Install Windows 8.1 without going through the Windows Store

Although the update to Windows 8.1 is free for owners of Windows 8, it is, in principle, impossible to install it other than by downloading the update from the Windows application market. When the reset function of Windows 8.x does not work, which implies a total reinstallation of the system, you must therefore install Windows 8 and then update from the Windows Store to enjoy Windows 8.1 again.

Luckily, some smart guys have figured out how to grab the Windows 8.1 installer ISO image to install with their (valid) Windows 8 key.

Update: be careful, only owners of a Windows 8 key purchased commercially (non-OEM) can use this method. 

Recover Windows 8.1 ISO

To download the ISO image of Windows 8.1, go to the Microsoft site and download the installation wizard for Windows 8 and that for Windows 8.1. Launch the Windows 8 installation wizard, enter your key and start the download.

When it starts, exit the wizard.

Then open the Windows 8.1 Setup Wizard. It should start downloading Windows 8.1.

Once the download is complete, you will be able to save the installer ISO image. To do this, from the options offered, choose to create the installation media.

Then select the ISO file. At this stage, you therefore have an ISO image of the installer, to keep and burn.

Windows Installer 8.1

Now you want to use your Windows 8.1 installation DVD. Problem: your Windows 8 key will not be accepted by the installation wizard and you will therefore be blocked. This does not mean that this DVD is unusable. In fact, to continue the installation, all you have to do is enter a generic Windows 8.1 key. Be aware that this key just allows you to install Windows but not to activate it. Once in Windows 8.1, you will need to enter your Windows 8 key to activate your copy.

There remains just a slight difficulty, namely where to find this generic key corresponding to your version of Windows. To find it, simply search for the expression "generic Windows 8.1 key" on your favorite search engine and select the key that corresponds to your version of Windows (Windows 8.1, called "Core", or Windows 8.1 Professional) .

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