There’s been a lot of confusion about Windows 10 recently: first Microsoft said it would be a free upgrade. Then, it suggested even pirates could upgrade to genuine versions of Windows. That’s not actually true.
Microsoft’s Terry Myerson took to the Windows blog to try and clear things up. Here’s the deal: if Windows can’t verify that your PC is running a version of Windows without a genuine licence, your desktop will be marred with a watermark, warning you of your PC’s unofficial state. “Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information and a higher risk for poor performance and feature malfunctions,” Myerson writes. “Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.”
There you have it: pirated versions of Windows are not supported by Microsoft — which means no free upgrade for you, sneaky person. You might still get a break though: Myerson says that devices from certain OEM partners may qualify for special “attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers,” so upgrading won’t be free, but it might be cheap. [Microsoft]