Where to download Windows 10 ISO? Windows 11 might be the latest version of Windows, but if you still use Windows 10 and need to “clean install” the operating system, or install or upgrade to it for the first time on an older PC, you’ll need a Windows 10 ISO file.
Getting a Windows 10 ISO download can also help if you want to install Windows 10 on your Mac or set up Windows 10 in a virtual machine application.
In either case, the Windows 10 ISO file is the best way to install Windows 10. Here’s how to download it for free, so you can get started.
Where to download Windows 10 ISO?
Microsoft makes Windows 10 ISO images available to everyone through its download website, but if you’re already using a Windows machine, it forces you to download the Media Creation Tool first. Here’s how to download Windows ISOs without the creation tool.
Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool is only for Windows. If you access the website from another operating system—like macOS or Linux—you’re sent to a page where you can directly download an ISO file instead. To get those direct ISO file downloads on Windows, you’ll need to make your web browser pretend you’re using another operating system. This requires spoofing your browser’s user agent.
The browser’s user agent is a short string of text that tells a website which OS and browser you’re using. If something on the website isn’t compatible with your setup, the site can serve you a different page. If you spoof the user agent, you can access a site that claims it’s incompatible with your system. To get to the direct ISO file downloads, your browser will claim it’s on a non-Windows operating system.
This trick works in most browsers, but we’ll be using Google Chrome for this guide. If you’re using Firefox, Edge, or Safari, you can follow along with our guide to spoof your user agent without installing an extension.
Downloading the ISO from Microsoft
The best way to get a Windows 10 ISO file is from Microsoft. To get started, head to the Windows 10 download page. Under the header that says Create Windows 10 installation media, select the Download tool now button.
Step 1: Next, a dialogue box will ask you if you want to save a program called “MediaCreationTool22H2.exe.” Select Save file. The Windows 10 ISO download will begin downloading to your computer.
Step 2: Once downloaded, this ISO download tool makes it easy to turn any USB key into a bootable Windows 10 installer and allows you to download the Windows 10 ISO file for future use. When the tool downloads, run it. A terms-of-use screen will pop up, and you’ll need to then select Accept. You must then confirm whether you want to upgrade your current PC or create installation media for another PC.
Step 3: Select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and then select Next. Select the language, architecture, and edition of Windows you prefer. It’s usually best to check the box for Use the recommended options for this PC. Select Next when you’re ready.
Step 4: On the next screen, if you’re looking to install Windows on your PC, select the ISO file option. Doing so will save a file that you can select later to upgrade your PC to Windows 10. For most people, the ISO file is the safest method. After selecting ISO File, select Next and select where to save the ISO file. Once the download is complete, you will have the ISO file on your computer’s hard drive.
Installing or updating to Windows 10 with the ISO file
If you’re running Windows 8, you can upgrade your PC or laptop to Windows 10 by mounting the ISO file you just downloaded — just double-select it. Windows will display the ISO as though it is a DVD drive.
Step 1: From here, you can install Windows 10. Just open Setup.exe, and the installer will open. Then choose to install Windows 10 in place, leaving your files and programs. All necessary data will transfer from the ISO to your computer, which will eventually restart to complete the installation.
Step 2: If you’re running Windows 7 or earlier, you can’t mount ISOs — instead, you can download Virtual Clone Drive and use that to install ISO files. Once you’ve got the drive mounted, the Windows 10 installer will open. Note that you also can try the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant to upgrade from older versions of Windows 10. We have a guide for that.
Create a bootable USB drive for installing on another PC
We covered how you can update an existing PC to Windows 10, but what if you want to update another PC using an ISO file? You can use the Windows 10 Media Creation tool to do that too.
Step 1: Head to the Windows 10 download page. Under the header that says Create Windows 10 installation media, select the Download tool now button.
Step 2: A dialogue box will ask you if you want to save a program called “MediaCreationTool22H2.exe.” Select Save file. This will download the file to your computer.
Step 3: When the tool downloads, run it. A terms-of-use screen will pop up, and you’ll need to then select Accept.
Step 4: Select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and then select Next. From here, choose the Use the recommended options for this PC. You can also customize it and choose a different language or architecture to match the PC you plan to install Windows 10 on.
Step 5: Choose the USB flash drive option and select Next. Pick your USB drive from the list and select Next. The installer will download Windows 10 and write it to your USB drive. You’ll see a message that Your USB flash drive is ready — select Finish.
Step 6: When complete, close the Windows 10 Setup and turn off your PC. If installing on a different system, plug the USB drive in that system. Boot it up and hold down the F12 or Delete key on your keyboard. You’ll need to head to UEFI or BIOS to boot from your USB installer that you created. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult your PC maker for help. Once booted into the USB drive, follow the steps on your screen, and Windows 10 will install.
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