Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking to buy and download the "full" version of Windows 8. That is what is called Windows 8 System Builder Personal Use License. I would like to avoid having to purchase a physical copy and wait for it to arrive.

I want an ISO and a single product key for personal use to install either in a VM or a home-built PC (i.e. without any OS installed already). I thought I would get this done today and went looking for a place to buy and download this from Microsoft, but I couldn't find anything obvious. I do not have a copy of any version of Windows at home anywhere. To make things even harder, the little system I want to install Windows 8 on doesn't have a DVD drive, so I would need a way to make whatever I download into a bootable USB stick.

Is there a way to buy and download a "full" Windows 8 non-upgrade license for personal use?

UPDATE: I thought hard about buying Windows 7 Pro, but Windows 8 is cheaper. Also, sorry if this seems like a duplicate, but I haven't seen this question actually answered anywhere. Versions of it have been asked, but I haven't found a straightforward "no" or "here's where to buy this" for the home user starting from a blank hard-drive who wants to pay for and download it right now.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Karan, Breakthrough, Tanner Faulkner, Mokubai May 28 '13 at 19:25

Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It's not a dup of that question. I'm not asking if the license exists, I'm asking where can I purchase and download it right now. – kbyrd May 26 '13 at 22:04
Read the answers. "No it doesn't exist. Only Upgrade and OEM versions" So there's no "Full version" for you to download. You can go to a computer store and buy an OEM copy though, or, from another windows computer, download the "upgrade" and then install it. See another possible duplicate: Where can I download Windows 8 legally, from Microsoft? which has answer that explains how to get your hands on an ISO, after purchase, to install from USB. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 May 26 '13 at 22:09
Additionally, have you considered calling MS and asking them for some assistance? They WANT to sell it to you, I promise. ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 May 26 '13 at 22:11
@kbyrd - There are no legal digital versions of the .ISO in question. The product only exists as a physical product. The only digital copy that exists is can be purchase through the Upgrade Assistance Tool which requires a Upgrade license to download. The System Builder license WILL NOT work I have tried it. – Ramhound May 27 '13 at 0:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows 8 System Builder is not available as a download-only purchase. You will need to purchase a physical copy from a reseller like Newegg or Amazon.

Once you have purchased the physical copy, you can get Windows 8 installed before the package arrives using a few tricks.

  1. On another computer, download the Windows 8 Upgrade Installer
  2. Run the downloaded program
  3. When it prompts you for a product key, use the generic install key
    (This will unlock the installer, but will not activate Windows.)
  4. You will now be prompted to install now, or create installation media. Choose to create media, then choose USB Flash Drive
  5. Once the flash drive has been created, go into <flash drive>:\sources and create a blank text file called ei.cfg. In it, put the following:

  6. Save the file

The USB drive should now be able to install any version of Windows 8 onto your computer. You will need to wait until your packaged physical copy arrives before you can fully activate Windows 8, but the initial installation should work.

Note: since you have no Windows computer available at all to complete the above steps, then you might try installing Windows 7 on the new computer (without activating it), then downloading the Windows 8 ISO from there. Windows 7 ISOs are available for direct download, and you can install it from USB, too.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .