It seems like every version of Windows is a little easier to install than the one before it, and Windows 8 is no exception thanks to Microsoft’s nifty Windows 8 Upgrade Tool.
That being said, there are still times when it helps to be able to install the operating system from a USB thumb drive or DVD. Here’s how to create one:
1 – Have your Windows 8 Product key handy. It’s easy to identify because it’s a mixture of 25 upper case letters and numbers in this format: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
2 – Visit this page on Microsoft’s website and click the Install Windows 8 button.
3 – If the installer prompts you for the above mentioned license key, enter it at this time.
4 – When asked how you wish to install Windows 8, select Install by Creating Media.
5 – Next, you will be give the option of either installing Windows 8 to a USB Flash Drive or an ISO file. If you wish to create a Windows 8 installation thumb drive, select USB Flash Drive. If you wish to create an installation DVD instead, choose ISO file then burn that file onto a blank DVD.
That’s all there is to it. There are a few things to be aware of however:
1 – The installation thumb drive you just created must be used to upgrade a previous version of Windows. It cannot be used to install Windows 8 on a blank hard disk.
2 – If you plan to install Windows 8/32 bit, you must use create the installation thumb or DVD drive using a PC running a 32 bit version of Windows. A PC running a 64 bit version of Windows must be used to create it if you plan to install Windows 8/64 bit.
3 – The installation media created using the steps above will not work for re-installing Windows 8 on a PC that came with Windows 8 pre-installed. The product key for an OEM version of Windows 8 cannot be used to validate a retail version of Windows 8. If you need to re-install an OEM version of Windows 8, you’ll need to do it by either using your PC’s Recovery Partition or purchasing a set of Recovery Discs from the Support section of your PC manufacturer’s website.