How to download the official Microsoft Windows 8.1 ISO
Windows 8 users who want to upgrade to Windows 8.1 without having to go through the Windows Store can use this trick to download the ISO with the Windows 8 product key.
Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.
Upgrading your Windows 8 system to Windows 8.1 is simple enough through the Microsoft Store, but if you need to reinstall it or run the update on more than one PC, it can be inconvenient and time-consuming since Microsoft doesn't give you the option to save the update files.
There's a trick, however, that allows you to download the official Windows 8.1 ISO from Microsoft's servers with your Windows 8 product key. With the Windows 8.1 ISO, you can create DVD or USB media to update a Windows 8 PC to Windows 8.1. Unfortunately, as Paul Thurrott over at WinSupersite mentions, you can't use the ISO to perform a clean install of Windows 8.1 with a Windows 8 product key. The ISO is still worth having, though, just to be able to bypass the Microsoft Store when upgrading to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8. Here's how to download the official Windows 8.1 ISO:
Step 5: Launch the setup file (WindowsSetupBox.exe), which will begin downloading the Windows 8.1 ISO.
Step 6: Once the ISO finishes downloading, the installer will take several minutes to check the download and uncompress the install files. When you're prompted to choose an installation option, pick "Install by creating media."
Step 7: Decide whether you want the installer to create USB flash drive media, or save the ISO file.
If you choose ISO, the ISO file (Windows.iso) will be saved to your PC and you'll be given the option to burn it to DVD. Once completed, you can actually go back and create the USB flash drive media as well. Just click on the "Install Windows" link on your Windows desktop. You'll be prompted to choose your installation option again. Pick "Install by creating media" again, insert a 4GB or larger USB flash drive, then choose the USB flash drive option. If you have any problems creating the USB flash media, you can still use the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool to create USB media with the Windows 8.1 ISO.