10

I'd like to make sure an ISO (disc image) I have for a Microsoft Windows 10 OS is genuine. The way I usually do this with any file is by computing a hash of the file and comparing the result to the expected hash (typically provided by the software publisher).

The right resource would list the official ISO names along with that file's correct hash. For instance:

File: en-gb_windows_10_enterprise_2016_ltsb_n_x64_dvd_9058303.iso
SHA1: 0629BF04AA2A61E125EE6EDDF917DB471DCB8535

Something like this, but it would come directly from a Microsoft site. I do not wish to have to create a Microsoft account just to see the correct hash (eg. the hash is shown on the official download pages, but you need to have an account to get there). Any leads?

PS: By the way, if it helps anyone, I use the tiny MD5 & SHA Checksum Utility to compute hashes

  • Quoting Microsoft: "After your download has completed, you can compare your download copy to the original to verify that the download was successful. For this purpose, the SHA-1 hash value is provided for each download available on Subscriber Downloads. To view the SHA-1 hash value, click “Details” in the download’s listing on Subscriber Downloads." – Alex Feb 4 '17 at 7:27
  • Thank you. I think this solution requires me to create a Microsoft account, which I do not wish to do. – BeetleJuice Feb 4 '17 at 7:40
  • I afraid it is the only way since you want it "directly from a Microsoft site." – Alex Feb 4 '17 at 7:42
  • 1
    Just create an account using a throwaway email address. – DavidPostill Feb 4 '17 at 11:25
  • @DavidPostill: Microsoft locked me out of my throwaway Microsoft account literally due to “something (...) that violates the Microsoft Services Agreement”. They requested that I tell them my phone number to receive a security code via SMS. When I tried to use a throwaway mobile phone number to do that, Microsoft web site responded: “We cannot send a text message to this number.” I love when people like you hand out “clever” anonymity/privacy/safety “solutions” that either replace one problem with another or flat out don’t work. OP’s problem: so basic – still unsolved. – 7vujy0f0hy Dec 8 '17 at 23:52
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As of December of 2017 this doesn't work anymore.

Click on Details on MSDN, for example: Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB. You probably need to log in to your Microsoft account to look it up but you don't need to be MSDN subscriber.

Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB N MSDN page

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  • Thanks for the link. +1. I've already been to that site, but I don't wish to create a Microsoft account just to see the hash signatures. – BeetleJuice Feb 4 '17 at 7:39
  • Why not? You don't even need to remember the data, you can create one each time you need to look up them... This is the official way to do this, there is no other. – Hex Feb 4 '17 at 20:24
  • @Hex: For example because it violates the Microsoft Services Agreement. Read more in my other comment. – 7vujy0f0hy Dec 9 '17 at 0:13
  • @Hex: Both your MSDN links (1, 2) just redirect me to my.visualstudio.com, even though I’m logged in. No button named “Details” anywhere in sight. Waste of account. – 7vujy0f0hy Dec 11 '17 at 5:12
  • Unfortunatelly, this doesn't work anymore. as Microsoft changed MSDN to My Visual Studio. – Hex Dec 13 '17 at 8:06
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Download ISOs and Hashes directly from Microsoft

To download Windows 10 ISOs using Windows 10, you will need to change you browser's user agent. Without this step, MS will force you to download the Media Creation Tool.


Change User Agent Using Mozilla Firefox Browser:

-Type about:config in the address bar and press Enter.
-Enter general.useragent.override into the search preference name box.
-Select String and save with the + button.
-Use the user agent of a non-Windows browser such as WebKit/Blink as the setting value.
-More user agents can be found here: ,https://udger.com/resources/ua-list>
-Instructions for other browsers can be found at HowToGeek
-Restart Firefox by closing all windows for the changes to take effect.


Download ISO and View Hash

-After changing your user agent, navigate to the Microsoft ISO download site. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO
-Select the version and language of your choice.
-Select Verify Your Download to view and copy the hash for your selected iso.


Verify Hash in Powershell (Windows 10)
-Right-click Start Windows Start Icon and select Windows PowerShell.
-Navigate to the folder with the iso image.
cd ~/Downloads
-Check the hash
Get-FileHash Win10_2004_English_x64.iso | Format-List

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  • I just used your instructions to download the May 2020 release of Windows 10, and the file is too large to burn onto a DVD. – Phil Goetz Jun 24 at 3:48
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The only safe ways are to

  • download a new one from Microsoft. For home and pro for OEM and retail. Note there is no enterprise option for OEM/retail. From https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10. While this is currently frustrating, as an IT admin there is normally a new semi-annual release that needs downloading anyway by the time I've forgotten where I saved the last iso I downloaded.
  • or log in to your current MSDN subscription and download a new one if you are elligible.
  • log in to your volume license portal https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/servicecenter/default.aspx and look up the hash for the image you are interested in. For Pro / Educational / Enterprise. If you don't have a volume license portal login, see the people that sold you license and they should be able to help set you up with one.
  • re-create the iso from your original install media and compare checksums.

Remember Microsoft is always trying to outsmart the software pirates, which makes life difficult for people that have paid for their license. For previous versions of MS products this has meant that each combination of OEM/retail/VLSC coupled with home/pro/edu/ent has had its own sha1 hash for the same version. Also you had to match up license key you were trying to use not only with the version of software but the channel through which the key was purchased. Plus, each OEM manufacturer (eg dell/hp/etc) would have separate sha1 codes for all of the versions. While win 10 is still not perfect in this regard, having a single installer compatible with all oem and retail is much better than the old system.

Oh, and I forgot to add in the last paragraph there are also different language regions having their own sets of iso <-> key pairs for all of the above combinations. I'm not sure yet how the language region issues relate to Windows 10 yet.

PS. If you're concerned about 3rd party info/software then FYI, Microsoft also has an MD5 / SHA1 tool called FCIV, available for download from their site.

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EDITED in light of the (better) answer by idlehands:

You can't if you're running Windows, because Microsoft the Media Creation Tool embeds some differences within each ISO it creates. I've downloaded the Windows 10 x64 ISO 4 times in the past 2 days, and each download completed without errors, and each had a different md5 sum:

94413128e084237b291e8dcb6d66042a *Windows10-x64-A.iso
b4fe0950ce455035d4c69abcc57f6e22 *Windows10-x64-B.iso
0f97d05fc0dd407108c3dcf036b4a7b4 *Windows10-x64-C.iso
5787c173f8590cf48633ec20dc683131 *Windows10-x64-D.iso

WinMerge shows that the files that differ between the versions are

sources/boot.wim
sources/install.esd
sources/ws.dat

Checking just w.dat, I find each ISO has a different value of InstanceID. Possibly these should be confidential for key activation, so I'm not listing the one I'm going to use:

[in B:] InstanceId=f1a7e812-3f62-4457-9c7e-4f255d608e6c
[in C:] InstanceId=1e380011-8f50-49bd-9711-6c204f846e84
[in D:] InstanceId=f1a7e812-3f62-4457-9c7e-4f255d608e6c
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  • 1
    Did you really download an ISO image? Or did you use the Media Creation Tool? The MCT doesn’t download an ISO image, it builds one locally. – Daniel B Jun 20 at 19:03
  • I’ve downloaded a Windows 10 ISO and received an image that has the same checksum as the MSDN image “Windows 10 (consumer editions), version 2004 (updated May 2020)”. So Microsoft does not distribute personalized images. – Daniel B Jun 20 at 22:39
  • @Daniel B: You're right; I must have used the Media Creation Tool each time, because, as explained in idlehands' answer, there's no way to download Windows from Microsoft when running Windows except either by using the Media Creation Tool, or pretending that you're not running windows. – Phil Goetz Jun 24 at 2:55

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