Russian users are reportedly unable to download Windows 10 and Windows 11 as the company continues its crackdown on Western technology.
Users attempting to download ISOs of the latest Windows iterations were greeted with “404 error messages”. Beeping computer (opens in new tab).
Apparently, Russian users can still download the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool, however, according to the website’s sources, it generates the “0x80072F8F-0x20000 error”.
So far it is unclear whether these download problems are due to a technical error by Microsoft or whether it is a conscious decision.
The news comes as Microsoft is rapidly pulling out of the country, the company has stopped reselling its products and services, joining the likes of Apple, Dell, Ericsson and Nokia in the process.
Is there a way out?
Users in Russia can still download the latest versions of Windows if they use a virtual private network or VPN to hide their location.
Regardless of whether this is an intended action by Microsoft, the company has publicly taken a clear pro-Ukrainian stance.
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Microsoft claims it is working closely with cybersecurity officials in Ukraine to protect the country’s government and its infrastructure from Russian cyberattacks and says it helped repel a cyberattack launched against a major Ukrainian broadcaster.
Luckily for Russian Windows users, the US government has reportedly invested heavily in supporting the VPN space in the country.
VPN developers like nthLink, Psiphon and Lantern have seen their funding soar as Russians increasingly turn to VPNs to bypass the increasingly onerous online restrictions imposed on them by their government.
Although the Russian government has a tough stance on VPN usage, that hasn’t stopped the average user from turning to the tools.
The number of VPN users in Russia has apparently skyrocketed since the country’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, with daily downloads of the top 10 most popular VPNs skyrocketing from around 15,000 in mid-February to 475,000 in March.
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