Rufus and the controversy over Microsoft’s blocking of Windows downloads

Rufus and the controversy over Microsoft’s blocking of Windows downloads

Rufus is a free and open source application aimed at creating bootable USB drives. Last week, users reported the loss of one of its features due to the microsoft lock in Windows downloads from their servers.

If you follow us regularly, you must know it perfectly because it is the tool we use for all the tutorials and software tests that we publish. Although there are other similar applications (for Windows, macOS, Linux or other systems), when it comes to handling Windows images in our experience Rufus is the best option available.

Clarify that Rufus can ‘burn’ images from local storage media that the user has previously downloaded or you can download them from the same application connecting to official Microsoft servers by installing a Fido script. This last function has been the one that has stopped working in recent days.

Gossips say that it has been Microsoft’s response (as “punishment”) to the arrival of one of the features that Rufus added in its latest versions and that allows bypass the requirement to use Microsoft accounts (MSA) in the upcoming Windows 11 22H2 release. In this same section, you can also uncheck the TPM and Secure Boot, the two most controversial hardware requirements added to Windows 11.

Regarding the accounts, mentioned (informally) as a reason for the block, to say that Microsoft has insisted that we use their accounts against the use of local accounts to sell their own applications and services in the cloud. You already know our opinion on this: both types of accounts have their own advantages, but it should be the user who chooses freely and not an imposition of the supplier.

Block downloads in Rufus

The result has been that Rufus users have been receiving error messages when trying to download Windows 8, 10 or 11 using the mentioned function from within the application itself, as you can see in the cover image. From the authors of the script confirmed the block: «Microsoft made a deliberate change to prevent downloads from any source other than your own website».

In the GitHub discussion thread (in addition to putting Microsoft on the spot) they asked other developers for help re-enabling the feature. And it seems that they have achieved it since a new update of Fido already allows to skip the blockade.

We have just tested it and Rufus works perfectly, both in the ‘burning’ of stored images and in the downloads integrated in the application.

Of course, you can always pre-download system images from the Microsoft website although the integrated download in Rufus saves us that step. The Redmond firm has not commented on the case and the allegations of “deliberate blocking” cannot be confirmed, but it has been a unnecessary controversy Bearing in mind that this additional function of Rufus, the only thing it does is connect to official Microsoft servers, as can be seen in its source code.

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