How to download Windows 8.1 ISO using Windows 8 product key (update)

Download Windows 8.1 ISO file

This is an epic trick! Apparently there is a workaround to download the Windows 8.1 ISO  from the Microsoft servers using your Windows 8 product key — Yes, even the upgrade key works with this method.

Why is this is a good news? Because Microsoft has recently announced that the only way to update to Windows 8.1 is via the Windows Store and it won’t be making available an ISO file to the public, only for TechNet and MSDN subscribers. And let’s say you had a small business with 20 PCs, you’ll literally have to manually update each computer using the Store, downloading the installation files of about 3.5GB 20 times — now you’ll only have to do it once.


Follow these steps to the image file:

1 Head over to

2 Scroll down and click Install Windows 8 (This will trigger the download for the setup assistant).

3 Launch the installer and enter your Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8 Upgrade product key, confirm that you will be downloading the bits for the version you paid for.

Note: Keep in mind that this workaround only works with retail versions of the OS and not with OEM copies.

Downloading Windows 8 first

4 As soon as starts downloading, close the installer assistant from the (X) in the top-right corner.

5 Go back to the Microsoft Windows upgrade page, click Install Windows 8.1, and download the Windows 8.1 Setup assistant.

6 Now like if it was magic, you’ll see that Windows 8.1 starts downloading… (For those non-believers I tested by letting the first download go to 5%, then I switched to the 8.1 download and it started again from 0%.)

Download Windows 8.1 with Windows 8 key

7 When the download completes, you can choose to install the OS right-then, or you can choose to the option: Install by creating media. (This option will allow you to create a bootable media.)


8 Choose to create a USB flash drive or ISO file, and click Next to finish.


Even better this will also solve the “Insert Media: Some files are missing…” issue while using Refresh your PC or Remove everything in Windows 8.1.

Kudos to Nazmus Khandaker for publishing this helpful tip that he found in the Microsoft forums.


win-6.3.9600.16384 Windows 8.1 installer

Update: Here are a few tips you can try, if Windows 8.1 isn’t taking your Windows 8 retail key.

Update: I created a video to make a bit easier to understand how the download works.

Update: For those who downloaded Windows 8.1 official ISO and can’t install it with the Windows 8 retail product key. This guide will tell you all the steps to bypass the product key and delay the Windows activation for up to 30 days.

Update: Microsoft is now letting anyone to download the official ISO file for Windows 8.1 or to create an USB flash drive, and you don’t need a product key. Though, you’ll need a product key to do a clean install, but not when doing an upgrade.

Mauro is a technology writer at and He’s been recognized as a Microsoft MVP, he’s also a technology enthusiast and enjoys writing content about Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other interesting technologies. Got a hat tip? Send him an email with your rants, rumors, tips and tattles.

Email @Pureinfotech
  • Bully

    Tried and worked successfully. Thank you.

    • Mauro

      Good! Glad it worked. Thank you,

  • Synomenon

    The Windows 8 installer won’t take my OEM key. Gives me a message about the key not working for retail versions of Windows 8.

  • Subramanyam Pendyala

    Tried and worked successfully. Thank you.

  • Andrei

    … yeah but it won’t let you install it using the iso with the win 8 key :(

  • Simon Tony Haslwanter

    Thanks man, I tried this but when I’ve entered the key, the tool always says, we can’t connect at the moment, any suggestions :S!?

    • Mauro

      Hello Simon,
      I can only say try again later. I might have to do with region your in :(


      • Simon Tony Haslwanter

        Okay thanks, by the way I have tried with United States and Austria (My home town) in Region Settings and both didn’t work :/

  • Paul

    No work man, I typed my Windows 8 product key but it says that I have no internet connection even if I really have and the connection is really fast

    • Mauro

      I just tried it again and it is working. May is your region.


    • Mauro

      Which country are you trying to download from?

      • Paul


  • Paul

    With this method, everyone can now upload Windows 8.1 iso files over the internet, finally.

  • Jeff Sawdy

    Great to have the ISO, but I assume the issue with this is that you still can’t do a clean install? Has anyone tried it yet? I’m thinking you will need a 8.1 product key to perform the install and that my 8.0 key will not work for install or activation?

  • ms sucks

    The iso created by this method is corrupted, I downloaded it twice and had an installation error both times. The solution: download with torrent…[sigh].

  • chaitanya shah

    it says not available in your country can i downlaod

    • Mauro

      Hello chaitanya shah,
      This may or may not work, it’s not supported by Microsoft. Just wondering from which country are your trying to download?


  • Orlando Borges Jr.

    I did it but still got the “Insert Media” problem.
    However, I did it on another machine, but using the key from the destined one. :-/

  • Alan McBee

    This may have stopped working. I just tried it, and when I got to the Install Windows 8.1 step, instead of automatically picking up at 0% and re-downloading, it prompted me for a product key for Windows 8.1. My Windows 8.0 product key, which worked for the Windows 8.0 download, was rejected as invalid for the Windows 8.1 download. So I think this hack is dead.

    • Mauro

      Well, it could be that Microsoft patched the whole as it’s not a supported method. If I was you, I would try in a different machine and see if I get the same result, before jumping to conclusions.


      • Kevin Crotwell

        Actually, Alan is right. I’m trying to do the same thing, but Windows 8.1 rejects my product key whereas the Windows 8 one doesn’t. As of right now I’m trying to refresh my PC from Windows 8.1 and I’m getting the missing media error.

  • William Marsh

    Yup, no longer works.

  • usedbooks123

    Thank god . I have got a key for windows 8 from a website ^^^ Windows 8.1 key sale ^^^ on bing, and can last long time.The product key is perfect.

  • Jane Mary

    Activated so easy, thank you! I think someone may need it , only search for it from bing &&& windows8.1key sale^^^.

  • Jane Mary

    Hey guys ,are you still messing with the complex installation ,the fucking waste time, try to get one activate key on (dot)windows 8.1 key sale (dot)com,convenient and effective.

  • disqus_sw6jKp7OMu

    Yup this no longer works, but MS now seems to provide a way for anyone to download the ISO without having to provide a valid product key.
    Just run the ‘create media’ tool then follow the instructions to download the appropriate ISO file.