Ha! Hahaha! Ahahahahahahah! Muahahahahaha!… I feel happy just writing this post. Because honestly, what pisses people like me off more than hardware failures? Not being able to find my install disks for software, that’s what. In the past, I had to hoard several copies of Windows 7 and 8 install disks that did different things depending on the PC I was setting up.
I had a Windows XP SP3 64-bit disk that I created myself with Nlite and prized very highly. Somewhere along the line, these things just slip away into some black hole with all the missing socks from your drawer, never to be seen again. But fear not! Microsoft has finally listened to sense and brought out a slipstreamed method of giving you your install disks for any Windows 8.1 OS, free of charge.
Its called the Windows Installation Media Creation Tool and it’s been hiding away from visitors to the Windows site for about a month now. What this handy little application does is create bootable installation media for you. You can download the stub downloader, run the application and select whatever version of Windows 8.1 you require.
Using the older offline media creation tool was an absolute pain in the ass because it required that you enter in your product key first before allowing you to download it. This way, you can download any version and make those super-awesome all-in-one discs. This is also great for new laptops that don’t come with install media and for those netbooks and ultrabooks that don’t have a DVD drive available.
The icing on the cake, really, is that the ISO images that get downloaded through this app reportedly allow you to use valid Windows 8.0 keys to install them. I’ll be downloading a copy shortly to check if it has the entries configured to allow the 30-day grace period to give you time to buy and enter in a valid license key.
The only thing missing here are links to the Enterprise version of Windows 8 as well as all the download links to Windows 7 and 8. Even having entries for Windows Vista and XP would be a boon to anyone still supporting those operating systems, because you can’t download the installation media anymore.
If you’re preparing yourself for a system reformat in the near future, or just want something for backup in case you get caught out in the desert with only a corrupt Windows 8.1 install on a netbook with satellite internet and you’d be going home sooner if only you had loaded up a bootable installer for the damn thing on a flash drive, this may come in handy.