Microsoft has made upgrading to Windows 8 really easy with their upgrade tool, but if you have special needs and need a more traditional installation disc, you might not know where to look. Here’s how to create one.
You may not realize this (I didn’t), but the Windows 8 upgrade tool actually gives you the option to create a DVD or USB—you just have to get past the activation screen first. Here’s what you do:
Download the Windows 8 Installer from Microsoft’s web site and run it on an existing Windows system. It doesn’t actually have to be the PC you want to upgrade, even though it says so—heck, it can be a PC you’ve already upgraded to Windows 8.
If it prompts you for a license, enter the key you received when you originally bought Windows 8.
Once you’ve gotten past the licensing screen, it’ll ask you how you want to install Windows 8. Choose “Install by Creating Media.”
If you chose the ISO file, you can now burn it to a DVD with something like ImgBurn.
Note that if you create the installation media on a 32-bit PC, you’ll get a 32-bit ISO, and if you create it on a 64-bit PC you’ll get a 64-bit ISO (so make sure you create it on the right kind of PC). Also note that you won’t be able to use this disc to do a clean install on an empty hard drive if it’s an upgrade version of Windows 8, but you should be able to do a clean install over an existing copy of Windows.
Once you read the steps, the process is extremely obvious, but if you aren’t aware that the option exists, you might be confused about how to burn a more traditional disc (I know I was).