Microsoft Reiterates that Pirates Will Not Get Windows 10 for Free

Microsoft Reiterates that Pirates Will Not Get Windows 10 for Free

In a confusing post that was meant to clarify … something … Microsoft reiterated today that software pirates will not be given free upgrades to fully-supported versions of Windows. We knew this already. And you have to really read this post to find something new.

I’m not trying to be a jerk about this. Seriously. But this is mostly an assortment of previously-known facts.

Let’s step through it.

With Windows 10, we have extended an offer to our Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Once a customer upgrades, they will continue to receive ongoing Windows innovation and security updates for free, for the supported lifetime of that device.

Right. Microsoft announced this quite some time ago, and it’s well understood.

These customers purchased their Genuine Windows license from our valued OEM partners, which ensures Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with. Windows 10 offers our customers an even more secure and modern experience. Bringing all of our customers to Windows 10 improves the ecosystem for developers which makes Windows better for all of our customers. We are working hard to make the in-place upgrade experience from Windows 7 or Windows 8, to Windows 10, seamless for the customer. Throughout the Windows world, I am humbled by the excitement being associated with this opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10.

Lots of text there, but the long and short of it is that most customers get Windows with a new PC. We get why keeping customers up to date is a good idea. And Microsoft is going to support in-place upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.1. Right. Got it.

When we can’t verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user. If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device. Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions. Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.

Pirated—or suspected pirated—versions of Windows are not supported. They never have been. So nothing new here.

Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together. While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we’ve always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state. The free Windows 10 upgrade offer does not apply to pirates, which I wrote about two months ago. If you do upgrade a pirated version of Windows to Windows 10, it will remain “non genuine” and is thus still pirated and still not supported. We knew this. Here is what Terry Myerson said about it two months ago.

“We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible,” a Microsoft statement notes. “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. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade.”

Then, finally, at the end, there is what appears to be something new:

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 tuned to learn more from our partners on the specifics of their offers.

So this could be new. But Microsoft already lets its OEM partners sell something called the Get Genuine Kit to customers, which enables them to go legit. These “attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers” are likely just new versions of the Kit.

Ah well.

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