Yesterday, Microsoft announced that pirated versions of Windows will be able to upgrade to Windows 10. This means that anyone with a pirated version of Windows 7 or 8 will be eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free during the first year of its launch, just like those with a genuine copy.
Since Microsoft is providing Windows 10 “as a service”, pirates would then be able to install all the subsequent feature updates to Windows without having to pay for anything. Originally, this was thought to be part of some grand plan to get as many people as possible upgraded to Windows 10, so that Microsoft could then maximize on profits. That may still be the case, but Microsoft has reportedly confirmed that while pirated versions of Windows 7 and 8 with non-genuine licenses can be upgraded to Windows 10, they will not be upgraded to a genuine license.
“We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible. 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 mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade. According to industry experts, use of pirated software, including Non-Genuine Windows, results in a higher risk of malware, fraud (identity theft, credit card theft, etc), public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions.”
Pirates upgrading to Windows 10 will likely face the same 30-day trial experience where once that period of time expires, users will not be able to log into their PCs. It is yet to be seen whether Microsoft will include added limitations to non-genuine Windows 10 installs or implement stricter security measures to prevent piracy in the OS itself. We have reached out to Microsoft for more info and will update this post should we get a reply.
Is Microsoft doing enough to put a stop to piracy, especially in regions where piracy runs rampant such as China? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, have a go at the poll below. Just to remind you, it's anonymous and we've hidden the results for now. We'll publish them once we get enough votes.