Windows 10: download ISO without content creation tools

Microsoft makes available to everyone, the ISO images of Windows 10 through its download website. But if you are already using a Windows PC, it forces you to download the Media Creation Tool first. Here's how to download a Windows ISO without the creation tool.

Microsoft's media creation tool is for Windows only. If you access the website from another operating system, such as macOS or Linux, you will be sent to a page where you can directly download an ISO file.

To get those direct downloads of ISO files in Windows, you must make your web browser pretend that you are using another operating system. This requires falsifying the user agent of your browser.

The browser user agent is a short string of text that tells a website what operating system and browser you are using. If something on the website does not support the configuration, the site can serve you on a different page.

So if you fake the user agent, you can access a site that claims it is incompatible with your system. To access direct downloads of ISO files, your browser will state that it is on an operating system other than Windows.

This trick works in most browsers, but we will use Google Chrome for this guide.

How to download an ISO image file from Windows 10

To get started, open Google Chrome and go to the Microsoft Windows download website.

Click on the three dots at the top of your browser and then select More tools. Now, click on Developer Tools. Alternatively, you can press CRTL + SHIFT + I on the keyboard.

Now, click on the menu icon and then select More tools and then under network conditions to enable it.

In the "User agent" section, uncheck the "Select automatically" option.

Chrome offers a long list of preconfigured user agents to choose from. Click on the drop-down menu and select one.

For this to work, you must trick Microsoft into thinking that you are using an operating system that is not Windows. Everything that is not based on Windows will be enough, so we will select as an example: BlackBerry BB10.

Keep the "Developer Tools" panel open and update the download page. This time, when it loads, you will see a drop-down menu where you can select the ISO edition of Windows 10 that you want to download.

Now, select an edition and then click on “Confirm”.

Select your preferred language and then click on “Confirm”.

Finally, click on 32 or 64 bits to start the download. Download links are valid for 24 hours from the moment of creation.

If prompted, choose a download destination and then click "Save."

The user agent of your browser will return to normal as soon as you close the developer tools of Chrome.

You already have your ISO downloaded

And that's it! Once the download is complete, you can install it in a virtual machine, mount it, burn it or create a bootable USB drive installer. All this without having to install the Microsoft Media Creation Tool.