Microsoft appears to be blocking Windows 11 and 10 downloads in Russia

Shortly after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, many tech companies announced that they would suspend sales to the country. Among the companies making the announcements are AMD, Intel, TSMC, NVIDIA, Apple, Cisco, Oracle, IBM, PlayStation, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Since that first wave of announcements, various companies have continued to impose stricter limitations on Russia. Although unannounced, it appears that Microsoft further tightened its restrictions on Russia over the weekend.
microsoft blocks downloads windows russia notice news
Opinion of Russian news agency TASS on Telegram

On Sunday, TASS, Russia’s largest state-owned news agency, issued a notice to Telegram stating that “attempts to install Windows 11 and Windows 10 from Microsoft’s website end in error.” (translated by DeepL). The Telegram post also notes that the download completes without issue when connected to a VPN.

microsoft blocks downloads windows russia error news
Error message that appears when trying to download a Windows disk image with a Russian IP address

We were able to confirm this finding by connecting to a VPN server located in Russia and trying to download Windows from the Microsoft website. Not only were we unable to download Windows 10 and 11 installers, but we were also unable to use Windows 8.1, Windows 10 IoT Core, and the Media Feature Pack for Windows 10. Once we moved back to a US based IP, we no longer had problems downloading these installers, even when using the Russian version of the website.

While we were connected to the Russian VPN server, clicking the download button in the Windows 11 setup wizard redirected us to a download page that displayed a 404 error. installed Windows 11, but the tool throws an error with code 0x80072F8F-0x20000 when running it. The error dialog says in Russian: “For some unknown reason, this tool could not run on your computer.” All other download options were showing the error shown in the image above.

Microsoft has yet to make a statement confirming that this behavior is intentional, so we’ll have to see if the company deliberately blocks Russian users from downloading Windows installer tools. Ironically, while it appears that Russians can connect to a VPN server located outside of Russia to circumvent this restriction, the government has banned the use of fifteen different VPN services to prevent citizens from connecting to Internet without going through the federal government. Information system.


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