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Where can I download Windows 8 legally, from Microsoft?

No, I am not looking to pirate. I bought a key through the Upgrade assistant (for just $15 due to the upgrade offer), but it downloaded an iso file that was between 2.3 and 2.5 GB. Which doesn't make sense to me, because the Evaluation version of Windows 8 x64 is closer to 3.4 GB in size. I assumed the Upgrade Assistant would be intelligent enough to realize that it is being run on a Windows 7 x64 machine and by extension, download the x64 code.

UPDATE: I should clarify, because it appears this point was somehow unclear; I used the Upgrade Assistant to download the file and then with the same tool, converted to an ISO. I am concerned as to whether it's really the x64 image, because of how small it is in comparison to the Windows 7 x64 ISO. I'm currently on a very stable installation of Windows 7 and I only want to proceed to install Windows 8 if I'm sure I have everything ready. It's not that I am unsure how to install it, but I would rather not be forced to go through the setup only to discover at the end of the install that I have the x86 version.

Previously, I was able to legally download the ISOs (sans the keys, of course) from the Digital River host. I do not see an option to do that.

UPDATE #2: Because several users were being quite frankly obnoxious and rather unhelpful, I want to make sure this is fully explained. I was originally unsure if I had the 32bit or the 64bit ISO of Windows 8 and I was suspicious due to the size, and rather than barking at me to just try it, user "EKW" was kind enough to explain to me how to tell which ISO I have (which is still connected to my original question). Upon doing so, I have found that although I ran the upgrade assistant on Windows 7 x64, it still downloaded a 32 bit ISO, confirming my suspicions. I will attempt to try it again on a different machine.

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Is the problem that it downloaded the x86 version, or that the file size isn't what you expect? –  ta.speot.is Dec 18 '12 at 11:01
The tool did download the correct iso, it downloaded a copy of Windows 8 Professional 64-bit. It seems you have not even confirmed there is even a problem. This question has been asked several times. –  Ramhound Dec 18 '12 at 12:07
Well, thanks for that amazingly helpful comment, Ramhound. I guess I should waste a bunch of time, blow away my current Windows 7 setup, and wait all the way until the end of the installation before finding out if I have the right architecture. That makes perfect sense. –  Harsha K Dec 18 '12 at 18:07
@HarshaK - What do you want to hear? The only legal way to get an ISO since you don't have access to MSDN or TechNET is to use the Upgrade Assistant tool. As already pointed out the size is correct. You are trying to compare Windows 8 Enterprise edition iso to Windows 8 Professional. –  Ramhound Dec 18 '12 at 18:42
If your question is about analyzing if the contents of a certain Windows ISO is x64, please see superuser.com/questions/189671/… If the answers to that question do not apply to Windows 8 (or your situation in particular), please rephrase your question to make it more clear that that is the topic of interest here and then flag the question for moderator attention to get it reopened. –  Oliver Salzburg Dec 18 '12 at 18:46
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marked as duplicate by Oliver Salzburg Dec 18 '12 at 18:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you open the ISO and check the \efi\boot directory, there should be an EFI file identifying the arch of the disc.

(bootx64.efi for x64, bootia32.efi for x86)

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Yes, but he didn't buy the DVD, he used the Upgrade Offer and Upgrade Assistant. Those download sizes are different (smaller). –  Karan Dec 18 '12 at 18:35
More information is better than less, and the rest of my answer indicates precisely how to identify the arch of the disc. –  EKW Dec 18 '12 at 18:38
Yup, that'll help confirm the architecture, although frankly the Assistant is not built to do cross-platform downloads and so I don't think there's any way he could have ended up with a 32-bit ISO. –  Karan Dec 18 '12 at 18:39
@Karan - You also listed the sizes for Windows 8 not Windows 8 Professional which is the only ISO that can be downloaded from the Upgrade Assistant and will only download the same bit-version being used. This means if your using x86 with 16GB of memory installed you still get x86 installation of Windows 8. –  Ramhound Dec 18 '12 at 18:40
Are you saying you installed the disc and it resulted in an x64 installation with an x86 EFI file? –  EKW Jan 2 '13 at 16:06
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You can use your own product key to download an ISO:

  1. Look at the email you get with the key. Download the linked tool.
  2. Run Windows 8 Setup File
  3. Enter your Product key
  4. The tool now downloads the required files
  5. After the download finished, select Install by creating media option and then click Next button.
  6. In the following screen, you will see save ISO file option. Select ISO file and then click Save button to start creating the ISO file.

enter image description here enter image description here

(Image source: intowindows.com)

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Although I thank you for your help, this does not help me with my specific question. I have already download an ISO through the Upgrade Assistant but I'm not entirely confident that it is the x64 ISO due to its size. –  Harsha K Dec 18 '12 at 18:05
don't compare sizes and hashes. The Tool downloads an Install.ESD instead of an Install.wim and so the hashes don't match. If you run a 32Bit Windows, the tool downloads a 32Bit ISO, if you use a 64Bit Windows the tool creates 64Bit ISO. To check if the tool downloaded the 64Bit version, look at the ISO in the folder sources and open the file idwbinfo.txt. If BuildArch=amd64 you got the 64Bit version. –  magicandre1981 Dec 19 '12 at 5:03
Thank you for this. I appreciate being given an oppurtunity to double-check before I even installed, rather than those who wanted me to run it in a VM instead. I have selected this as the answer. –  Harsha K Dec 20 '12 at 22:56
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Refer to Is there a place to download the Windows 8 System Builder ISO? There are no known legal Digital River links yet.

Which doesn't make sense to me, because the Evaluation version of Windows 8 x64 is closer to 3.4 GB in size. I assumed the Upgrade Assistant would be intelligent enough to realize that it is being run on a Windows 7 x64 machine and by extension, download the x64 code.

What makes you think you did not get the proper and complete version? Just the file size? Here's what the Improving the setup experience article has to say on the Building Windows 8 blog:

Constructing optimized download packages

The Windows 7 media layout for x86 consists of 874 files and 200 folders, with a number of redundant files both in the media and compressed within install.wim and boot.wim. To efficiently store and transfer the contents of installation media, we typically use ISO files. For example, an ISO created from the x86 client media is 2.32GB. In order to optimize for download in Windows 8, we take the required subset of files for the specific version of Windows being downloaded. After eliminating duplicates and compressing resources, the single-file size is 2.10GB (as compared to 2.32GB), a savings of 9.5%. After this optimized package is created we compress it using an improved compression algorithm specifically for Windows 8 setup, which provides an additional 28% savings. In this example (using the Windows 7 x86 ISO) the size of the download would be reduced from 2.32GB to 1.51GB.

I would advise that you actually try to use what you downloaded. If it fails, the download probably got corrupted somehow, instead of the Upgrade Assistant mistakenly downloading the wrong version.

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I read that and found no mention of the size of the x64 build. –  Harsha K Dec 18 '12 at 18:04
Additionally, I find it difficult to believe that they have managed to compress a 3.3 GB ISO file down to a ~2.3GB ISO file. –  Harsha K Dec 18 '12 at 18:12
Again I ask you, can you at least try it in a VM first? It'll hardly take any time to install VirtualBox and test the ISO. If it fails, it has to be a broken download, not due to the 32-bit version being downloaded by mistake on a 64-bit PC. –  Karan Dec 18 '12 at 18:18
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