Up until now it was quite difficult to get your hands on a proper installation disc or USB flash drive to install Windows 8.1 on a PC.
While you can buy a Windows 8.1 DVD, you don't get media if you upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 for example. If you then decide to format the system and start anew or move everything to a new PC, you may have noticed that you need to install Windows 8 first to update it to Windows 8.1.
Downloading media can also be useful if you cannot install Windows 8.1 from Windows Store for whatever reason or don't want to perform that operation for multiple systems that you want to update.
Workarounds have been available for some time to create Windows 8.1 installation media to avoid going through this lengthy installation process but they too required you to go through a lengthy process.
Microsoft is now making available a Media Creation Tool which you can use to create Windows 8.1 installation media right away.
After you have downloaded the program from the official website and started it, you are asked to select the language, edition and architecture.
All languages seem to be supported. As far as editions are concerned, you get Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro, the N versions of both operating systems, and a single language Windows 8.1 version.
N editions of Windows 8.1 don't include any media related technologies such as windows Media Player or Skype.
A click on next displays the available save options. You can save the installation files to a USB drive right away provided that it offers at least 4 Gigabyte of space or create an ISO file instead which you need to burn to DVD then.
You are then asked to select the USB Flash Drive you want to copy the Windows 8.1 installations files to or a save location for the ISO file.
The program displays the download progress in its interface then and estimates the remaining time until the operation completes.
The USB Flash Drive can be used right away while it is necessary to burn the ISO image to a DVD first.
It took a while for Microsoft to provide Windows customers with an option to download a Windows 8.1 ISO image from an official source.
The release of the Media Creation Tool provides all users with the option to create ISO images of Windows 8.1 or copy the installation files to a Flash Drive instead.
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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.