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Microsoft has begun rolling out the latest version of Windows 10 called the Fall Creators Update, version 1709. The new update includes new features and improvements that make Windows more productive, fun and easier to use. Microsoft Edge includes better support for working PDF's and EPUB files, more Control Panel settings have been modernized, you can command Cortana to shutdown, restart or lock your device and whole lot more. Below is a list of some of the ways you will be able to get Windows 10 Fall Creators Update today. Some options are still coming online, so periodically keep checking, but the primary channels are Windows Update and the Update Assistant. Please keep in mind, if you don't immediately see it in Windows Update, Microsoft might be phasing in the upgrade for your device. If you are sure your device is compatible, you can manually download the ISO file then upgrade offline. Upgrade Assistant – this light, 5 MB installer starts the upgrade to Windows 10 right away. It lacks many of the advanced options, such as choosing a partition, creating a bootable copy or selecting a particular edition. Media Creation Tool – this small app offers a number of options including in place upgrades, building install media on a blank DVD; or USB thumb drive; or downloading the ISO image. Users can also select different editions and architectures or a combination of both. Refresh Tool – also known as Start Fresh, this is another variant of the Media Creation Tool. The Refresh Tool is suitable for users who want to perform a clean install, while installing the latest version of Windows 10; users can only keep personal files. Applications, OEM bundled drivers and software will also be removed. It’s perfect for users who want to start a clean system either to resolve performance or health issues wth their system. Windows Update – Windows 10 is part of Microsoft’s strategy to deliver Windows as a service. Since its release in 2015, Microsoft has delivered the bulk of upgrades to new revisisions of Windows 10 through Windows Update. ISO Media An ISO file is a virtual replica of a DVD or CD. In order to use an ISO file, you must first intialize it by burning to a blank DVD or copy the install files to an empty USB thumb drive (8 Gbs in size). The ISO file is available through several channels for download. Once downloaded, users can mount the ISO file on devices running Windows 8 or later then start the upgrade. Here is how you can download the ISO file. Software Download Page – for users running alternative operating systems such as macOS or Linux, the software download page lets you download and create a bootable copy. Microsoft Academic Download – students who need to download a back copy of Windows 10 Education using their issued product key from their institution of higher learning. MSDN Subscriber Download – if you are a developer or IT professional with an active subscription, you can log in and download Windows 10 ISO images, which you can then create bootable copies from. Volume License Service Center – for large organizations that deploy Windows 10 in bulk to hundreds or thousands of computers. Specific editions such as Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise are normally available here. The Creators Update won’t officially be available until May 1 (as of this writing). Windows Insider page – If you are a member of the Windows 10 Insider Preview Program, you can download ISO media for the latest version from within the Windows Insider Advanced page.
Windows 10 is distributed through multiple market channels. You can acquire it as a digital download or as a retail full package product. What are the differences between the two? Both are the same product in some respects, the only difference is the method of acquisition and installation. The physical retail package is stuck at build 10240, which you have to update to the latest version (14393.726) through Windows Update. The digital download through the Microsoft Store using the Media Creation Tool includes the latest release (14393.0), which is updated to .726 either during the installation (if connected the Internet) or through Windows Update after completing the installation. With the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update, the Media Creation Tool will be updated to download and install the latest version only. The Media Creation Tool can be used to perform direct upgrades from Windows 7 or Windows 8, or you can use it to create a bootable copy on an empty USB thumb drive or blank DVD. You can also use the Media Creation Tool to also download an ISO image, which you can use to manually create a bootable copy on a blank DVD or USB using your favorite program. The retail Windows 10 box license is the same, but the install media comes in the form of a small USB thumb drive and only in one specific edition based on your purchase (Home or Pro). When you boot from it, you will have to choose which architecture of Windows 10 you want to install (32 or 64 bit). Another difference with the Media Creation Tool, it lets you specify which editions and architecture you want to download. In fact, you can download all architectures and edition, which you can use to upgrade a mixture of versions and editions. This normally requires a larger thumb drive.
Users attempting to create bootable media using the Media Creation Tool, might encounter error message: 0xC18000116 - 0xA0019. Not much information is given as to why this error is happening, but a Microsoft employee on the Microsoft Community, disclosed, the software firm recently refreshed the Windows 10 ISO media; making it a bit larger than 4.7 Gbs. Users will now have to use either a 8 GB thumb drive or a dual layer DVD to make a bootable copy. If you download a combination of architectures 32 and 64 bit, along Home and Pro editions, you might need a USB media with 16 GBs of storage. Microsoft has made some changes to how it also distributes ISO files for Windows 10. Computers running Windows 7 or later will no longer be able to download a Windows 10 ISO file directly. You can learn more about the changes here.
It looks like Microsoft is starting to make some attempt at closing the Windows 10 Free Upgrade loopholes. The Media Creation Tool, which provides detailed options for upgrading, now prompts Windows 7 or Windows 8 systems for a product key. The Media Creation Tool takes into consideration, users, who might have downgraded a previously installed and activated Windows 10 installation; by giving them the option to reinstall Windows 10, exempting them from the product key requirements. The new Digital License function attaches a Windows 10 license to the machine, permitting unlimited reinstalls without the need to have a product key or contact support to get the software reactivated. When users download the download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, they will see the following screen as usual. If the option to Upgrade this PC now is selected, the user will be prompted the enter a valid Windows 10 product key. Any attempts to enter a Windows 7 or Windows 8 product key will be invalidated: A new option has been added to the setup screen for users reinstalling Windows 10 on a previously installed and activated system. If your system has a Digital License attached to it, Windows 10 will automatically upgraded: Users can still circumvent the prompt for a product key by selecting the option Create installation media for another PC. There is another step users will have to follow in order to avoid being prompted to enter a product key. Even when installing from ISO, users can be prompted for a product key if the option Download and install updates (recommended) is selected. Instead, users should select the option Not at the moment. This will permit the upgrade to continue. I am sure Microsoft is working on a more concrete solution to ultimately end the free upgrade offer. In the mean time, you can still get it while door slowly closes. Thanks to Philip Yip of DellReinstallGuide for the tip!