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How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Without Using the Windows Store

If you’ve been updating your Windows 8 devices this week to Windows 8.1, you may have noticed that using the Windows Store is Microsoft’s preferred method. But as I’ve discovered, the Windows Store doesn’t provide a reliable experience, and can be frustrating if you need to upgrade multiple devices. In this Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to download the Windows 8.1 ISO with a Windows 8 product key so that you can bypass the Windows Store.

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Get the Windows 8.1 ISO

Follow the instructions below carefully to download the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO with a Windows 8 product key.

Microsoft will allow you to download the 32-bit version if you click the link from an OS running 32-bit Windows, and similarly the 64-bit ISO if the OS is 64-bit Windows.

Upgrade to Windows 8.1 without using the Windows Store

  • Scroll down the web page to the section When you’re ready, tap or click Install Windows 8.1 or Install Windows 8.
  • Click Install Windows 8.
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Even though we want the bits for Windows 8.1, we need to start setup for Windows 8 first to provide a valid product key.

  • Click Run at the bottom of Internet Explorer.
  • In the setup dialog, enter your Windows 8 product key.
  • Follow the wizard through the next step until Windows 8 starts downloading.
  • When the download starts – and only at this point – close setup.
  • Now go back to the Upgrade Windows with only a product key web page.
  • Click Install Windows 8.1 and run setup. This time, you won’t be prompted for a product key and you can download the Windows 8.1 ISO.

Upgrade to Windows 8.1 without Windows Store: Downloading the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO

Once the download is complete, you will be given the option to create a bootable USB drive or save the ISO file to disk.

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  • johnwerneken

    Very nice. Thank you so much.
    This works precisely as described.

  • Jarno Vilen

    Well, it works partially, you CAN make a installation media for 8.1 Pro but it has no use; You CANNOT install it. It Still requires product key for 8.1 Pro. Windows 8 Pro product key WILL NOT WORK, so you cannot install it any other way than from store…

  • Russell Smith

    You can force the initial product key check to be skipped, and after Windows 8.1 is loaded a Windows 8 key should be accepted. I’ll outline this process in a forthcoming Ask the Admin.

  • http://jdeveland.com/ JD Eveland

    I encountered the widely reported block to upgrading my laptop, where the Windows Store simply wouldn’t open to download the upgrade. But for some totally incomprehensible reason, when I created an additional new user account under another name and email, the Store opened up fine and I was able to complete the upgrade. If you are encountering problems, try this possible solution.

  • Jarno Vilen

    Yes I can load the iso or create bootable USB drive. But the 8 key is not accepted when trying to install from either media.

  • Russell Smith

    The media, bootable USB drive or ISO, needs to be modified to skip the initial product key check. Then during the OOBE stage, you can enter your Windows 8 product key and it will be accepted. When the article outlining this process has been posted on Petri, I will add the link to this thread.

  • Rrrr

    Get the temp windows 8.1 key from here:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867.aspx

    KMS Client Setup Key Windows 8.1 Professional
    GCRJD-8NW9H-F2CDX-CCM8D-9D6T9

    Then after you correctly install windows 8.1 change the key to your own key with these settings:

    Right-Click the Start button and start the Command Prompt – Admin.
    Type the following:
    slmgr /ipk YOUR-WIN8KEY-WITH-DASHES-HERE
    slmgr /rearm
    reboot you computer and it should be activated.

    Go to Windows Information and see that your windows version is activated

  • neddim

    Can I do like Rrrr wrote? Use different key to install (GCRJD….) and after installation change to your key?

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  • Russell Smith

    neddim, I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know. But I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work. If you are installing more than one copy of Windows 8.1, the method explained here will be faster: http://www.petri.com/install-windows-8-1-rtm-using-windows-8-product-key.htm

  • neddim

    Great. I have done in Rrrr way and it works. After installation I just changed product key (in standard way, not using Command Prompt) and it works :)

    Do you have any tutorial how to use windows 8.1 backup? I don’t see any option where I can chose “restore files from file history”.
    Also system image backup is very slow and it’s not for every day backup :/

  • neddim

    “Restore fies from file history” – I mean there is no option if I reinstall my os.

  • Russell Smith

    There is an article here: http://www.petri.com/enable-restore-file-history-windows-8.htm Try turning on File History on the new machine, and point it to the location of the old backup.

  • indigitale

    Thanks! This solution is valid also for surface pro?

  • Russell Smith

    I haven’t tried this on a tablet, but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work.

  • Russell Smith

    I haven’t tried this on a tablet, but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work.

  • indigitale

    Ok, i’ve tried the solution and don’t work with Windows 8 Pro OEM of Surface…(the ISO does not work with an OEM key)

  • Russell Smith
  • http://verwijs.wordpress.com/ André Verwijs

    doesn’t work …. CRAP!!!!!!!!!

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  • Dhaval Sharma

    Does Not work..!!!

  • Russell Smith

    At the time of writing, the instructions for downloading the Windows 8.1 bits in this article worked as described. Further instructions are required to install or upgrade Windows. Please see the comments section.

  • Bob Heathcote

    Thanks – worked perfecty

  • Bob Heathcote

    Oh bollocks. The key I used to download the iso now says it will not work with the 8.1 ISO I downloaded. What to do?

  • Hazael

    Eres genial, funciona tal y como dijiste.
    Muchas Gracias.

  • Guest

    I keep getting this error message when I enter my windows 8 product key. (I have erased the product key itself in paint for obvious reasons) Could someone please help me to solve this problem and install 8.1? Thanks :)

  • Guest

    I keep getting this error message when I enter my windows 8 product key. (I have erased the product key itself in paint for obvious reasons) Could someone please help me to solve this problem and install 8.1? Thanks :)

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