This week Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would launch this summer, and that it would be a free update for just about anyone running Windows 7 or later… including folks running unlicensed versions of Windows.
If that sounded too good to be true, well it’s not. Microsoft really will let folks running pirated copies of Windows upgrade to Windows 10. What they won’t do is provide a valid license key: unlicensed versions of Windows will remain unlicensed even after the update.
In Microsoft speak, “although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the state of the license.”
In other words you can upgrade your pirated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10, but it’ll still be a pirated copy of the operating system. Microsoft says that could lead to poor performance, non-working features, or a higher risk of malware or fraud.
But by allowing even folks running pirated copies of Windows to update, Microsoft will probably get more people to upgrade to the latest version of its operating system more quickly. Expanding the user base is good for Microsoft since it increases the number of people familiar with the latest user interface as well as other Microsoft apps and services that will be built into the operating system (although I suspect some features may not work properly without a valid license key).