Microsoft isn’t exactly renowned for considerate decision making. Most notable of late to lose brownie points with users was the thoughtless decision not to provide any official Windows 8.1 installation media – except of course for for those who purchased a boxed DVD. Those of us who upgraded from Windows 8 to 8.1, were left with no installation media and no official ISO available to download.
Fortunately, it seems that under Satya Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft has started listening to its users and is slowly but surely adopting a more conciliatory approach. In a further step in the right direction, Microsoft has now, if somewhat belatedly, released a new free tool to create installation media for Windows 8.1
Windows Installation Media Creation Tool
The tool consists of a single 1.3MB executable – no installation required, simply double click the downloaded executable to run. The initial screen simply requires that you input several parameters via the associated drop down menus – be sure to select the correct Windows 8.1 edition and architecture (32 or 64-bit):
Click Next and you’ll then be provided with options to either create bootable USB media or an ISO saved to whatever location you designate – either way, an active internet connection is required:
- To create USB bootable media – a USB flash drive of at least 4GB capacity must be connected.
- To create DVD installation media – the saved ISO will then need to be burned to DVD.
Select your preferred media option and click Next, all necessary files will then be downloaded from the internet with the interface displaying download progress plus estimated time to completion. Times to completion may vary, depending on individual connection speeds. With my moderate connection speed, download took around 25 minutes to complete – the entire process taking around 30 minutes from start to finish.
If you chose to create an ISO, you will be then presented with an option to burn the image to DVD. If you’d prefer to do that later, simply click the Finish button:
At this stage, I’m not sure of exact licensing/activation requirements – on its Installation Media Creation Tool product page, Microsoft simply says the following:
If you’re running Windows 7, you’ll need to enter a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 product key. You’ll also need a product key if you’re running Windows 8 and trying to install Windows 8.1 Pro.
In the absence of information to the contrary, I’m assuming that means installing Window 8.1 over an identical existing Windows 8 or 8.1 installation does not require entering a product key.
- Read more information regarding Windows Installation Media Creation tool, instructions, and download here: Create installation media for Windows 8.1