You may have a Windows 8 DVD at hand depending on how you have installed the operating system or upgraded an older system to the newer version.
If you have not, you may run into issues in the future when you need to re-install the operating system again on the same or another computer system. While it is recommended to create a system repair disc, the disc can only help you recover the operating system under certain circumstances. Sometimes, a new installation is the only viable course of action. This is for instance the case if you decide to build your own PC and want to move all your data from the old one to it.
The obvious problem here is that you can't install the operating system anew if you do not have the Windows 8 DVD, and since Microsoft is not making available a download copy of it for customers (unless you are a subscriber to Technet, MSDN or similar services) you may end up in a situation where you need to make another purchase, or get your hands on a Windows 8 ISO image in other ways.
There is a semi-official way to download a Windows 8 ISO image from Microsoft. Note that you can only use this method if you are running a version of Windows that you can upgrade to Windows 8 (basically Windows XP SP3 to Windows Release Preview, but not Windows 8 final).
No product key? Use generic ones
If you do not have your Windows 8 product key at hand either use a program like Nirsoft's ProduKey to display it on your Windows 8 installation, or use the generic key XKY4K-2NRWR-8F6P2-448RF-CRYQH for Windows 8.0 Professional or FB4WR-32NVD-4RW79-XQFWH-CYQG3for Windows 8.0 Home instead.
Windows 8.1 product keys are different. Use 334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT if you are running Windows 8.1 Home, or XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB for Windows 8.1 Professional.
Note that the generic key will only work here, but that it won't activate the operating system. You need your own product key for that. If you do not have that key, contact the manufacturer of your PC for assistance, or use Microsoft Support for that instead.
The program verifies the product key on the fly, and you get to a page where you have the choice to install Windows 8 right away, or create a installation disc.
You can use the program to download and create a new Windows 8 installation disc to upgrade an older version of Windows or do a clean installation instead.
You may ask yourself why Microsoft is not offering Windows 8 downloads on its download center or the Windows website. I do not have an answer for that unfortunately, but if I had to guess, it probably had something to do with control. While that is an illusion considering that every P2P indexing site lists Windows 8 iso images for download, it is still the best explanation I have for that.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.