How to download Windows 10 and create installation media

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 29, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Windows 10 is finally available and while many users have seen their machines get upgraded automatically to the new operating system, some have reported errors and issues that prevented the upgrade from completing successfully.

This ranged from update servers that were unavailable to specific error codes such as C1900200, 80240020 or the unhelpful "something happened" error.

Solutions have already been found for some issues. For error 80240020 for instance, you need to perform the following operation to start anew:

  • Delete all files in the folder C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  • Run the command wuauclt.exe /updatenow on an elevated command prompt (Tap on the Windows-key, type cmd, right-click on the command prompt result and select run as administrator).
  • Check Windows Update again and the download should start anew.

Microsoft has released a tool which you can use to create installation media for Windows 10. The main advantage of it is that you create a Windows 10 setup DVD or USB drive using it which you can use regardless of Internet connectivity. Plus, you can use the media to install Windows 10 on systems with unreliable Internet or issues when using Windows Update to update to the new operating system.

To get started, download the appropriate version of the program from the Microsoft website. Generally speaking, if  you have a 32-bit system, download the 32-bit version of it and if you have a 64-bit operating system, pick the 64-bit one.

Please note that you can use the tool to upgrade the current PC as well. If you want to create installation media, select the second option on the first screen popping up after execution of the program on your system.

download windows 10

A click on next opens the language, architecture and edition page. There you select the desired language of Windows 10, the edition (Home or Pro available, the N versions are without Windows Media Player for the EU), and architecture (32-bit or 64-bit).

windows 10 language edition architecture

Click next again and you are prompted to select the type of media you want to create. You may put Windows 10 on a USB flash drive or create an ISO file which you can later burn to DVD or copy to USB.

windows 10 usb dvd

If you select USB, you are asked to pick an appropriate USB Flash Drive with at least 4 Gigabyte of storage as the data will be copied to it during the process. If you select ISO instead, you are asked to pick a location on the computer the file will be saved to.

downloading windows 10

A progress prompt is displayed afterwards that highlights the overall download progress. This may take a while considering that Windows 10 installation media has a size of several Gigabytes.

Once the download completes, a "creating Windows 10 media" progress bar appears on the screen. This copies the data to the USB drive or creates the ISO image based on your selection.

The ISO image created by the operating had a size of 2,529,984 Kilobyte on completion and a Sha256 value of 10d3a66bdfaf11e3785a45ae09997b134a41b957261a0c9f2f48ed2822ff4b0e (US English, Windows 10 Pro, 64-bit).

Some Notes:

  1. You need an USB Flash Drive with sufficient space or a DVD burner and blank DVD.
  2. Sufficient storage space needs to be available on the computer.
  3. Users who install the operating system anew need a Windows 10 product key.
How to download Windows 10 and create installation media
Article Name
How to download Windows 10 and create installation media
Find out how to download Windows 10 to your computer, and how to create Windows 10 installation media in the process on the PC.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. roger said on August 16, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I used the media creation tool to set-up a clean install on a usb, but when I stop at the boot menu on my ga-ep45-ud3p I get more than one usb drive even though I only have one inserted. I tried selecting the different ones but nothing happens and it boots into windows 10. Does the media creation tool not creating a bootable usb drive? I’m just about to give up and revert back to windows 7.

  2. tom said on August 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Every time I try to download the Media Creation Tool, it says MediaCreationToolx64_exe couldn’t be downloaded. I’ve tried different flash drives and even a different computer. Any Ideas ???

  3. Abhirav said on August 4, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I finally downloaded the entire ISO and extracted it to USB using win 7iso tool.

  4. M said on July 31, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Tried several ways to use the tool, but it just does not work. I am trying for a USB (64GB) to get a 32/64 bit installer. Will not work. Spent at least 7 tries ‘ran as admin etc. Finally got a debug to pop up from VS 2015 most likely:

    An unhandled win32 exception occurred in SetupHost.exe [13940].
    The Just-In-Time debugger was launched without the necessary security permissions. To debug this process, the Just-In-Time debugger must run as an Administrator. Would you like to debug this process?


    process details:
    Process Name: C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\SetupHost.exe
    User Name COMPUTER\NAME [Elevated]

    Guess even ‘run as admin’, logged on as Enterprise admin just does not cut it with this dog.

  5. Silvio said on July 31, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Downloaded the tool, but it not open. Tried to run as administrator but no luck again, I though that the tool was corrupted or something, downloaded it again and it not run.
    Any idea?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 31, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Did you run the right version? There is a 32-bit and 64-bit version.

      1. Silvio said on July 31, 2015 at 9:30 pm

        Yes, it is 64-bit version, the same as my Windows 7.

        Downloaded it again and still not working, I ran MediaCreationToolx64.exe as admin and it don’t even appear.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 31, 2015 at 10:17 pm

        Is it blocked by a program, e.g antivirus? I never heard of this issue before unfortunately.

  6. lucid said on July 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    forgot to mention how… visit the tool page and change the user agent to something aside from windows ; mac os works too
    i used the user agent switcher addon for firefox

  7. Abhirav said on July 31, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Apparently it’s a problem that can’t be solved. Others used the alternative method of creating a bootable media. Seems to be the only way right now.

    1. AndyR said on July 31, 2015 at 9:11 am

      I think it has a lot to do with fluctuations in the Internet connection and the MS downloader not receiving the correct header information back from their servers… hence the inability to support a resume after the program has been closed… That is all just based on a guess though and from what I can see in the logs…. There is actually an “alternative” download of Win10 out there already, supposedly clean and untouched.

      1. lucid said on July 31, 2015 at 2:23 pm

        i found that u can obtain the iso from microsoft itself without using the tool however my DM is going crazy

  8. Abhirav said on July 31, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Wow and now “something happened” with my installation too. After waiting for 1 day. :D :D ;D ;| ;((((((

  9. Abhirav said on July 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I am about 8 hrs in right now using the media creation tool which is downloading at about 50KBPS and 48% of the total is done.
    I wanted to know if that is 48% of total work(download + install) or just download.
    and btw i am from India too with a stereotypical Indian internet connection.

  10. lucid said on July 30, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    how about someone with a good net connection upload it since i m Indian too and face a gr8 amt of fluctuations ….

  11. EV said on July 30, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Will my computer programs from Windows 7 be there after the update, if I use the download tool, or do I have to buy/install new ones?

  12. AndyR said on July 30, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This media creation tool does not appear to have a resume download function so you have to download the whole ISO / Upgrade in one session ? if you close the program it will delete all but the log and xml files, however looking at the log it does have the capability to resume download if the connection is terminated as long as the program is still running…

    The question is when your ISP caps your bandwidth at 600MB a day how are you supposed to download this ?

    1. NickB said on July 30, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Exactly, Microsoft can do better than that. I’m ashamed even more because the tool has crashed on me 2 times now. That 4GB gone out of my 15GB limit :[

      1. AndyR said on July 30, 2015 at 11:54 am

        Well unless they build in a resume option or provide a direct link to the ISO a very high percentage of the Eastern World won’t be using Win10… Speaking to a friend earlier on today who has a business Internet connection in India said that even allowing Windows update to to manage the download and install from the notification area icon it still crashed on him 3 times the solution was to turn off his anti virus software ! Norton.

  13. masroor said on July 30, 2015 at 7:35 am

    after the progress bar comes the creating media after the creating media reaached to 100% the app was saiying that the app couldnt be started please reboot your pc then open the app

  14. tek said on July 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Decided to download the media creation tool again from a different source and this time it appears to be functioning correctly. Downloading the ISO now.

    1. tek said on July 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

      Left the download overnight to be greeted with yet another something happened message. I believe I should have deleted the $WINDOWS.~BT in the root of my drive before attempting this. Will try again tonight if I can be bothered.
      noticed the setuperr.log in the folder and it seems to have stalled at 3.41 am with the following error which I haven’t deciphered yet.

      2015-07-30 03:41:53, Error SP CSetupPlatform::ResurrectNewSystem: Failure: Win32Exception: \\?\C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\NewSystem.dat: The system cannot find the file specified. [0x00000002] __cdecl UnBCL::FileStream::FileStream(const class UnBCL::String *,enum UnBCL::FileMode,enum UnBCL::FileAccess,enum UnBCL::FileShare,unsigned long)[gle=0x00000002]
      2015-07-30 03:42:23, Error SP Failed to flush logs to disk. hr = 0X80070020[gle=0x00000020]

      Any ideas all?

      1. Sybux said on July 31, 2015 at 8:36 am

        I was issuing the same error. Finaly I’ve found a solution for my case. I was trying to update my French Windows Insider with an English ISO.
        I’ve downloaded the release in French and all went fine.
        Hope it’s also your case (mismatched language)
        Good luck

  15. Recardo said on July 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    i am getting this error trying to run the tool , restarting and still happens, can you tell the process this tool is using so i can terminate it manually?

    1. ShangX said on July 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      ..a I have too the same thing. On C: drive It is created a folder $Windows.~WS/Source/BIT6E58.tmp after run this tool. I try delete this file in windows but is protected. I removed via usb live mode. But every time when I run MediaCreatorTool this file is created.
      Any solution for fix this.

  16. Yarro said on July 29, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Martin,
    Just finished the upgrade from Windows 8.1 Pro 64 to Windows 10.
    Went very well with the tool you mentioned.
    First I downloaded the installation files to an iso file and then restarted the tool to upgrade. OK, that means downloading twice, but it took just minutes for the 3GB.
    The whole process reminded me of the 8.0 to 8.1 upgrade.

    Can’t see much difference compared to 8.1. Everything runs fine. It left my Fences 2.0 and Winstep Nexus dock alone. Both work just as before the upgrade.

    One question: What is that what is windows shell experience host that flares up to 33% cpu?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm
      1. Yarro said on July 29, 2015 at 8:52 pm

        Thanks Martin, it does solve the problem.

  17. Tu said on July 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    got one updated but the rest something happened message

  18. tek said on July 29, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Hello Martin,
    I downloaded the media creation tool x64 bit and decided to run it. Well I hit on an error immediately and
    you know in all my years of computing I have never come across a more ridiculously worded error
    the obligatory grey box popped up which simply stated…..wait for it…… “Something happened”.
    A cryptic error message with a code would have been more helpful. However I did laugh. Anyone else experienced this?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      I read about the error but don’t have a solution right now.

  19. piyush said on July 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I have two laptops with windows 7 home and i don’t want to waste my Internet by upgrading using the get windows 10 app twice.Can i download the off line ISO and upgrade using that?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Yes you can use it.

  20. jasray said on July 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm


    “For a clean install, you need a Windows 10 product key. The way to get one via an upgrade is to upgrade your system to Windows 10 first to convert the key, and then install Windows 10 using the media anew.”

    The above response implies a user’s original Product Key for his/her current version of Windows–Windows 7, 8.1–will be converted and used as the Product Key for Windows 10. It sounds like the user will be out a Product Key if he/she decides to complete a fresh install rather than a rollback from Windows 10.

    1. User upgrades from Windows8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Pro.
    2. Product Key for Windows 8.1 Pro is converted to a Windows 10 Product Key.
    3. User decides to return to Windows 8.1 Pro, but no longer has the original Product Key/Activation.
    4. User decides a rollback is the only option.
    5. The rollback option uses the same “converted” Product Key for Windows 10.
    6. The user no longer has a Product Key for the original Windows 8.1 and is stuck with Windows 10 and/or the rollback.

    In short, am I thinking correctly: a user may have only one Product Key; a user may not have a Windows 8.1 Product Key [unless saved via various methods] and a Windows 10 Product Key, which is simply a Product Key converted from the previous installation.

    1. Haakon said on July 29, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      “The user no longer has a Product Key for the original Windows 8.1…”
      Only if the user lost the packaging with the CoA or scraped the CoA sticker off his/her device.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      I don’t know Jasray, this is some mess right now and Microsoft, as usually, is not helpful at all in clearing it up.

  21. Bill said on July 29, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    If you select iso can you use the iso to then create a USB install?

  22. George P. Burdell said on July 29, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Martin, you are doing a fine job clearing a path through the weeds for those who would follow you. Thank you.

    Microsoft continues to confuse their customers. They rely on the work of unsupervised dyslexics. When I glanced at the “language, architecture and edition” page you show in your post above, I was immediately struck by the fact that while the heading said “language, architecture and edition” – – – the three input boxes are in the order “Language, Edition, Architecture”.

    Not only has the order changed, but so has the capitalization. It’s sad that nobody at Microsoft cares to check their work. They put out this sort of mixed-up result which is sure to confuse thousands of people. Why not make things simple for the user? This “let’s build a puzzle” approach to the User Interface forces customers of ordinary intellect to overtax their brains for no good reason. It creates frustration instead of love for Microsoft. They can’t keep trouble from coming, but they don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.

    “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius

  23. an said on July 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    let it be noted, you can upgrade from a 32-bit Win7 to a 64-bit W10.
    but I’ll be still be waiting till othersz have struggled the bugs out.
    I’m afraid the hope for a decent design is now completely lost :( still don’t like the UI. and try to stick as long as possible with the Win7 Gui

  24. dwarf_t0ssr said on July 29, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Thought this was a good post I saw a bit ago:

    In order to activate Windows 10 build 10240 (RTM), you must upgrade from a previous qualifying operating system that is genuine and activated: this includes Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 Insider Previews.

    If you are running the Windows 10 Enterprise Preview, you either need to stay in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Program or activate using a product key from the Volume License Service Center (VLSC) when it becomes available in August. If you are not eligible to be running Windows 10 Enterprise, I suggest you make preparations to rollback the original version of Windows your system was licensed for and make a reservation to upgrade to Windows 10.

    Please be aware that you cannot use the free upgrade offer to perform a clean install on first attempt. You must first upgrade from the qualifying version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 (whether you do it through Windows Update or using the .ISO file). Ensure the upgrade is completed successfully and then ensure that it is activated. You can then proceed to do a clean install by using recovery media or using the Reset function in Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC (Get Started).


    So any upgrades need to be made on a fully genuine machine first, setup with the ms account, and then a clean install later on if you wish. Also, in case of hating it and wanting 7 back, use the downgrade tool, then restore a good image you have from before the upgrade. Unless the key changes when rolling back, or something.

    Will be doing a lot of reading on this in the next few weeks to months, but am waiting to see how it works out before committing to it on the main pc. Might set up an unactivated copy on a VM to check it out (I haven’t yet).

  25. qwer said on July 29, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Correct path: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download

  26. tek said on July 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Hi Martin and thanks for this useful information, however I do have a little query regarding the following
    Users who install the operating system anew need a Windows 10 product key.

    Yes this makes obvious sense but I don’t have like many users, a Windows 10 key as I am waiting to be advised that I can upgrade my system accordingly and assume my Windows 7 Pro license will be transferred at that time.
    Actually this is fairly immaterial to me at present as I intend to sit back and observe for now how this process unfolds and based on your article a few hiccups have already been experienced by some. (no surprise there)
    Actually those annoying GWX.exe and about three or four other reminders that kept popping up recently I removed as they were very annoying, especially after I had already registered for the free update so because I removed them maybe I won’t be advised now. However, I would like the opportunity to be able to get hold of Windows 10 Pro 64 bit version for possible installation at a later date, but the method above wouldn’t apply?

    (Edit) hmmm looks like I didn’t read that sentence properly. I missed the word anew which means I can download the media and install as upgrade at least within the year period allowed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Tek, yes you can download the media right away without the need for a key.

      For a clean install, you need a Windows 10 product key. The way to get one via an upgrade is to upgrade your system to Windows 10 first to convert the key, and then install Windows 10 using the media anew.

      For an upgrade, you can simply run the tool and follow the instructions, or run the ISO/USB on a system that is already running an eligible version of Windows (I have not tested the latter myself).

  27. Jojo said on July 29, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Really extensive review of Win10 here. I think I will be waiting for SP1 before moving to it. It seems incomplete at this point.
    Review: Windows 10 is the best version yet—once the bugs get fixed
    Your very own personal assistant, a better browser… and something called the Start menu.

    by Peter Bright – Jul 28, 2015 8:19pm PDT

    1. marc klink said on July 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      I’m certain I would trust the opinion of Peter Bright as far as that of Rush Limbaugh. He is a corporate shill [read idiot] who simply puts forth what he is told.

      But – to the reason for this reply – if you have not paid attention, there will be no Service Pack for this. There was not for Windows Ate, and they have said that Windows Last will be a rolling version, where there will be no changes, other than things installed to the live system. [They have already gone back on several things, and shown that more than a few people at Microsoft have cranial rectitis, but the point still is that they are going to be screwing up for the near term, and if you like stability, it is best to stay away]

      Ars is a good place for news, commentary about Windows…not so much.

      1. Jojo said on July 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm

        Yes, there are no official service packs in Win10 but you can translate use of the term to mean “until the OS gets more seasoned”.

        You can call it a service pack point or a point release or some level of rolling release. It all means the same thing ultimately.

    2. Simakuutio said on July 29, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Bad news then for you. Microsoft announced quite a long time ago that they are no longer doing service packs for any windows versions.

  28. dwarf_t0ssr said on July 29, 2015 at 8:58 am

    This is the post I’ve been waiting for. Good to finally have confirmation that one can get the pro edition, and not go from 7 Pro to 10 Home or whatever. Was one of the main things I was waiting to find out. No reason I can’t download the install media, at least.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.