How to Download Windows 8.1 RTM Standalone Offline ISO for Clean Installation?

Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 8.1 final version has been released and available for public download. Windows 8 users can upgrade their operating system to the latest Windows 8.1 absolutely free. Other Windows version users such as Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 will need to purchase Windows 8.1 from Microsoft Store or retail market.

[Guide] How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8, Windows 7, XP and Vista?

If you purchase Windows 8.1, you get a standalone ISO setup file of Windows 8.1 which can be used to perform a clean installation of Windows in any computer. You can consider it as an offline installer of Windows 8.1 as you'll not need an Internet connection to download Windows 8.1 setup files.

But if you are planning to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, you'll need to download Windows 8.1 setup files through Windows Store. The download file size of Windows 8.1 is approx. 3GB+ and if you are planning to upgrade more than one Windows 8 computer to Windows 8.1, you'll need to download this 3GB+ Windows 8.1 setup file in each and every computer which is actually impractical and quite annoying.

Although Microsoft announced in past that they'll provide standalone offline ISO files of Windows 8.1 to Windows 8 users so that they can perform a clean installation of Windows 8.1 as mentioned here but it seems Microsoft has changed its decision. They have no plans to release Windows 8.1 ISO files to Windows 8 users.

So the question comes what to do now? How to download Windows 8.1 offline ISO files? Here is the answer:

UPDATE: Official Tool to Download Windows 8.1 Setup ISO and Create Installation Media

Although Microsoft is not providing Windows 8.1 ISO files to Windows 8 users but following methods will help you in getting the ISO files easily:

METHOD 1: From MSDN or TechNet Subscriptions

Windows 8.1 ISO files are available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. If you are a subscriber, you can download the ISO files from your subscription download page.

[MSDN and TechNet Update] Windows 8.1 RTM Available for Download

That's what Microsoft suggests to all Windows 8 users.

METHOD 2: Grab Windows 8.1 Setup Files from Hidden Folder

Similar to Windows 8 download, when Windows 8.1 files are downloaded through Windows Store, these files are temporary stored in following folder:


You can access this folder by typing appdata in RUN dialog box and press Enter. Then go to "\Local\Microsoft\WebSetup" folder.

For some people the downloaded files may store in C:\$Windows.~BT\ folder.

First the setup files are downloaded in encrypted form and once the download finishes, the actual Windows 8.1 setup files are extracted in following folder:


If you can't find the setup files in above mentioned folder, check out following folder and it should contain the files (Thanks to rkkdjb):


What you can do is that first download Windows 8.1 setup files in a computer and then you can copy the above mentioned folder from that computer to a DVD or USB drive and then you can install Windows 8.1 in other computers using the same DVD or USB drive. You just need to run the setup.exe file present inside the above mentioned folder and it'll start the installation process.

If you want, you can create a bootable USB drive of Windows 8.1 using the above mentioned folder with the help of following utilities:

Ultimate Collection of Best Freeware to Create Bootable USB Drive to Install Windows

METHOD 3: From Microsoft's Official Windows 8.1 Download Page

Microsoft allows you to download an online installer of Windows 8.1 which downloads the whole Windows 8.1 setup on your computer and then it allows you to create a bootable USB drive or ISO file for later use.


You can download it using following link:

Download Windows 8.1 Offline ISO Installer

Go to the above mentioned link and click on "Install Windows 8.1" button. It'll download the installer and then you are ready to download Windows 8.1 ISO file on your computer.

But you'll need a valid Windows 8.1 product key to be able to download Windows 8.1 ISO file using this online installer. If you try to enter your Windows 8 product key in this installer, it'll give error and will not accept the product key.

Although there is a workaround to download Windows 8.1 ISO using this online installer and Windows 8 product key:

First download Windows 8 installer by clicking on "Install Windows 8" button. Follow the steps and enter your Windows 8 product key. Once the installer starts downloading Windows 8 setup files, close the installer.

Now run Windows 8.1 installer and it'll not ask you to enter any product key. It'll directly start downloading Windows 8.1 setup files. After downloading setup files, the installer will ask you to create a bootable USB drive or ISO file.


Thanks to our reader "Anil" for sharing this workaround...

Also check:

[Fix] Windows 8 Genuine Product Key doesn't Work for Windows 8.1 Clean Installation

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thanks for all your Windows 8.1 guides. Very helpful. :)

  • Just read the same article on ghacks:
    g download-windows-8-1-iso-image/
    and came back to inform u and saw u already updated the page with advanced info.
    Thanx for ur efforts.
    -19th Oct. 2013, 13:16 GMT

  • VG

    ^^ lol. Interesting to see we both posted it on almost same times. It seems the workaround is getting popular. :)

  • Method 2 worked for Windows 8, but my Windows 8.1 files ended up dumped into C:\$Windows.~BT\ and when setup was done, it had deleted the install.esd file

  • @DDT2005
    follow the instructions carefully or go to the link in my above comment and u should be good.
    -19th Oct. 2013, 13:27 GMT

  • Hey VG also like in Method 2 for some people the update or windows 8.1 image may be store in c:\windows:\softwaredistribution\download just like other normal windows update.
    -19th Oct. 2013, 13:29 GMT

  • VG I do not have a ESD folder in C:\ and I have hidden folders viewable. I don't see anything useful in c:\windows:\softwaredistribution\download either.

  • I hope that someone makes an ISO out of the downloaded files and shares it as I cannot download through any method.

  • Thanks. 3rd method worked for me. Now downloading Windows 8.1. :D

  • i used another method to just get the .iso file
    after logging in , and getting the akami netsession client downloader-installer thing from microsoft site
    i used sysinternals process explorer to know the path of it's exe file
    and then , i added that path to IDM Add Browser, and ...... i've just finished downloading it with IDM

  • @Meena Bassem : can u give me the IDM link please.. I'm not able to download the iso file though i have the genuine key.Unable to connect to internet problem..

  • C:\$Windows.~BT\ has data only work 786MB for me, as opposed to the 3.62GB download. Has windows compressed it, like 5 times? Or are any files missing? I need to give it to a friend whose update crashed because he lost his internet connectivity during sign in phase of the update! He factory reset his laptop because half of his drivers were missing. So, can I give him my 786MB folder or should he download it fully again?

  • i managed to get the downloaded copy from store from my other pc

    and when i try to install it ask for a key when i try any key nothing seems to work , any suggestion about this issue ??

    Thanks .

  • hey whenever I launched windows 8 download setup it stucks on "can't connect this moment"
    any suggestion...

  • What’s the difference between MSDN and TechNet?

  • I have followed the method 3 and created a Windows 8.1 ISO image of just 681MB. I am not sure whether I can use this for clean installation. May be the ISO is just for updating from Windows 8.

  • ESD image link for IDM

  • Hello:

    The method 3 + workaround worked flawlessly for me, great trick!!!

    But now, I would like to know how to safely "clean up" things (get rid of the downloaded files created in the process), since I already created my Win 8.1 ISO and saved it to an external drive.

    I have a 3 GB folder at C:\ESD\Windows that contains a setup.exe for "Windows 8.1 Installer". I assume that's where the files were downloaded/extracted. I'm using a small SSD to every GB counts.

    Is it safe to just go there and delete the C:\ESD\Windows folder? Is there any other leftover we should delete?


  • @Fundru the link might have worked for u but its not working here , using windows 7 ultimate 64 bit and IE10, pated the given url in the browser as well as IDM but to no use, maybe it was a particular download link for you and not a generalized or universal one.Also ESD files are hard to customize if yoy plan to do so in the future that's why we should go for install.wim format file
    -28th Oct. 2013, 11:47 GMT

  • @VG
    Can we install pro or core from enterprise version which is available for trial or evaluation on the following site:

    Could u plz list the step or refer the link.
    -4th Jan 2014, 10:16 GMT

  • VG

    ^^ Of course. It'll be similar to Windows 8.1 but you can test it only for a limited period of time.

  • Nice work around. But my question is will it work for genuine upgrade from windows 8 to windows pro 8.1. I have e genuine key for windows 8 pro and have recently been gifted with 8.1 pro serial. I want to know id I can upgrade my Windows 8 to windows 8.1 using this method and activate it with my new Windows pro 8.1 genuine key.

  • Hey VG,
    I really need some help, so any input would be greatly appreciated.
    I had recently ("stupidly') tried to turn my laptop (ASUS S400CA) into a "Hackintosh" and in the process, I had formatted my entire hard drive and so it deleted my recovery partition. I really regret this and want to reinstall Windows 8 (I luckily took a picture of the product key before formatting mt hard drive) but I do not know where to start. I also checked the link for downloading the ISO file of Windows 8 and it states that there needs to be Windows running for me to install Windows 8 using the ISO file. But the problem is, i formatted my hard drive already! Please help. Thank you!
    - David Mai

  • Whoops sorry, i typed my email wrong, should be "" not ""

  • Correction again, sorry. apparently I took picture of the Product ID not the product key :( Oh god, i feel so helpless. i might've just screwed my entire laptop :(

  • VG

    ^^ You can get the product key from the backside of your laptop.

  • anyone successfully doing the 2nd method? please upload these holy file and Inbox me the link *if sharing the link is forbidden here.
    Thanks before

  • Does anyone know if the Method 3 download now includes the Windows 8.1 Update 1 in it or is it still just Windows 8.1?

  • VG

    ^^ According to Microsoft, it'll now install Windows 8.1 with Update 1 but I have not tried it myself.

  • Thanks VG,
    Ill give it a try and post the results if I can work out if Update 1 went into the iso or not.

  • Hi VG,
    I downloaded the entire setup as in Method 3 on a clean computer on 2014-04-11.
    There were no cached files as both %AppData%\Roaming\Microsoft\websetup & C:\ESD did not exist.

    Windows installed correctly as Windows 8.1, not 8.
    However it was missing 39 (~600mb) updates, one of which was KB 2919442, a prerequisite for 8.1 Update 1.
    Once the KB 2919442 update was installed it detected that Windows 8.1 Update 1 was available, about another 800mb.

  • VG

    ^^ Thanks for your input. It'll help other readers. :)

  • This does not work anymore. Following steps exactly, after Windows 8 started downloading and was at 1% I stopped it as suggested. Started Windows 8.1 download and every single time it asks for Windows 8.1 key which I don't have and my Windows 8 key does not work with it.

    What is the workaround there?

  • VG

    ^^ Please check following:

  • @VG yeah the method does not work anymore and the page you linked to doesn't help.

  • Hi, thanks for the post. Please i want to ask if the windows 8.1 used on computers and that used on tablet are the same. Where can i get the variants of the windows 8.1 if they are different. Thanks

  • when I reset my pc it show an error code with blue page "you pc need to be repaired". I also have 15gb reseting media files
    please give me a solution.

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