Microsoft has announced that pirated Windows OS users will not receive the free Windows 10 upgrade, and will have to be paid for. Pirated Windows 10 users will be watermarked, reminding them of their non-genuine status.
Microsoft’s Terry Myerson stated in a blog post that free upgrade to Windows 10 will not be applicable to pirated users. Myerson had planned a method to identify ‘problematic’ computers running pirated versions of Windows. The Redmond-based giant will create exclusive watermarks for marking the host devices as illegitimate, after the OS is installed.
“Non-genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner,” wrote Myerson.
In case the devices are new and carry a watermark, Microsoft advises users to return them to the retailer. Current Windows users are required to upgrade legal OS increment, for successful installation of Windows 10. Myerson mentioned that non-genuine Windows have a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of personal information and poor performance of features.
Microsoft is known to display a regular reminder that the OS is a pirated version in Windows 7, and only critical updates are given. The company is likely to use a similar strategy for Windows 10. Microsoft had earlier announced that it was determined to fight pirates in China by offering a free upgrade. Though the new announcement is likely to cause disappointment, Microsoft still offers a low-cost upgrade even for non-genuine users.
When we can’t verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user. If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device. Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions. Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.
Microsoft stated that it is offering very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers to customers running Windows in non-genuine state. The move is aimed at making pirates pay though they are likely to find a way to remove the watermark. Microsoft could have opted to offer the version to pirates for a limited time that could have given them a chance to fight piracy.[ Source ]