Windows downloads for all operating systems

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 18, 2014
Updated • Aug 15, 2019

Most Windows PCs ship without installation disc or any other form of physical product that you can use to re-install the system. While you do get options to create recovery discs, it is not the same thing.

The same is true when you purchase upgrades online from Microsoft. You don't get a disc anymore unless you purchase it directly, and even if you do, you will notice that some versions of the operating system are not available as physical media.

It is unclear why Microsoft made it difficult in the past to download installation media directly from the company.

This guide offers direct links to programs or disc images that you can download legally to your system. You still need a valid Windows product key to use them though.

They can be useful to many Windows users. Those who want to transfer the operating system to a new PC or new hard drive, and those who want a backup in place to make sure they can reinstall the system when it stops working.

Note: All downloads below are from official sources only. It is not recommended to download Windows from unofficial sources. You can use the tools described below to burn or copy the installation files to disc or USB, or use a third-party disc burning program like ImgBurn or the operating system's burning option if supported to burn it directly to DVD.

You do need a valid product key for the operating system and version that you plan to install. Most can be used a certain amount of time, 30 days usually, without registration.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista is not provided as an ISO image but as three files, one exe file and two wim files.

You can run those on a system to upgrade to Windows Vista, or use third-party software like A Bootable USB from Ask VG to create an ISO image that you can burn to disc.

Microsoft Windows Vista with SP1 32-bit:

  • No longer available

Microsoft Windows Vista with SP2 64-bit:

  • No longer available

Windows 7

windows 7 usb dvd download tool

The Windows 7 files are provided as ISO images right away which you can burn to disc or copy to a USB drive. They are provided by Digital River, the company that hosts downloads for Microsoft officially. If you purchase a copy of Windows 7 from Microsoft Store, it is also downloaded from Digital River.

Microsoft's Windows USB/DVD Download Tool can be used to copy the installation files to USB if you want to install using a USB device. The name feels strange as you don't download Windows using the tool but use a local ISO image instead to burn it to DVD or copy to USB.

  • Direct downloads are no longer available. You can download a Windows 7 ISO directly from Microsoft on this page.

Windows 8.1

windows installation media

The best option to create installation media for Windows 8.1 is to download Microsoft's create media tool. It is a small program that you run on your system to create the necessary files to install Windows 8.1 on a PC.

All you need to do is select the desired language, edition of Windows 8.1 and architecture and you are good to go. You can select directly if you want to copy the files to a USB flash drive or create a ISO file instead.

Windows 10

Windows 10 is only available as a technical preview at the time of writing. It can be downloaded from Microsoft directly as an ISO file that you can burn to DVD or copy to USB devices.

The excepted release date of the operating system is Fall 2015.

System Requirements

Minimum system requirements have not changed by a lot as you can see below.

Vista Windows 7 Windows 8.1 Windows 10
Processor 1 GHz or faster 1 GHz or faster 1 GHz or faster 1 GHz or faster
RAM 1GB 1GB (32-bit), 2GB (64-bit) 1GB (32-bit), 2GB (64-bit) 1GB (32-bit), 2GB (64-bit)
Hard Disk Space 15GB 16GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) 16GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) 16GB
Video Card DirectX9 DirectX9 DirectX9 DirectX9
Other Home Basic has lower requirements Currently only available as a preview

You find links to all system requirement pages below:

Have something to add? Downloads not working? Let us know in the comments.

Windows downloads for all operating systems
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Windows downloads for all operating systems
A list of official direct download links for all versions of Windows that Microsoft supports currently.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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