I actually have no idea if this is the correct ISO. And in fact, the number of things we don’t know about it are actually pretty scary.
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There is no official download of Windows 8 in ISO form that I know of (updated – see below). You can download it and install it from the Windows store, but that’s a purchase, and as I understand it, it’s not an ISO; it’s a download-and-run kind of a thing. I could not find any official source for an ISO of Windows 8.
What that means then is actually very clear. Any Windows 8 ISO that you do find to download is very likely to be completely illegal.
Now, I totally get that, legal or not, it is a very strong argument that says that downloading something just to have a physical backup of your OS installation disk is ethical. It’s not like you plan to use it to sell computer systems or cheat Microsoft out of some legal sale – but even so, there are problems.
One of the common ways that malware is distributed is by making repackaged software available, especially software that you can’t get through normal or official channels.
So, answer me this: How do you know who to trust for that ISO download? Knowing that it’s very likely illegal to begin with, how do you know that it hasn’t been “enhanced”, as it were, with malware? I simply wouldn’t risk it.
I would stay away from all unofficial ISO’s of Windows, period.
Besides, as you’ve seen, there are so many variations between editions and OEM versions that the likelihood of getting the one you actually need turns out to be pretty small.
Preparing an alternative
So, what you do instead? How do you prepare for this?
Well, I suggest you do what I’ve been recommending for a long time. If you can’t get installation media with your machine, then the very first thing you should do when you get that machine is to create a complete image backup. Save that backup somewhere, and even make a backup copy of the backup. That then becomes your replacement installation media should you ever need it again in the future.
No, you can’t use it to install Windows, but if you ever get to the point where you need to reinstall Windows from scratch, you can do something else that’s actually much, much easier. You simply restore that backup image. Then the machine is as it was on the day that you got it, just as if you had reinstalled from an installation image.
Update: Getting a Windows 8.1 ISO
This isn’t really what most people are looking for when they ask for an ISO of Windows 8. They typically want something that they can use to install Windows 8 onto a machine. And I still haven’t found one of those yet.
However, if you have a valid Windows 8 product key, and you happen to have a non-Windows 8 machine available, you can actually download an official ISO of the Windows 8.1 DVD.
Here’d a video that shows how:
The URL referenced is http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only.
Updated May 4, 2014.