I don't expect all these questions to be answered right away. Gradually over time is fine. Also, I guess the answers would differ depending on the language, so I'm looking for information related to the English/en-US versions only (I believe there is an en-GB version as well?)

  1. The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant allows one to create USB/DVD (ISO) media:

    enter image description here

    Is the media customised per-PC in any way, or are copies created on different PCs with different base OSes (XP/Vista/7) exactly the same?

  2. If the ISOs are not customised, are they exactly the same content-wise as the Upgrade DVDs available for purchase?

  • Re #1: Even if it is customized, you should still be able to enter a different product code in the Computer information. – kobaltz Oct 27 '12 at 3:25
  • @kobaltz: If you mean the serial, yes I know, but I want to know if the generated media's bits are somehow dependent on the older OS/key. – Karan Oct 27 '12 at 3:39
  • The only thing unique about the iso downloaded through the assistance is that it determines which one you need x86 or x64 based on the current iso ( or it seems ) I downloaded it twice once through a x86 VM and once through the x64 host and they were different. – Ramhound Nov 19 '12 at 11:20
  • @Ramhound: Yes, of course I know that (and it depends on the current OS architecture, not current ISO). But have you compared two x86 or x64 images downloaded on different machines, preferably with different OSes (any combo of XP, Vista and 7)? – Karan Nov 20 '12 at 12:58
  • @Karan - The only difference between the two systems was one was a Windows 7 x86 virtual machine and the other was a Windows 7 x64 host. Based on what I noticed I am 100% sure the iso would be exactly the same no matter what host was used provided it was the same ( i.e. x86 or x64 ) – Ramhound Nov 22 '12 at 3:40

The ISO image and the USB installation media are both standard (For a given Language, bit-type [32/64Bit] and Windows version) and are not customized in any way. I had previously created a Bootable media device on a USB flash drive and used the same to install Windows 8 (Release preview) on two different laptops. The product key is asked only during installation (the product key did not matter for preview version though).

I have also used the ISO image to install Windows 8 Pro 64 bit on my MacBook Air through Apple's Boot Camp software. Again there was no chance for any customization, since all I specified during my download was the language (English) & version (Windows 8 Pro 64bit).

If it matters, I chose fresh installation (and not upgrade) in both cases. But I was eligible for upgrade, since I had Windows 7 installed. (If I had chosen Upgrade, I would have used the same installation media).

  • Thanks, would be nice to get a confirmation though from someone who has compared media created on two separate systems, preferably running two different base OSes. While what you say sounds completely reasonable (that it should be same), since this is the first time I'm seeing the installer download and allow media creation, would like to be 100% sure. (Although doubtful that anyone will bother downloading twice. Maybe people can compare hashes of versions they have created...) – Karan Oct 27 '12 at 4:14
  • 1
    There is nothing wrong in being doubly sure! – agirish Oct 27 '12 at 4:20
  • Yeah, I guess verifying using hashes is just something I'm used to doing, so it would be nice to verify the downloaded bits, and that they remain exactly the same irrespective of source machine. – Karan Oct 27 '12 at 4:24

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