As the release date for Windows 10 inches closer and closer the web is dotted with a lot of misinformation regarding claims that Microsoft would be giving away free copies of Windows 10. The blame for most of this bad information lies directly at the feet of Microsoft, and their developers, who have made a few statements that in the end aren't entirely accurate.
Looking to clear up one of the biggest rumors; That owners of counterfeit copies of Windows 7 and 8.1 will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 this summer Microsoft offered a statement that should finally lay some of these claims to rest.
"Our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to non-genuine Windows devices," said Terry Myerson, the head of Windows, in a May 15 post on the Windows blog. "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."
Myerson's post, which was entirely dedicated to the topic of Windows 10 and non-genuine licenses, was just the latest in a series of highly confusing statements by Microsoft since March, when it was previously reported that Myerson said pirated copies could be upgraded to the new OS using the free deal. Those statements made at the time led many to believe that non-genuine licenses (aka pirated copies) would be able to upgrade, however they would still be seen as 'illegal' copies. Meaning users wouldn't have a fully working legitimate copy of the new OS.
Even with this newer explanation there seems to be a bit of vagueness as Myerson added the statement that Microsoft would "continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state." In additional comments he also stated that, "when we [MS] can’t verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user" something that sound similar to what we see on Windows now with the Windows 7 Non-Genuine Notifications.
Either way you shake things Microsoft is working harder than ever to get more users to upgrade to their newest software and become legitimate paying customers. Not only are they offering the free upgrade but the company has also said that it's planning to run some "very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers" that will allow people with pirated copies to move to an official version. Specific details of that haven't been announced yet, but that likely won't come until we actually hear about when Windows 10 will arrive. For now, it's still targeted for this summer.