When you upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store, you get a brand new OS. Now you can’t use your original Windows 8.0 install media if you ever need to, since your computer is upgraded to brand new OS. If you care about being able to fresh install or repair your PC for any reason, I suggest you to backup your Windows 8.1 ESD file and convert it in to DVD / ISO for future, or you can shall out hundred dollars to get a Windows 8.1 DVD from Microsoft.
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ESD stands for Electronic Software Download, and for Windows, it means an Encrypted and Highly Compressed WIM (Windows Imaging Format) file. When you request to upgrade to Windows 8.1 using Store, an install.esd file is downloaded in background. The ESD file should be stored in following location C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download\some_random_alphanumeric_folder
Since install.esd is highly encrypted in nature we need a decrypter to decode the file and convert it in to ISO so we can make a DVD installer or USB installer. Following are the instructions to to convert Windows 8.1 install.esd in to DVD ISO
Step 1. Download the esd-decrypter-v3.7z decryption tool from the link given below.
Step 2. Extract the zip file and move it’s contents to a folder with proper path. (e.g. C:\ESD)
Step 3. Copy/Move the downloaded ESD file to the same folder. (e.g. C:\ESD)
Note : It’s recommended to temporary disable Antivirus or protection program so it doesn’t interfere with the process.
Step 4. Watch the following video first for better understanding.
Step 5. Open Command Prompt as administrator and navigate to the folder where you placed .esd file and decrypter.
- Press Windows Key + X andselect Command Prompt (Admin).
- type cd.. to exit a directory and type cd folder_name to enter a directory.
Step 6. Execute the following command.
if all goes well, you will get this screen:
Step 7. Now you have four options to press 1, 2, 3 or 4 key, for our purpose we’ll press 4 to convert ESD file to the standard ISO file like MSDN’s one.
- First option will decrypt the ESD file, then extract (export) the system image (index 4) to a new install.esd file, which can be used with any ready Windows 8.1 ISO replacing install.wim file.
- Second option is similar to 1st option, but it will create a new install.wim file.
- Third option will decrypt the ESD file, then extract (apply) the iso structure, then extract (export) the boot.wim file then the system image to a new install.esd files, and at last create Full ready to use ISO file.
- Fourth option is similar to the 3rd option, but it will create install.wim file instead of install.esd.
this is the most preferable option, which substantially will convert ESD file to the standard ISO file like MSDN’s one.
Step 8. Now sit back, relax and watch. It may take up to 20 – 40 minutes, depends upon your hardware.
Step 9. Once the process finishes, go to C:/ESD and you’ll find an ISO file, you can burn this on to a DVD or make a bootable USB drive.