Microsoft released Windows 10 21H2, the November 2021 update last week, and you can now download an ISO image for the new version to set aside for emergencies or clean installations.
Windows 10 21H2 is not a very significant feature update and only contains a few new features for business users and increased protection against WiFi side channel attacks.
However, if you are planning to upgrade to the new version of Windows, it is always recommended that you download or create a handy ISO image to troubleshoot issues or perform fresh Windows installations.
Why should you download an ISO image
An ISO image is a sector-by-sector copy of a DVD or other media stored in a single file. As this file is a replica of the original media, it can then be written (burned) to another DVD or USB stick in the same way it was created.
Using ISO allows you to create DVD and bootable media backups in case you lose the original media and need to recreate it. ISO images can also be mounted as a drive letter in Windows or virtual machines or extracted by programs such as 7-Zip to access the files contained.
ISO images are particularly useful for performing “clean” installations of Windows, which is a fresh installation of the operating system without any of your previously installed programs, data, or configuration settings.
Finally, ISO images can be used to create bootable USB drives that can be used to access the Windows recovery environment if Windows does not start correctly, diagnoses crashes, or removes a particularly stubborn malware infection.
For this reason, it is recommended that all users download the latest Windows 10 ISO as new feature updates are released.
How to download a Windows 10 21H2 ISO from Microsoft
To create a Windows 10 21H2 ISO, you can use two different methods.
The first and easiest method is to use the Media Creation Tool (MCT) to create the ISO. However, it takes longer because the tool has to download files and convert them to ISO.
Those who don’t want to wait for the MCT to create the ISO can download it directly from Microsoft by tricking their site into thinking you are downloading from a mobile device.
These two methods are explained below.
Method 1: Use the media creation tool to create an ISO image
Microsoft offers the Media Creation Tool that lets you download the latest Windows 10 ISO image to a file or burn it to a bootable USB drive.
To download Windows 10 21H2 ISO using Media Creation Tool, please follow these steps:
- Visit the Windows 10 download page using your web browser.
- Under “Create Windows 10 installation media”, click the “”Download the tool now‘and save the proposed executable’ MediaCreationTool21H2.exe ‘.
- Once downloaded, run MediaCreationTool21H2.exe and Windows will ask for permission to allow it to run. Click on Yes, and the media creation tool will prepare a few items before you can continue.
- Once completed, the MCT will show you a license agreement. To continue, click on the I accept button.
- The tool will now say that it is to ‘Prepare a few things’ and when done will display a prompt asking if you want to upgrade the computer or’ Create installation media (USB stick, DVD or ISO file) for another PC.
At this prompt, select the Create installation media option, and then press the Next button.
- The Media Creation Tool will now download and verify the files needed to create a bootable ISO image or USB drive. This process may take a while, so please be patient.
- When finished, the MCT will ask you what language, architecture, and Windows edition you want for your ISO image. By default, the MCT will use your local language and architecture, but you can uncheck Use the recommended options for this PC checkbox to select other options.
When finished, click on the Next button.
- You will now be asked if you want to create a bootable USB drive or a Windows 10 ISO. While we are creating an ISO file, select it. ISO file option and press Next.
- You will now be prompted to select a location to save your ISO file. Select a folder in which to save the ISO file, and then click the to safeguard button.
- The Media Creation Tool will now create the ISO file at the specified location. Please wait while the file is being created.
- When the media creation tool has finished creating the ISO, you can close the program by clicking the button To finish button.
You will now have the latest Windows 10 21H2 ISO image file saved in the selected folder, which can be used for virtual machines or to create bootable media later.
Method 2: Trick Microsoft’s download page into giving it an ISO file
When you go to Microsoft’s “Download Windows 10” page, you have the option to update through Windows Update or download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
Below, we’ll provide a method that prompts Microsoft to offer an ISO image file for Windows 10 21H2 instead.
To download the Windows 10 21H2 ISO, follow these steps:
- Go to the Windows 10 download page in Chrome or the new Microsoft Edge.
- Click on the Chrome menu, then More tools, and select Development tools, as shown below.
- Now press Ctrl + Shift + M to open the toolbar of the device. This toolbar allows you to force Chrome to impersonate another device, such as a mobile phone or tablet.
Click on the menu that should appear Sensitive and select iPad Where iPad Pro to have a bigger screen to work with.
- When you select one of these devices, you should see the screen resize to reflect the screen size of the device. At this point, I suggest you change the zoom to 100% as shown below.
- Now refresh the page in the browser by pressing the button F5 key. Once the page refreshes, the Microsoft site will now offer you the Windows 10 ISO instead of the Media Creation Tool.
Now click on the drop-down arrow under “Select Edition” and select the “”Windows 10 ‘ under “Windows 10 November 2021 Update”. Once selected, click on the To confirm button.
- After a few seconds, the Microsoft site will now ask you to select the language of your ISO.
Select your language and press the To confirm button again.
- Finally, you will be asked to download the 32-bit or 64-bit ISO. When you’re ready, click on one of these choices and your browser will download the respective Windows 21H2 ISO image.
Readers should note that the above instructions will work in any Chromium-based browser, not just Chrome or the new Edge.