Creating an MS Windows 8 bootable ISO

These instructions will give you a bootable MS Windows 8 installation ISO with the following properties (you must do this procedure from a Microsoft OS):

  • OS sub-type (“Professional”, etc.): Determined by product key
  • Architecture (32-bit/64-bit): Determined by the OS where you're running the tool
  1. Click “Install Windows 8”
  2. Enter your MS Windows 8 product key
  3. Wait for the installation files to download (about 3 GB)
  4. Choose “Install by creating media”
  5. Choose “ISO file”

You can then burn the resulting ISO image to a DVD or USB drive for installation as usual (dd, etc.).

Making a bootable USB thumb drive from Microsoft's ISO image

So, for some reason you can't just dd the ISO to the thumb drive; it won't create a valid partition table and it won't boot (although Linux will still see the raw UDF filesystem). So…

Create an MBR partition table (aka "msdos") with a partition at least 9GB in size

% sudo parted /dev/sdx       ## Run parted on thumb drive
parted> mklabel msdos        ## Create MBR partition table
parted> mkpart primary NTFS  ## Create a partition marked for NTFS (must be at least 9GB)
parted> set 1 boot on        ## Make partition bootable

Create NTFS filesystem

If it's an older thumb drive and you're unsure of its physical condition, etc. then you can omit ”–quick” to do a full format with zeroing and a bad block check…takes forever though.

mkfs.ntfs --quick /dev/sdx

Mount the ISO and thumb drive and copy files over

Make sure to type this exactly; the presence/absence of trailing slashes is significant to rsync!

mount -o ro,loop file.iso /mnt      ## Mount ISO image at /mnt
mount /dev/sdx /mnt2                ## Mount thumb drive at /mnt2
rsync -rtvP --size-only /mnt/ /mnt2 ## Copy files without trying to preserve UNIX metadata

Reinstalling Win8 on a Lenovo Ideapad and keeping the SSD's caching benefits

Update a WinXP product key manually


  1. Edit the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPA Events\OOBETimer
    1. Change a couple of characters, keeping the same format (you're just changing the timer so the OS deactivates, thus allowing you to change the product key)
  2. Run %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe.exe /a
  3. Choose the telephone activation option
  4. Click “Change Product Key” and enter the new product key
  5. Click the back button to get back to the Internet activation option
  6. You can choose to defer the activation at this point if you need to, but you'll have to activate at some point

Reset the WinXP activation loop


  1. Press F8 during boot to get the advanced options menu
  2. Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  3. Type “explorer.exe” into the Command Prompt
  4. You should see a dialogue window pop up; click Yes/OK
  5. Open the Run dialog and run rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk (this command resets the Windows XP trial clock to 30 days)
  6. Click OK
  7. Restart
microsoftwindows.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/06 11:18 by dlicious
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