How to create an ISO file out of any Windows 10 build


Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
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ISO file out of any Windows 10

When Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 build to Insiders on the Fast ring, it is usually only available through Windows Update.

This means you can’t find an ISO file of that build, and install it manually while it’s still available on the Fast ring only.

Microsoft usually releases Windows 10 ISO files for commercial versions, or when a certain build enters the Slow ring.

You can download official ISO files for the Anniversary Updates, and for different Windows builds, but you can’t download an ISO file of the latest build released.

However, if you you can’t wait for Microsoft to officially release an ISO file, and have a good reason to download it, and create an installation media, it’s actually possible to do that.

There’s a way to create a ISO file of basically any Windows 10 Preview build you want, but it’s not an official way, approved by Microsoft. So, here’s what you need to do.

ISO files, also called ISO images, represent a single file of an entire DVD or CD. In other words, it is a virtual version of a disc.

This is why ISO files are very useful, eliminating the need to carry data on a piece of hardware. Also, for Windows 10 builds, the ISO format may play an important role.

It is easier for Microsoft to release ISO files for updates, but it happens that you can’t download the official ISO file of the latest build.

How to create an ISO file of any Windows 10 build

When you need to install a new version of Windows 10, or download a new build, Microsoft delivers it to you through a new ESD (Electronic Software Delivery) image format.

This image is known as install.ESD, and Windows 10 downloads it on your computer, every time you install a new Windows 10 release. 

To create our custom ISO file, we’re going to take advantage of the install.ESD file. This file is usually stored the hidden $WINDOWS.~BT folder, there’s an easy way to find.

Once you’ve found the install.ESD file, you’re going to need a program called ESD Decrypter, to create your own ISO file.

But first, we have to mention that this utility is a third-party program, so you’ll be using it on your own risk.

Now that we know what’s required, let’s create some ISO files:

  1. Download the ESD Decrypter (from the link above), and extract it anywhere on your computer
  2. Now, go to the Settings app > Updates & security > Check for updates
  3. Let Windows Update download and install the new buildcreate-windows-10-iso
  4. Once the build is installed, DON’T restart your computer to install it
  5. Go to File Explorer > This PC, and open a partition on which your system is installed (usually C:)
  6. Click the View tab on File Explorer, and check Hidden items option to see the $WINDOWS.~BT folder
  7. Open the $WINDOWS.~BT, and find the Sources folder
  8. Find the Install.ESD file, right-click it, and choose Copy
  9. Paste the Install.ESD file in the folder where you extracted the ESD Decrypter utility filescreate-windows-10-iso-2
  10. Right-click the decrypt.cmd file, and Run as Administrator
  11. n the ESD Decrypter Script user interface, type 2 to select the Create full ISO with Compressed install.esd option and press Enter to begin the processcreate-windows-10-iso-3
  12. Once the process completes, the ISO file will be created, and ready for mounting

That’s pretty much it, once you’ve created a ISO file using this method, you can mount it on a USB flash drive, using a tool like Rufus, and install it on your PC, or a virtual machine.

If you have any questions, and comments, please let us know in the comment section below.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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