Microsoft has taken up alternative sources for downloading official ISO images. The first to be blocked was the popular Rufus tool – the developers have already found a workaround.
At the beginning of the summer, Microsoft blocked the ability to download official ISO images of Windows 11 and Windows 10 from several countries. To download the image, you need to use a VPN (for example, Outline VPN with free servers). You can use this guide: Top 9 Free VPN Services.
However, it seems that Microsoft has taken up alternative sources for downloading official ISO images.
Microsoft is blocking the download of Windows 11 and Windows 10 ISO images to Rufus: The developers have found a workaround.
On August 13, Microsoft began blocking direct downloads of Windows ISO images from Rufus, a popular tool for creating bootable media.
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The feature of downloading Windows ISO images was first introduced in Rufus 3.5, released in 2019. The ability to download ISO images of Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11 was a valuable addition to the utility that facilitated the process of creating boot images.
Recently, developers have added more features to Rufus that have made the program more practical for Windows administrators and users. In 2022, Rufus added the option to bypass Windows system requirements during “in-place upgrades,” the option to create local accounts instead of Microsoft accounts, and the ability to dismiss privacy questions outright.
All downloads to Rufus are made using the Fido script and have worked flawlessly since the release of this functionality. The script extracted download information from Microsoft servers, and after selecting the user, the download of the corresponding image was launched.
At the end of the week, Rufus users began to receive error messages when trying to boot Windows 8, 10, or 11 using the utility.
The error message is displayed after you select the operating system version in the boot loader and contains the following information:
Error: Download of Windows ISOs is no longer available due to Microsoft having altered their website to prevent it.
[Translation] Error: Downloading Windows ISO images is no longer available due to a change to Microsoft’s website aimed at blocking this action.
When you do this, downloading Windows 7 ISO images worked as before. Vaguely. Why didn’t Microsoft block the download of Windows 7 images?
A related thread on GitHub noted in the discussion that Microsoft intentionally made the change to prevent downloads from any source other than its website.
In the release notes for Fido 1.30, the developers noted:
It looks like Microsoft has intentionally made its download servers hostile to our script, and trying to fix this could take a long time…
However, this issue has been promptly fixed in Fido 1.31. The developers discovered a way to bypass the lock and released an update. Rufus can download Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11 ISO images again from Microsoft servers.
Why do I need alternative download tools?
Although the developers of the alternative download tool quickly fixed the problem, there is no guarantee that Microsoft will not continue to try to block all such sources. At the same time, users can download official images from the Microsoft website, but their choice is limited to specific builds. In addition, downloading from some countries requires the use of a VPN.
With Rufus and Fido, users can choose completely different versions to download. Another advantage is that the entire process of creating Windows installation media is integrated into a single program.
Do you use Rufus?