Microsoft made waves over the past few days when it said that it will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 from older versions, included pirated copies. However, there’s no such thing as free Windows: the company says it will not support non-genuine systems after they’re updated to Windows 10.
A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica, “With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license…
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“If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade.”
VentureBeat heard from the company that, “Although non-genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license.
Non-genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.”
It’s likely these non-genuine PCs won’t receive security updates, and their Windows installs may expire after a certain period of time.
Microsoft said it will “provide a mechanism for non-genuine Windows 10 PC devices to ‘get genuine’ via the new Windows Store, whether they are upgraded versions of Windows or purchased. We will have details on this as we get closer to launch.”
That’s not a bad idea. By allowing all users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, Microsoft will let customers try the new OS and its features for themselves in a more personal manner than, say, an in-store demo.
If the price is right and the process is simple enough, this move could see many more users going legit with their Windows installs.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said, “The consumer free upgrade offer for Windows 10 applies to qualified new and existing devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. Some editions are excluded from the consumer free upgrade – including Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to other Windows 10 enterprise offerings.”
➤ Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for all users worldwide [Ars Technica]