Free Windows 10 is not really going to be free for everyone.
Computers that aren’t running a genuine, paid-for earlier version of Windows will not be eligible for the upgrade, Windows boss Terry Myerson clarified in a blog post on Friday.
When Microsoft had announced the free upgrade, the company had indicated even pirated versions of Windows would be eligible for the upgrade.
Then it backtracked. And now it has clarified.
Myerson confirmed that users of bootlegged versions of Windows will be warned with a watermark and regularly asked to upgrade, a practice known as nagware.
Microsoft has complicated licensing enforcement tech. Sometimes people are using a correctly licensed version but Microsoft has made a mistake and thinks it’s a pirated copy. Sometimes a person has bought a new PC and the manufacturer didn’t install the licence correctly. And, then again, sometimes it really is a bootlegged version of Windows, which has been a big problem in some countries, like China.
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.