles, good work gleaning all the crap out of what the mfg. crowd thinks we should believe.

demotricus
demotricus

After reading the article properly (oops) realised that this is exactly what I need. I have re-installed windows 8 Pro (ahem) Eleven times now, for reasons I will not go into (Grrr), As my install DVD is now getting a little tatty, some sort of backup option was needed. -This fits perfectly as I can download it from my "real" computer running Windows 7 64bit. :-) Thank you.

JimInNM
JimInNM

So, I have an OEM 8.0 Pro 64Bit version and won't be able to upgrade on the link you provided. Will I get the 8.1 Version due out later this year free or will I have to buy a new version to get the update? Why is it called an update if it's a new version and you have to buy it?? Kind of confusing to me

laman
laman

So I have Windows 8 and want to do a fresh re-install of Win 8.1, and I can't download the ISO. That is not so good.

ellisons
ellisons

I have 4 copies of W8 upgrade. I have not yet installed them. Will I need to download the latest upgrade 4 times when I have installed the original W8? I have 4 separate Product Keys but from my understanding of what is said above I cannot save the latest upgrade to use 4 times. Thanks, Chris

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...you must be running Windows XP SP3. I just discovered this little gem on a Microsoft page: [b]Install by creating media[/b] The other option, Install by creating media, is an advanced installation option that requires a USB flash drive or a blank DVD. This option isn't available for PCs running Windows XP SP3. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/install#1TC=t1 Microsoft should have put this little tid-bit on the Upgrade to Windows 8 with only a product key page. In any case, I performed my upgrade download using a Windows 7 system, but I should have also tried it on a Windows XP system, but didn't. [i]I apologize for any inconvenience![/i] However, I have heard from several folks that if you select the Install Now option when you download the Windows 8 Upgrade, the procedure creates a folder called ESD that contains files Windows 8 uses for performing Refresh and Reset options. Apparently, you can use the contents of this folder to create an ISO. Now I haven't tried this yet, but will do so ASAP and get back to you... In the meantime, you can find some good instructions on the process here: http://www.pagestart.com/win8esdtodvd11041201.html Again, I haven't yet tried this myself, but it seems like a pretty straightforward procedure.

csherman739
csherman739

I was glad to see how to get my W8 on DVD but was disappointed when I completed the download. There was no option for saving to disk image, only install now or install from desktop. What happened to the other option?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Did you make a backup copy of the Windows 8 upgrade ISO - it might be a good idea, don't you think?

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...that you read the article properly and that is was exactly what you needed. ;-)

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...if I read your statement and question correctly, I think that you may have misunderstood. The download mentioned in this article has nothing to do with upgrading Windows 8. This is the Windows 8 Upgrade download that was released in Oct 2012. It is designed for upgrading Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP to Windows 8. The Windows 8.1 update, which will be available in the Fall, will be a FREE update for Windows 8 and Windows RT users. Windows 8.1 isn't a new version of the operating system--it really falls more in line with being a service pack. However, Microsoft has said that it is more than a service pack, so they opted to add a .1 version number rather than call it Windows 8 SP1.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...it is important that you understand that this is the same Windows 8 Upgrade that was made available in October 2012. This is not the new Windows 8.1. Now, if you have 4 separate Product Keys, you really only need to have one DVD. You can use the same DVD during each of the installations, just use a separate Product key for each one.

taffa
taffa

am working in the uae and down load from microsoft not allowd

taffa
taffa

i bought a laptop acer aspire v3-571 8gb ram this was a one language and i got a key to down load windows media player my software is now windows 8 pro with media center i wish to reload new system same as i have now or better can i use my key that is now working am new to software and dont have copy

ellisons
ellisons

Thanks Greg. That clears up things no end. Cheers, Chris

demotricus
demotricus

If you are wishing to try Windows 8.1 you should either wait for the official upgrade (because you can retain all your apps and settings) or make a system image which will save everything for re-installation. Look at this :- http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/12/using-windows-8s-hidden-backup-to-clone-and-recover-your-whole-pc/ Also -your key(s) should still work - just "Add features to windows" in control panel and enter key (After you install the basic windows 8 from your installation media, you "add features" & enter your windows 8 Pro key , then do the same with the media center key) Edit:- just spotted that this is NOT the windows 8.1 upgrade trial, -information is still pertinent though - very useful to be able to clone a system image.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Can't figure out what you are trying to say/do. Acer should of provided on the system via some type of recovery manager a way to create the installation disks for that model. If they didn't they continue as another reason why I wouldn't by anything from the incompitent fools at Acer.