Windows power user tips

The best places to find Windows 10 ISOs

How and where to safely grab these sometimes-elusive beasts — including versions from years past.

man holding map with windows 10 logo in background

Installing and repairing Windows operating systems requires access to known, good, working and virus-free installation and supporting files. Typically, these collections can run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of items, and are organized within a complex hierarchy of file directories (folders, in Windows-speak).

That probably explains why the ISO format, originally developed to capture the contents of an entire optical disc (such as a CD, DVD or even Blu-ray disc), makes such a good container for something as big and complicated as Windows. When you go looking for a Windows download for installation or repair nowadays, it’s quite likely that what you’ll find is best described as a “Windows ISO.”

Obtaining an official Windows 10 ISO image

Microsoft provides access to Windows ISOs to paying customers through a variety of means. Those who subscribe to Visual Studio (formerly MSDN) or the Volume Licensing Service Center (a.k.a. VLSC) can use their authorized logins to search for, identify and download whichever Windows 10 ISOs they might need (provided their licenses cover this OS).

Aside from those methods, there are two other ways to obtain an official Windows 10 ISO image directly from Microsoft.

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