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Sorry, Pirates: Microsoft Says No Free Windows 10 For You

Windows 10 is going to be a free upgrade for existing users ... unless you're a software pirate.

Microsoft made waves in January when it announced that Windows 10, the next version of its desktop operating system, would be released as a free upgrade to anyone running Windows 7 or 8. But anyone with "non-genuine" installations of Windows, which is a nice way of saying pirated copies, will not receive that privilege.

"Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner," Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of operating systems, explained in a blog post on Friday. He also mentioned that non-genuine Windows 10 installs will get a nice watermark on the desktop to warn you of the situation.

However, not everyone using pirated Windows software is a pirate themselves. They could easily have gotten a computer from an unlicensed dealer, or bought a used laptop on Craigslist, or otherwise been prevented from getting a "Genuine" copy. For them, there is hope, Myerson writes: "We are planning very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers for their customers running one of their older devices in a Non-Genuine state." So if you're harboring an illicit or somehow illegitimate copy of Windows, you'll at least be able to upgrade safely.

Which of the seven versions of Windows 10 will be on offer is yet to be announced, but no matter what, it'll probably come with Candy Crush installed.



--Devin Coldewey