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People running pirated Windows copies can still upgrade for free

Microsoft has always had somewhat of a laid back policy when it comes to dealing with people who pirate its Windows operating system. Aside from some easy to bypass authentication features, Microsoft did very little to prevent people from using pirated copies of Windows and even went so far as to acknowledge that there are plenty of people that use pirated copies and that’s fine by them. Now the company is taking things a step further by actually offering what appears to be free Windows 10 upgrades to people using pirated versions of Windows.  

Microsoft will allow Windows pirates to upgrade to Windows 10, but it’s likely still hoping to get them to pay. Microsoft tells The Verge that people with pirated copies of Windows will still be considered to have unofficial copies after the update. If they want to go official, they can — they’ll just have to get it through the Windows Store. “We will provide a mechanism for non-genuine Windows 10 PC devices to ‘get genuine’ via the new Windows Store, whether they are upgraded versions of Windows or purchased,” a Microsoft spokesperson says. Microsoft notes that its upgrade practice will be consistent globally. There’s been confusion around the offer to pirates since Microsoft first discussed it yesterday. It was originally reported that pirates will be able to upgrade for free, but Microsoft has declined to explicitly confirm this. It certainly sounds like pirates will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost — the alternative, that they could pay to upgrade to a copy of Windows that still isn’t considered genuine, would be strange — but it’s quite possible that Microsoft will include some restrictions on unofficial copies that have yet to be mentioned. It could be a limited offer, include a trial period, or have some other promotion around acquiring a genuine license.

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