Pirates Will Have To Pay For Windows 10 To Be 'Genuine'

Back in March, you could almost hear all of the jaws being dropped when it was revealed that Microsoft would be offering Windows 10 upgrades for free to those without a legitimate license of a previous version. That, in effect, meant that pirates could upgrade to Microsoft's latest and greatest just like those who paid for their Windows 7 or 8 license.

As surprising as that revelation was, it made sense. Microsoft wants everyone on Windows 10, and proved that it'd do whatever it takes to make that the case. Well, nothing has really changed with the company's stance since that reveal, but a new blog post tips us off to some caveats.

Windows 10 On Surface Pro

Here's a key sentence: "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."

What that means is that if you upgrade from a pirated version of Windows, you won't have a genuine license, and thus Windows would not be activated. You'd also suffer a watermark affixed to the desktop to tell you that you're not genuine, though that sounds like the biggest detriment.

So, free? Yes, but with gotchas. If you're a user of a pirated version of Windows and want to go genuine with Windows 10, you could either purchase a genuine key for Windows 7 or 8 now and upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out, or you could simply purchase the full Windows 10 OS when it's released. Pricing information hasn't yet been revealed, but it seems unlikely that this version would move away from the ~$100 system builders cost that Windows 7 and 8 have had.