Russia blocks Windows 10 and Windows 11 downloads
As part of the company’s ongoing war on Western technology, Russian users are supposedly no longer able to download Windows 10 and Windows 11. According to BleepingComputer, users who attempted to download ISOs of the latest versions of Windows were met with “Error 404” warnings (opens in a new tab). According to the website’s sources, Russian users can still download the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool, however, this causes the “0x80072F8F-0x20000 problem.”
It’s unclear whether Microsoft’s download problems are the result of a technological error or a deliberate decision. The announcement comes as Microsoft prepares to leave the country; the business has halted new product and service sales, joining Apple, Dell, Ericsson, and Nokia in doing so. Users in Russia who utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide their location can still download the newest versions of Windows.
Whether or not this was a deliberate decision on Microsoft’s part, the company has openly expressed its support for Ukraine. Microsoft claims to be working closely with Ukrainian cybersecurity experts to help safeguard the country’s government and infrastructure from Russian intrusions and claims to have assisted in the thwarting of a hack against a major Ukrainian broadcaster.
Fortunately for Russian Windows users, the US government is said to be heavily investing in the country’s VPN market. VPN firms such as nthLink, Psiphon, and Lantern have witnessed a surge in investment as Russians increasingly turn to VPNs to get around their government’s increasingly onerous online restrictions.
Despite the fact that the Russian government has taken a hard line against VPN use, the typical user continues to gravitate to the services. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, the number of VPN users in the nation appears to have exploded, with daily downloads of the top 10 VPNs jumping from roughly 15,000 in mid-February to 475,000 in March.