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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pirates upgrading to Windows 10 won't get a free valid license

One story that circulated a couple of days ago claimed that Microsoft would be giving pirates of their operating system a free upgrade to Windows 10. The news seemed a little strange at the time, considering Microsoft's previous stance on piracy, so it's not hugely surprising to discover that it was too good to be true.
Microsoft has clarified that people who are running a pirated copy of Windows will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 relatively easily. However, their Windows license will remain invalid after the upgrade process is complete, meaning they won't really be getting a "free" upgrade to Windows 10.
This will likely mean that non-genuine users will be subject to anti-piracy countermeasures after the upgrade to Windows 10, if previous versions are anything to go by. In current versions of Windows, Microsoft prevents users from customizing their install or using certain features if it detects a non-genuine copy, unless a crack has been installed.
While users running pirated Windows will still be running pirated Windows after the upgrade to Windows 10, the company is still planning to "re-engage" pirates by making the upgrade path straight-forward. This could help in getting users in heavy piracy regions, such as China, running the same OS as the rest of the world, which in turn could result in higher usage of Microsoft's other services such as Office 365, OneDrive and Bing.
Microsoft will need to carefully balance their re-engagement of pirates and anti-piracy measures. If countermeasures are too strict, users will still resort to cracks to circumvent restrictions, or even decide to stay on the current version of Windows. But if they get it right, they could encourage more people to get in on the new Microsoft ecosystem.

Madhav Biju

Author & Editor

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