On Sunday, TASS, the largest state-owned Russian news agency, published a notice to Telegram saying that “Attempts to install Windows 11 and Windows 10 from Microsoft's website end with an error” (translated by DeepL). The Telegram message also notes that the download completes without issue while connected to a VPN.
While connected to the Russian VPN server, clicking the download button for the Windows 11 Installation Assistant redirected us to a download page that displayed a 404 error. We were able to download the Windows 11 installation media tool, but, the tool throws an error with the code 0x80072F8F-0x20000 when run. The error dialog says in Russian, “For some unknown reason, this tool failed to run on your computer.” All other download options displayed 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 whether the company is purposefully blocking Russian users from downloading Windows installation tools. Ironically, while it seems that Russians can connect to a VPN server located outside of Russia to get around this restriction, the government has banned the use of fifteen different VPN services in order to prevent citizens from connecting to the internet without going through the Federal Government Information System.