Microsoft Is Testing An Amnesty System For Pirates Upgrading To Windows 10

Windows is one of the most pirated pieces of software in the world. Microsoft knows that. Hell, it even has a massive security team tracking non-genuine copies of the operating system at its Redmond HQ. Microsoft is now making it easier for these OS pirates to get a genuine copy of Windows 10, while also excusing them for going non-genuine in the first place.

Microsoft has updated the world on how its Windows 10 upgrade is going. The short answer? Pretty well: 110 million devices have now been upgraded, and Redmond hopes to attract more with a new, streamlined install process.

Windows 10 is a free upgrade to any Microsoft customer that already has a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8.1. Genuine means that it was paid for, either through a physical retailer or online through a third-party site. Non-genuine means that Microsoft wasn't paid for it. Either it was pirated, stolen or just hasn't gone through the right activation process.

During the Windows 10 upgrade process, Microsoft realised how many non-genuine users went through the upgrade process, only to fail and eventually just give in and buy a license for Windows 10 from the Microsoft Online Store.

With that in mind, Microsoft is now experimenting with a one-click amnesty system that lets non-genuine users upgrade to a genuine version of Windows 10, no questions asked.

Microsoft writes on its blog:

Our free upgrade offer is available to all of our Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers. One of the more interesting learnings from the upgrade is the creative efforts which non-Genuine customers have gone to, to initiate the upgrade process on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 – and then how many have purchased Genuine Windows 10 activation through the Windows 10 store.
Following these learnings, we are going to start an experiment soon in the United States, which we will then evaluate before extending to other countries, to ease the upgrade of non-Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. We’ll offer a one-click opportunity to get Genuine via the Windows Store or by entering an activation code purchased elsewhere. If this turns into a path for most customers to get Genuine, we will expand the experiment. We’d like to welcome as many of these customers as possible to the legitimate Windows ecosystem.

Of course, non-genuine doesn't always mean the OS was stolen or pirated. It could mean that you've lost the activation key for your OEM copy, or you're on a trial version of the OS you've had since launch. Non-genuine users may not always be owned by people who pirated their OS, either. Sometimes a non-genuine user is someone who has been sold a dodgy copy of Windows by a shifty character. Non-genuine users are people too, remember.

Either way, Microsoft is now experimenting with a way to get out of your non-genuine guilt in a single click, with no punishment for you if it turns out you did in fact boost your copy of Windows 7 or 8.1. [Microsoft]