Tip: Download Windows 7 and 8.1 ISOs

Posted on December 4, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Windows, Windows 10, Windows 8.1 with 56 Comments

I’m not sure when this happened, but Microsoft now has ISO downloads available for Windows 7 and 8.1, and not just Windows 10.

This was a problem in the past: After I publicized the old method for downloading Windows 7 and 8.1 ISOs via Digital River, Microsoft removed them for some reason. And since then, it has only offered Windows 10 ISOs—and then only for the very latest Windows 10 version—from its download website.

Well, that’s changed. You can now download ISO files for Microsoft’s other supported Windows versions from the Microsoft Software Download site too. Here are the links:

You must first enter a valid 25-digit product key before you can get a Windows 7 or 8.1 product key. That seems fair to me.

(If you’re not familiar, a Windows ISO is a file-based version of a Windows Setup disk. You can copy one to USB or DVD disc to install Windows that way. Or just mount the ISO (in Windows 8 or newer) to use it like a virtual disk.)

Anyway, thanks to Rafael Rivera for pointing out these downloads.


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Comments (56)

56 responses to “Tip: Download Windows 7 and 8.1 ISOs”

  1. MikeFromMarkham

    While I'm pleased Microsoft has made these available again, the cynic in me can't help but wonder how much extra tracking and telemetry crap has been added that wasn't in the original ISOs.

    • troy

      In reply to MikeFromMarkham:

      lol the ISOs haven't been updated. You can take your conspiracy hat off.

    • locust infested orchard inc

      In reply to MikeFromMarkham:

      When Microsoft open-sourced the underlying code to MS-DOS v1.25 and v2 in late September 2018 to GitHub, initially showcased in the Computer History Museum in March 2014 under a more restrictive open-source license, Microsoft quietly injected the code for telemetry. Gulp !!!!

      Gosh, you must be correct, and Adoogle Chrime (pronounced as crime) data-harvesting is totally innocuous in comparison.

      It must be fun to wear an asshat in public.

  2. Kevin Costa

    Good tip!

    It has been available for a while. The HeiDoc program is the best way to download the ISOs (doesn't require a 7 key to download), and the Media Creation Tool for Windows 8.1 still exists.

    The only disadvantage is that the 8.1 and 10 ISOs downloaded through HeiDoc uses the WIM compression on the image. Media Creation Tool uses ESD compression, which is better to save space, a smaller ISO.

  3. sony06

    What does ISO mean?

  4. samtheham

    This page works about as well as it did the last time I tried: it will allow me to download Windows 7 in any language I want, as long as I want French or Korean! Trying to use the worthless MS Virtual Agent simply adds to the frustration, and working with actual MS Tech Support is even worse. The last time I tried that I found that MS does not exactly have their best and brightest people supporting Windows 7. I was having trouble with Windows Update and they kept trying to install updates for Embedded Windows, which didn't work very well on my desktop Windows 7 (non-embedded). Not only could they not even address my problem coherently, they screwed my Windows up so bad that event logging is still broken. No more Task Scheduler history for me!

  5. microsoftinsider

    They have always been available since release, just not from microsoft. I download mines from getintopc, I don't like Microsoft Downloader they make me put a key and tells me there is an error, I had Windows 7 Ultimate I can't download here, that's why I use GetIntoPC.

  6. dontbe evil

    "I’m not sure when this happened, but Microsoft now has ISO downloads available for Windows 7 and 8.1, and not just Windows 10."

    that's because you're too focused on your beloved apple and google news

  7. Ronald Spencer

    Paul...unless I'm mixed up, The Internet Archive shows that they existed since August 5, 2015:



  8. LusoPT

    How exactly can you download Windows 10 ISOs? They force me to use the Media Creation Tool...

    • EZAB

      In reply to LusoPT:

      The Media Creation allows to update your computer now or you can create media for another PC, ISO or install on a USB drive or burn to a DVD disc! I just did this with 1809. (Burned to a disc). You need this to do a clean install!

  9. dallasnorth40

    Why in the world would I want to do this.

  10. compunut

    Requiring a product key sounds great until you find out that you can't use any old activation key. If a computer came with Windows, that activation key won't work, the site tells you to get the crapified version from the OEM instead. If you give it a volume license key, it won't let you download the ISO, you have to go to another site to get it. I have never successfully gotten an ISO from here, sadly. I ended up digging through old ISOs at home and found one from ActionPack that I use for production builds since they won't let me download one. Seriously... WHY Microsoft, WHY?

  11. truerock2

    Yes, I downloaded the ISOs about 7 years ago. I won't be doing that again.

  12. macguy918

    I followed this link and it verified my product key and said it was a good key and then gave me an option to download either the French or Korean versions only! Googled this and there are lots of complaints about it but no solutions that appear legit.

  13. jmwoods301

    Another alternative is the Windows ISO Downloader tool on Heidoc.com


    Save your product key and activation using Advanced Tokens Manager v3.5 RC 5, and then use the restore feature to recover your activation after installing the ISO.


  14. Sir_Timbit

    Not sure how common it is for people to still burn ISOs onto DVD, but I noticed the most recent Windows 10 ISOs from Microsoft are now too big to fit onto one.... Not likely an issue for Win7 or 8 though.

  15. waethorn

    These have been there for a long time! The Windows 8 ISO can be obtained by NOT being on the site on a Windows machine, or else you can just use the URL handler to bypass the check, otherwise you get the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool instead, same as Windows 10.

    • troy

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Yep, entering your retail key to get Windows 7 ISOs via this website has been available for many months. Maybe even a year+ ? Same goes for the Win 8.1 ones, via creation tool.

  16. sfagundes76

    Doesn't work for OEM keys. Lame.

  17. NazmusLabs

    These have been here for years. Nothing new.

  18. euskalzabe

    For some reason, my win7 license only lets me download it in French or Korean, nevermind it was always an English version. Oh well, at least I'll have the French version and make do if I need it in the future.

  19. Winner

    Outstanding! Now if they just deprecate Win 10 and let us choose from those two, life would be good again.

    • dontbe evil

      In reply to Winner:

      you can still choose whatever you want, no need to deprecate a modern OS used on 700 million devices

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Winner:

      Hey, if you want to use an unsupported OS you can use whatever you like. I suspect you can find a nice copy of CP/M-86 around somewhere if you like not having to learn new things.

      • NT6.1

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Don't be a drama queen. Windows 7 was released in 2009. It is a modern 64 bit OS.

        • Winner

          In reply to NT6.1:

          ...and it is also still supported.

          • MikeGalos

            In reply to Winner:

            It's still in extended support but not in full support. And nobody's saying not to use it until January 2020 when it becomes unsupported, stops getting security patches and becomes a hazard for everyone on a network with you.

            What I replied to was wanting to kill new versions and go back to the old versions.

            • Winner

              In reply to MikeGalos:

              The latest "feature updates" including dark mode and crashes and data deletion and inking are not exactly fabulous things that are improving Windows 10.

              It would have been far better to extend 7 or even 8.1 with some decency. Win 10 was a grab for alternative revenue. Fact is Microsoft can't mine their Office and Windows cash cows forever, they need to truly put out new products in new areas to add revenue. Clearly they are doing fine in the Business space. In the consumer OS space they are just trying to foist ways to get consumers into cloud services, through their OS.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        My Win 7 got an update last month and the month before, as well as nearly each month before that. That doesn’t sound obsolete.

        I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  20. jpr75

    I agree - why would anyone want to do this? Can you also download DOS 3.x and Netware?