For most people, the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is the best way to download and install Microsoft's OS. However, in offering the tool Microsoft has made it much more difficult to obtain via the traditional method – a Windows 10 iso download.
This is a problem for a number of reasons. For starters, it requires more free hard drive space. However, it also adds in an unnecessary installer that slows down the process.
Thankfully, it's entirely possible to download a Windows 10 ISO without the Media Creation Tool. On non-Windows OSes, Microsoft will only offer a direct Windows 10 Pro or Home ISO file download. By tricking the webpage into thinking you're on a different OS, you can grab the latest ISO from Microsoft on any operating system.
Today, we're going to show you how to do so that you don't have to deal with any sketchy download sites. Let's get started:
How to Download an Official Windows 10 ISO without the Media Creation Tool
Obtaining Windows 10's official ISO requires changing your browser's user agent string to one that isn't Windows. This way, Microsoft assumes you can't run its Media Creation Tool and offers you the more widely compatible ISO instead.
We'll be using Google Chrome for the purpose of this tutorial, but the general concept should work on any major browser – including Firefox and Edge. As long as they allow you to change your user agent string, it should work.
- Navigate to the Windows 10 download site and open the context menu
Head to this webpage where you can download Windows 10 Pro, Home, and other editions. Initially, it will show the download for the Media Creation Tool, but don't worry about that just yet. Instead, click the three dots in the top-right of your browser window to open the context menu.
- Open developer tools
- Open the Network conditions panel
- Untick ‘Select automatically'
- Change your Chrome user agent
- Refresh the page
- Select your Windows 10 edition
The web page will have changed slightly. This is because the site thinks you're accessing it from a BlackBerry device. Find the “Select edition” dropdown, then click “Windows 10”.
For us, this is under the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, so we'll get a Windows 10 20H1 ISO download. Depending on when you're reading this, however, you may have a later version.
- Click “Confirm”
- Select your language and press “Confirm” again
- Grab your Windows 10 x64 or x86 ISO download
The version you want will depend on your processor. If you're unsure, check our guide to checking your PC specs. If it's listed as 64-bit of x64, you want the 64-bit download. If it says 32-bit, or x86, you want the 32-bit download.
Click the relevant button and wait. You have now successfully downloaded a Windows 10 ISO without the Media Creation Tool!
If you found this tutorial useful, you may want to find out how to download ISO files with the Creation Tool, or how to turn your ISO into a bootable USB drive.