Microsoft: Pirates can upgrade to Windows 10 for free, but a desktop watermark will haunt them

Microsoft: Pirates can upgrade to Windows 10 for free, but a desktop watermark will haunt them

When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, the company also mentioned that the offer will also be given to those running a pirated/unlicensed/non-genuine version of Windows.

This of course was upsetting, particularly to those who actually paid for a Windows license. Microsoft then clarified that while all Windows 7 and 8 users will be eligible for the Windows 10 upgrade, those with non-genuine copies will not get genuine Windows 10, and will still have to purchase a license to activate it.

Today, in a recent blog post, Microsoft provided a bit more clarification. The software giant claims that the decision to upgrade non-genuine licenses to Windows 10 for free was made for the benefit of the platform as a whole.

“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.”

Microsoft: Pirates can upgrade to Windows 10 for free, but a desktop watermark will haunt them

Microsoft however indicated that those upgrading for a non-genuine license will see a desktop watermark in Windows 10 notifying users of their current license state. This is also done to prevent retailers from selling machines with non-genuine Windows installed.

“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.”

The company also warns of the risks of using non-genuine versions of Windows, as users may face an increased risk of malware, fraud, hacks and public exposure of personal information, declining system performance and broken features. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t clarify if there are plans to implement any feature limitations as Windows 10 is still in development.

We’ll hopefully learn more on this as Windows 10 nears launch. Stay tuned to WinBeta for more and let us know what limitations you think Microsoft should implement in non-genuine Windows 10 in the comments below.

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