It appears that Microsoft has started to block Windows ISO downloads that originate from Rufus. Rufus is a popular open source tool to create bootable media.
Options to download Windows ISO images was introduced in Rufus 3.5, which the developer released in 2019. The ability to download Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows 11 ISO images was a welcome feature addition, as it made the process of creating Windows boot media more comfortable
The developer has added more features to Rufus in the meantime that improved the program for some Windows administrators and users significantly. Options to bypass Windows 11 system requirements during in-place upgrades and to create local accounts instead of Microsoft accounts, and to deny privacy questions outright, were added in 2022.
Downloads are powered by the Fido script in Rufus, and this worked fine ever since the functionality was introduced. The script pulled download information from Microsoft servers and downloads were provided by Microsoft.
Now, Rufus users are receiving error messages on attempts to download Windows 8, 10 or 11 using Rufus.
The current error message is displayed after selecting an operating system version in the downloader. It states:
Error: Download of Windows ISOs is no longer available due to Microsoft having altered their website to prevent it.
Windows 7 ISO downloads are still supported and work just like before. It is unclear why Microsoft is not blocking Windows 7 downloads as well.
Microsoft is still offering Windows ISO image downloads from its own website. A visit to the Windows 11 Download page on the Microsoft website continues to provide users with ISO images when they request them.
A link to a thread on GitHub is provided where the matter is discussed. According to the information published there, Microsoft made a deliberate change to prevent downloads from any other source than its own website.
The Fido 1.30 changelog confirms the change as well:
Disable Windows 8? Windows 11 ISO downloads
It appears that Microsoft purposefully made their download servers hostile to our script, and trying to fix this is likely to take a long time…
The developer is asking for help to find a way around this limitation. While it is possible to download official ISO images from Microsoft, downloads are limited to specific builds only.
With Rufus and Fido, users could choose different versions for download. Another advantage was that the entire process was integrated in a single program.
We contacted Microsoft to find out more about the issue, but have not heard back yet.
Now You: have you used Rufus in the past? Why do you think Microsoft is blocking downloads?