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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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...
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