Microsoft has announced that pirated copies of Windows 7 and 8.1 will be upgraded free to Windows 10 but will stay in a non-genuine state until paid for.
If you thought that pirated copies of Windows 7 or 8.1 would be getting a free upgrade to Windows 10, you’re both right – and wrong.
What will happen is that copies of Windows 7 or 8.1 in a ‘non-genuine’ state will still be offered an in-place upgrade to Windows 10 once Microsoft finally releases the finished code, and if the upgrade is accepted, Windows 10 will be installed.
The catch is that the new copy of Windows 10 will remain in a non-genuine state, bringing you up to date in terms of the OS but with pesky notifications and whatever limitations Microsoft will impose on non-genuine Windows 10 users.
The news comes in a Blogging Windows post by Terry Myerson entitled “Genuine Windows and Windows 10”.
There is some good news for some (but not all) pirates however – the carrot of a special deal to make your copy of Windows 10 genuine.
Myerson says “In addition, in partnership with some of our valued OEM partners, we are planning very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers for their customers running one of their older devices in a Non-Genuine state. Please stay tunes to learn more from our partners on the specifics of their offers.”
This statement appears to be very clearly worded very carefully to exclude people who have built their own computers and have a copy of Windows 7 lying around hoping to get a super-cheap Windows 10 upgrade.
What it all means is that Windows 10 is not free for everyone. If you don’t already have a licensed copy of Windows 7 or 8.1, you will need to buy Windows.
Perhaps Microsoft will, in the end, make a special offer available across the board to get pirates upgraded to Windows 10 as inexpensively and quickly as possible, but at this early stage, we’re in the ‘careful language’ phase to keep OEMs happy.
It’s also interesting to note that Microsoft’s language around the free Windows 7 and 8.1 upgrade to Windows 10 doesn’t specifically mention Windows 8.
If you’re still running Windows 8 – please, for the love of God or your chosen deity, go to the Windows Store and get the free Windows 8.1 update.
Not only will you then be easily able to upgrade to Windows 10, but your Windows 8 experience will be nicely improved when upgraded to Windows 8.1.
So, with Microsoft now clarifying that pirates will not be gifted a completely free copy of Windows 10, the cat and mouse game of hackers wanting an activated free copy anyway will undoubtedly continue as it has for a very long time now.
Until then, Windows 10 gets ever closer to be finalised for launch, although it will never actually be ‘final’ as Microsoft will continue updating it forever – or at least as long as the company is around and we have electricity to run our computers.