I just found something I thought I should pass along. Sure, it’s only for the desktop OS, but many if not all of us in this line of work use one. (If you don’t use Windows, or don’t support your own workstation, maybe sharing the info can gain you some brownie points with folks who do.) It was not readily apparent in my searching the web, either: Microsoft has made Windows 8.1 (or 8.1 Pro) installation bits available for download for you and me– and yes, you can install from that media using your retail Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro Product Key.

Not so long ago, one would have had to install Windows 8, then get online for hours to patch it and then upgrade to Windows 8.1. For me, this got in the way of having what I like to call a “gold copy” of a system build. IMO, being networked for so long increases risk exposure, reduces trustworthiness, and otherwise tarnishes the golden-ness of a system build image. What about doing a Windows 8.1 offline update?

There were tricks (as described here or here) that showed up to get Windows 8.1 installation media; however, they only worked for a clean installation if you had a Windows 8.1 serial key. With a Windows 8 key, it only helped in that you would’t have to keep downloading the 8.1 upgrade if you had to install it over and over.

Something must have happened to change the mind of MSFT. (It seems to me that perhaps the move is in line with their Windows 10 strategy.) On the webpage folks were hacking to get the media (as I was attempting to do the same), I found a link at the bottom for “creating installation media” that leads to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media.

It temporarily takes some 4GB of space on your system drive to run the tool, no matter where you direct the .ISO in the wizard, so make sure you have it available on your C drive. But I found that the installation media it creates, once burned to a DVD (or put on a USB stick), can be used with your Windows 8.1 OR Windows 8 product key. It also worked for a Windows 8 Pro Upgrade retail DVD I was dealing with. Pass it along!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *