Windows 10 and 11 no longer available for download in Russia

Russian Internet users who want to update Microsoft’s operating system will be disappointed. Windows 10 and 11 are no longer available for download in Russia. If you try anyway, you will see an error message.

This is reported by various media, including BleepingComputer and the Russian state news agency TASS.

Internet users see error messages

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s operating system that was launched in July 2015. Since then, the American hardware and software company has regularly rolled out new updates and patches. The latest version of Microsoft’s operating system is Windows 11. This iteration was announced in June 2021 and has been available to everyone since October of that year. The switch from Windows 10 to 11 is free.

Internet users in Russia who want to upgrade their operating system to Windows 10 or 11 will be disappointed. They are redirected to a Microsoft support page. Instead of the installation file, they see a 404 error there. This means that a web browser is unable to communicate with the respective server. In other words, the installation files are no longer accessible.

This way you can still download Windows 10 and 11 in Russia

BleepingComputer has tested whether the story is correct with the help of a VPN . The tech site chose a Russian server location through the VPN provider and tried to download Windows 10 Update Assistant, Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, and Windows 11 Installation Assistant. In all cases, an error message appeared.

In an effort to get around this, the editors tried to download the operating system ISO files. That also failed: the message appeared that “there was a problem with the request”.

The tech site did manage to download Windows 11 Media Creation Tool. When the installation file was started, an error message still appeared. This one said the following: “For some unknown reason, this tool cannot run on your computer”.

Fortunately, there is a workaround. Russian internet users who use a VPN and select a server located outside of Russia can still download and install Windows 10 and 11.

Russian censorship

Russia has strict censorship. The country has been trying for years to develop its own internet, one that can be completely cut off from and function without the global internet. While the Kremlin does not support VPN services, enforcement agencies do not actively hunt internet users who use them.

Curious about the best VPN providers to get around Russian censorship? Read our background article on this subject.

Microsoft promises to help Russian customers as best it can

That Russian resident can no longer download Windows 10 and 11 comes as no great surprise. Last March, the American hardware and software company announced that it would no longer sell new products and services in Russia. It had everything to do with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it would further reduce its activities in Russia. The company promised to continue to support Russian customers as best it can.

Russian blocks of Tor and VPN services

It is not the first time that the Kremlin has blocked access to services. Since the end of last year, the Tor network can no longer be used from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin considers the web browser a threat to national security. More than 300,000 Russians used this browser to surf the Internet anonymously.

Last June, the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor banned two VPN services : OperaVPN and VyprVPN. In December, six more VPN providers were banned in Russia: Betternet, Lantern, X-VPN, Cloudflare WARP, Tachyon VPN and PrivateTunnel. A total of 15 VPN services are now officially banned in the communist country.

Russia is ramping up cybersecurity

Microsoft security researchers concluded in April that Russia has carried out at least 237 cyberattacks since the war broke out in Ukraine. At least six hacker groups with close ties to the Kremlin are involved. Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) sees a steady increase in spam and phishing campaigns by Russian state hackers.

Russia itself also says that it is regularly the target of ‘cyber aggression’ by Western countries. To show that he means it, Putin recently announced that he will step up his country’s cyber defences. The Russian president also said that domestic hardware and software should play a greater role in the future. “We have been talking about this for a long time, we are working very actively on this, and I hope that the result will be achieved soon,” Putin said.

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