How to download Windows 10 ISO files

Want to stash an ISO of Windows 10 on a thumb drive or your regular hard drive? Here's how.

windows 10

It’s Windows 10 upgrade day, and right on time Microsoft has made the ISO files available for download for the new operating system.

Instead of posting a confusing list of ISOs, however, Microsoft lets you grab them via its media creation tool. This utility has all kinds of treats in it, including the ability to skip the waiting line and do an in-place upgrade to Windows 10 right now, as we’ve already detailed.

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A Windows 10 ISO download in progress.

Using the media creation tool is pretty simple. You just download a small EXE file, run it, and the wizard guides you through the process.

To make an ISO file for Windows 10, select Create installation media for another PC on the first screen of the media creation wizard and click Next. Then choose the language, Windows version, and whether you want 32- or 64-bit architecture, or both. Once that’s done click Next and on the next screen select the ISO file radio button and click Next yet again.

Finally, save the ISO in whatever location you want and the wizard downloads the file for you.

Check out all of PCWorld's Windows 10 coverage

Why this matters: Some users prefer to download an ISO instead of doing an in-place upgrade or creating a single installation USB disc, as the media creation tool also lets you do. Stashing an ISO lets you do all kinds of things such as create multiple copies of a Windows 10 installation disc or run Windows 10 in a virtual machine. Keep in mind you’ll still need a valid activation key for every PC or VM you install the OS on, however.

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