Computing

How to Legally Download a Windows 10 ISO File and Install Windows 10 from It

Windows 11 may be the latest version of Windows, but if you’re still using Windows 10 and need to perform a “clean install” of the operating system or install/upgrade it on an older PC, you’ll require a Windows 10 ISO file. Downloading a Windows 10 ISO file can also be helpful if you want to install Windows 10 on your Mac or set it up in a virtual machine application. In both scenarios, the Windows 10 ISO file is the most reliable method for installation. Follow the steps below to download it for free and get started.

Downloading the ISO from Microsoft

The most reliable source to obtain a Windows 10 ISO file is directly from Microsoft. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1: Visit the Windows 10 download page on the Microsoft website. Look for the section labeled “Create Windows 10 installation media” and click the “Download tool now” button.

Step 2: A dialogue box will prompt you to save a program called “MediaCreationTool22H2.exe.” Choose to save the file. The Windows 10 ISO download will begin immediately.

Step 3: Once the download is complete, you can use the downloaded tool to turn any USB key into a bootable Windows 10 installer. The tool also allows you to download the Windows 10 ISO file for future use. Run the tool and a terms-of-use screen will appear. Accept the terms and select whether you want to upgrade your current PC or create installation media for another PC.

Step 4: Choose the option to “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC” and click “Next.” Select your preferred language, architecture, and edition of Windows. It’s usually best to use the recommended options for your PC. When you’re ready, click “Next.”

Step 5: On the next screen, select the ISO file option if you’re planning to install Windows on your PC. This option will save a file that you can choose later to upgrade your PC to Windows 10. For most people, the ISO file is the safest choice. After selecting the ISO File option, click “Next” and choose where to save the ISO file. After the download is complete, you’ll have the ISO file on your computer’s hard drive.

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Installing or Updating to Windows 10 with the ISO file

Depending on the version of Windows you’re currently running, follow the appropriate steps below:

If you’re running Windows 8

You can upgrade your PC or laptop to Windows 10 by mounting the downloaded ISO file. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Double-select the ISO file to mount it. Windows will recognize the ISO as a DVD drive.

Step 2: Open “Setup.exe” and the Windows 10 installer will launch. Choose to install Windows 10 in place, keeping your files and programs. All necessary data will transfer from the ISO to your computer, and the installation will complete after a restart.

If you’re running Windows 7 or earlier

Since you can’t mount ISOs on these versions, you’ll need to use Virtual Clone Drive or similar software to install ISO files. Alternatively, you can try the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant. Here’s the process:

Step 1: Download and install Virtual Clone Drive or a similar program to mount the ISO file.

Step 2: After the ISO file is mounted, the Windows 10 installer will open. Note that the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant is also a valid option for upgrading from older versions of Windows 10.

Create a Bootable USB Drive for Installing on Another PC

If you want to update another PC using the ISO file, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Visit the Windows 10 download page on the Microsoft website. Look for the section labeled “Create Windows 10 installation media” and click the “Download tool now” button.

Step 2: Save the “MediaCreationTool22H2.exe” program when prompted. This will download the program to your computer.

Step 3: Run the downloaded tool and accept the terms of use.

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Step 4: Choose the option to “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC” and click “Next.” Select the recommended options or customize them according to the PC you’re planning to install Windows 10 on.

Step 5: Select the USB flash drive option and choose your USB drive from the list. The installer will download Windows 10 and create a bootable USB drive. Once completed, you’ll see a message stating that your USB flash drive is ready. Click “Finish.”

Step 6: Close the Windows 10 Setup on your PC and turn it off. If you’re installing on a different system, plug the USB drive into that system and boot it up. To boot from the USB installer you created, press the F12 or Delete key on your keyboard and enter UEFI or BIOS settings. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult your PC maker for assistance. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the Windows 10 installation.

Burn the Windows 10 ISO to a DVD

If your computer has a DVD burner and you have a writable DVD, you can burn the Windows 10 ISO file to a DVD and install Windows 10 by booting from it. Here’s how:

Step 1: Right-click on the downloaded Windows ISO file and go to Properties (under General). Then select “Change” > “Windows Explorer” > “Apply.”

Step 2: Right-click on the Windows ISO file again and select “Burn disc image.” The Windows Disc Image Burner will open and ask you to choose the drive to use.

Step 3: When you’re ready, select “Burn” to start the process. Once completed, you’ll have a bootable DVD that you can use to install Microsoft Windows. While other software can be used to burn the ISO, the built-in software is easy to use.

Step 4: After burning the ISO to a CD, you’ll need to boot your PC (or another PC) from the CD. Press the F12 or Delete key on your keyboard to access the temporary boot device selection menu. Choose the CD as the temporary boot device. You may need to enter UEFI or BIOS settings. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult your PC maker for guidance.

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Step 5: Once you’ve booted into the Windows 10 installer, follow the on-screen instructions.

Please note that the Windows Media Creation tool is compatible with computers running Windows 7, 8, or 10. If you’re using a different operating system, you can still download the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft. Visit the Windows 10 download page on Microsoft’s website and select the desired Windows 10 version (32-bit or 64-bit ISO) in your preferred language. Copy the ISO file to a USB stick and proceed with the Windows installation on your Windows laptop or desktop.

To learn how to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10 or to get guidance on how to install Windows 11, refer to our comprehensive guides.

FAQs about ISO files

Can you download the Windows 10 ISO for free?

Yes, Microsoft provides free downloads of ISO files on their website. However, you’ll still need to purchase a Windows 10 license to activate the operating system after creating the installation media.

What’s the fastest way to download the Windows 10 ISO?

The Windows 10 ISO file can be quickly obtained through Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation tool.

Is the Windows 10 ISO the latest version of Windows 10?

Yes, any ISO files downloaded from Microsoft will always be the latest version of Windows 10, including the 22H2 Update.

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This article is brought to you by OnSpec Electronic, Inc., a trusted provider of electronic devices and solutions.

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