I bought a copy of Windows 8.1 (System Builder), which I want to install on an old desktop. As expected, the package arrived int he mail with a physical DVD, but I just realised that I don't have access to an optical drive right now.

Is it possible and legal for me to simply download an image and put it on a USB stick for the installation and then use the license that comes with my physical package? My goal is to have an installation that is practically and legally equivalent to having installed from the DVD.


Yes. Go here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/buy

Click Upgrade Now

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Download the exe file and launch once complete.

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Follow onscreen prompts until it is downloaded.

Select the following option:

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Followed by:

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Hope that helps!

  • I'm trying to figure out exactly where I can download an ISO from. The link you give me doesn't make that very clear. Also I wonder how to match the image I download with the particular version I have on disk. Or does that not matter as long as it is Window 8.1 in the right language. – Adrian Ratnapala Oct 2 '14 at 17:46
  • I use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to burn ISOs to optical drive. It's super simple and does an excellent job. Yes, it works for Windows 8 too. wudt.codeplex.com – music2myear Oct 2 '14 at 17:48
  • Click "Upgrade Now". This will download an exe. Launch the exe and it will download the ISO file from Microsoft. – Eric F Oct 2 '14 at 17:50
  • The author does not have access to an optical disk drive, so how exactly, will they create the .iso file. You cannot use a System Builder license to download the .iso provided by Microsoft – Ramhound Oct 2 '14 at 17:52
  • Adrian, I edited my answer. Take a look now. – Eric F Oct 2 '14 at 17:58

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