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Windows 8

How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Without Using the Windows Store

If you’ve been updating your Windows 8 devices this week to Windows 8.1, you may have noticed that using the Windows Store is Microsoft’s preferred method. But as I’ve discovered, the Windows Store doesn’t provide a reliable experience, and can be frustrating if you need to upgrade multiple devices. In this Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to download the Windows 8.1 ISO with a Windows 8 product key so that you can bypass the Windows Store.

Get the Windows 8.1 ISO

Follow the instructions below carefully to download the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO with a Windows 8 product key.

Microsoft will allow you to download the 32-bit version if you click the link from an OS running 32-bit Windows, and similarly the 64-bit ISO if the OS is 64-bit Windows.

Upgrade to Windows 8.1 without using the Windows Store

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  • Scroll down the web page to the section When you’re ready, tap or click Install Windows 8.1 or Install Windows 8.
  • Click Install Windows 8.

Even though we want the bits for Windows 8.1, we need to start setup for Windows 8 first to provide a valid product key.

  • Click Run at the bottom of Internet Explorer.
  • In the setup dialog, enter your Windows 8 product key.
  • Follow the wizard through the next step until Windows 8 starts downloading.
  • When the download starts – and only at this point – close setup.
  • Now go back to the Upgrade Windows with only a product key web page.
  • Click Install Windows 8.1 and run setup. This time, you won’t be prompted for a product key and you can download the Windows 8.1 ISO.

Upgrade to Windows 8.1 without Windows Store: Downloading the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO

Once the download is complete, you will be given the option to create a bootable USB drive or save the ISO file to disk.

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Without Using the Windows Store”

  1. Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer 11 Updates Miss the Mark

    [...] hold of the bits to perform an upgrade – simply follow the directions in my previous article, "How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Without Using the Windows Store." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1370034252237-2'); [...]
  2. johnwerneken

    Very nice. Thank you so much. This works precisely as described.
  3. Jarno Vilen

    Well, it works partially, you CAN make a installation media for 8.1 Pro but it has no use; You CANNOT install it. It Still requires product key for 8.1 Pro. Windows 8 Pro product key WILL NOT WORK, so you cannot install it any other way than from store...
    • Russell Smith

      You can force the initial product key check to be skipped, and after Windows 8.1 is loaded a Windows 8 key should be accepted. I'll outline this process in a forthcoming Ask the Admin.
      • Jarno Vilen

        Yes I can load the iso or create bootable USB drive. But the 8 key is not accepted when trying to install from either media.
        • Russell Smith

          The media, bootable USB drive or ISO, needs to be modified to skip the initial product key check. Then during the OOBE stage, you can enter your Windows 8 product key and it will be accepted. When the article outlining this process has been posted on Petri, I will add the link to this thread.
          • neddim

            Can I do like Rrrr wrote? Use different key to install (GCRJD....) and after installation change to your key?
            • Russell Smith

              neddim, I haven't tried it, so I don't know. But I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work. If you are installing more than one copy of Windows 8.1, the method explained here will be faster: https://petri.com/install-windows-8-1-rtm-using-windows-8-product-key.htm
              • neddim

                Great. I have done in Rrrr way and it works. After installation I just changed product key (in standard way, not using Command Prompt) and it works :) Do you have any tutorial how to use windows 8.1 backup? I don't see any option where I can chose "restore files from file history". Also system image backup is very slow and it's not for every day backup :/
                • neddim

                  "Restore fies from file history" - I mean there is no option if I reinstall my os.
                • Russell Smith

                  There is an article here: https://petri.com/enable-restore-file-history-windows-8.htm Try turning on File History on the new machine, and point it to the location of the old backup.
    • Rrrr

      Get the temp windows 8.1 key from here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867.aspx KMS Client Setup Key Windows 8.1 Professional GCRJD-8NW9H-F2CDX-CCM8D-9D6T9 Then after you correctly install windows 8.1 change the key to your own key with these settings: Right-Click the Start button and start the Command Prompt - Admin. Type the following: slmgr /ipk YOUR-WIN8KEY-WITH-DASHES-HERE slmgr /rearm reboot you computer and it should be activated. Go to Windows Information and see that your windows version is activated
  4. JD Eveland

    I encountered the widely reported block to upgrading my laptop, where the Windows Store simply wouldn't open to download the upgrade. But for some totally incomprehensible reason, when I created an additional new user account under another name and email, the Store opened up fine and I was able to complete the upgrade. If you are encountering problems, try this possible solution.
  5. Install Windows 8.1 RTM Using a Windows 8 Product Key

    [...] free upgrade from Windows 8, Microsoft is making it difficult for users who purchased Windows 8 to upgrade to Windows 8.1 without using the Windows Store. The installer on the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO blocks Windows 8 product keys by default. In this Ask the [...]
  6. indigitale

    Thanks! This solution is valid also for surface pro?
  7. Top 10 Petri IT Knowledgebase Articles of 2013

    [...] How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 without the Windows Store (by Russell [...]
  8. Bob Heathcote

    Thanks - worked perfecty
  9. Bob Heathcote

    Oh bollocks. The key I used to download the iso now says it will not work with the 8.1 ISO I downloaded. What to do?
  10. Hazael

    Eres genial, funciona tal y como dijiste. Muchas Gracias.
  11. Guest

    I keep getting this error message when I enter my windows 8 product key. (I have erased the product key itself in paint for obvious reasons) Could someone please help me to solve this problem and install 8.1? Thanks :)

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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.

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