Hey Microsoft – How about providing a downloadable Win 8 to Win 8.1 upgrade ISO


Microsoft-logoThere are quite a few perennial Microsoft bashers out there, I do not number among them. While I might not always be happy with the way Microsoft goes about things, or some of its policies, I do recognize the massive and important contribution MS has made toward the advancement of PCs. Although I am not generally a Microsoft basher I will still take the Redmond giant to task if or when I believe they have not done the right thing… such as in the case of Windows 8.1 upgrade options.

Microsoft’s decision not to provide a Windows 8 to 8.1 downloadable upgrade ISO is not only puzzling, it is thoughtless in the extreme, displaying just the sort of uncaring decision making which is bound to get people offside. For users who have multiple machines running Windows 8, such as myself, the lack of a downloadable ISO means the 8.1 upgrade needs to be downloaded via the Store separately on each machine…. a major inconvenience.

Each Windows 8.1 upgrade requires a download of around 3.6GB. Multiply that by the number of machines running Windows 8 and you have a quite substantial total – in my case, running 3 Windows 8 machines, it equates to more than 10GB. Factor in a slowish internet connection plus restrictive download limit and you have a seriously exasperating situation. The availability of a downloadable ISO would mean that users such as myself would only need to download Windows 8.1 upgrade once… a major saving on time, plus substantially diminishing the impact on download limits.

Can Win 8 users upgrade to Win 8.1 without going through the Store?

windows-8-logoShort answer, NO… at least not in a conventional manner.

Microsoft has provided a method to download a Windows 8.1 upgrade ISO but it requires a genuine Windows 8.1 product key. There is little trick which has been widely publicized that allows users to download the Windows 8.1 upgrade ISO using a Windows 8 product key. However, it is my understanding that you still cannot actually use this ISO to upgrade to Windows 8.1 without a genuine Windows 8.1 product key.

I’ve read through workarounds for this issue too, including utilizing dummy keys and adding script to the installation files. However, it appears these methods can be hit and miss, and are often accompanied by their own particular side issues, especially if the user is uncertain of what he or she is doing.


Regardless of whether these tricks/workarounds prove to be successful or not, that’s not really the point is it. Bottom line; Microsoft has let users running multiple Windows 8 machines down very badly. We shouldn’t be forced to download the upgrade on each machine individually, it’s just a ridiculous situation. Neither should anyone be forced into hunting around for 3rd party workarounds and tricks to try and overcome something which should have been an integral part of the official upgrade system in the first place. Shame on you Microsoft!!

The following comment, borrowed from a disgruntled user’s post, pretty much sums up my own feelings on the matter:

THIS IS BULLXXXX! These messy tricks are the kind of stuff one would expect to have to do with pirated software, NOT with legitimately purchased software straight from the source!

In my case, I finally got the Windows 8.1 ISO, but I still can’t install it with my original Windows 8 key, so I’ll still have to search for extra tricks and recipes just to install an upgrade. Isn’t it great?

Here, here!

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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