Until now, getting Windows 8 / 8.1 onto a computer hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world, if only because you couldn’t use a Windows 8 product key to install Windows 8.1 afresh or even choose the architecture to be installed. Instead, if you had 32-bit Windows 8 installed during setup you’d end up with the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, too. There were other niggling issues too, but Microsoft has quietly made available a tool that goes quite a long way towards rectifying a good few of hose issues.

Called the Windows Installation Media Creation Tool, the app can be downloaded and can be used to create either an ISO or a bootable USB stick in order to get Windows onto a machine. It’s not rocket science these days, but here’s how you would go about downloading and installing Windows 8.1 now this wonderful little utility is around.

Download Windows ISO main

Step 1: Head on over to the installation media webpage here and download the small app that is needed in order to kick this all off. Click on the ‘Create media’ button to initiate the download.

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Step 2: Run the newly downloaded executable and start making the relevant selections. That means you’ll need to choose a language for the new installation of Windows as well as the version of Windows itself that you want to install. Importantly, you can also choose which architecture to install at this point.

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Step 3: On the next screen you can choose whether to download Windows to an ISO for use later, or to a USB stick. The latter option is the default and only downloads the required files rather than a full ISO image.

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Step 4: Remember, everything on the USB stick that you’re using here will be erased, so make sure you’re using an already-empty USB, or back up the contents beforehand to save yourself some trouble.

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Step 5: Sit back and wait for the download to complete, and this could take a while depending on your Internet connection. The app will also make the USB stick bootable as part of the process, leaving you to simply install at your leisure.

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Who said Microsoft didn’t know how to make software easy to use?

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