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No Free Lunch: Microsoft Wants Pirates to Pay for Genuine Windows 10

In early March, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced that it would make Windows 10 a free upgrade for users running pirated versions of the operating system. While this would be an interesting move, especially considering the high rates of piracy in some markets like China, it turns out this out this is not the case.

In a recent posting on the Windows blog, Microsoft crushes hope for those looking to upgrade their pirated copy of Windows.

Will Windows 10 be free for pirates?

“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.”

This means that users with pirated copies of Windows will be able to upgrade to Windows 10, however the upgraded version of Windows would not be valid. There will also be a watermark on the screen alerting the user to this and suggesting that they upgrade. It’s not yet known if Microsoft will cripple some features of the operating system after a certain amount of time.

For those that have genuine version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 nothing has changed: you will still be able to receive the free upgrade.

Microsoft has publicly said that there will be fairly generous incentives to upgrade to Windows 10.