Microsoft releases disk images for Windows 8.1 beta upgrades

Create bootable installation media to upgrade without each device touching the Windows Store

Microsoft yesterday released its Windows 8.1 beta as a disk image, making it more convenient to upgrade multiple devices within an organization or enterprise.

Windows 8.1 Preview launched Wednesday, but was initially only available from Microsoft's app market, the Windows Store. Each Windows 8 or Windows RT PC or tablet had to individually download the massive upgrade from the store.

By downloading a disk image, then burning it to DVD or storing it on a USB flash drive, users can upgrade machines or devices faster or when they are offline.

The .iso files range in size from 2.7GB to 3.9GB, depending on the language and whether the upgrade is 32- or 64-bit. Microsoft has made disk images available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Once downloaded, the .iso file must be converted into bootable media -- typically either a DVD or a flash drive -- to upgrade Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 7, Vista or even the 12-year-old Windows XP.

In a note accompanying the .iso download links, Microsoft warned users that they would not be able to uninstall the beta if they upgraded using a disk image. The company has posted other information about upgrading in a brief FAQ on Windows 8.1 installation.

Links to the .iso files can be found at the bottom of this page on Microsoft's website.

After much anticipation, Microsoft rolled out the Windows 8.1 preview at its BUILD conference on Wednesday, addressing many of the issues that Windows 8 users had. With Windows 8.1 out (in preview), has Microsoft turned a corner?

This article, Microsoft releases disk images for Windows 8.1 beta upgrades, was originally published at

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is

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