Windows Enterprise Desktop

Mar 18 2015   12:26PM GMT

All Pirates Forgiven in Upcoming Free Windows 10 Upgrade

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Windows 10
Windows Upgrades

A Reuters story from the WinHEC conference in China has got the Windows press and blog environment abuzz enough that it’s being widely re-reported in most such outlets. In the story, Terry Meyerson, the chief exec for Microsoft’s OS unit announced that Microsoft will offer free upgrades to all Windows users, regardless of whether they’re upgrading from a legitimately licensed older copy of the OS, or something else (such as a pirated copy of the OS, for example). Meyerson is quoted as follows: “We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,”  According to the story, Microsoft’s “plan is to ‘re-engage’ with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China.”

Given the high degree of piracy in China — Ars Technica quotes a BSA study that claims that “74 percent of commercial software in China is unlicensed” — this is actually a very clever move that will let MS find out who’s using their software and, hopefully, bring them into the fold of paying customers for add-ons such as Office 365 subscriptions, media subscriptions, and so forth. In addition, Ed Bott over at ZDNet followed up with MS and reported further that “…the plan to allow free upgrades for non-genuine copies of Windows applies to all markets and is not limited to China.” Bott even released this helpful upgrade matrix chart that shows how the upgrades will go, incidentally also revealing that Windows 7 users are eligible for the free upgrade as well.


Windows 7 and 8 versions will be eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade, as shown. [Source: Neowin via ZDNet]

This is interesting news, and should be well-received globally, especially in those parts of the world where piracy is overlooked or tolerated. I think it’s a great way for MS to hook up with such users, and could redound to their benefit in the longer term. At any rate, it should be very interesting indeed to see how it all plays out and if it will ultimately pay off.

4  Comments on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.
  • 8346782657stop
    Meanwhile, we in the US will have to pay $600 per upgrade!
    60 pointsBadges:
  • ymanana
    I thought it was free for the first 12 months?
    10 pointsBadges:
  • zocanta
    All users means all....
    30 pointsBadges:
  • Ed Tittel

    Looks like I jumped the gun on the forgiveness part. According to follow-up from MS, while pirated ("non-genuine") copies of Windows may indeed be upgraded, the results will remain as "non-genuine" as the originals. That's not forgiveness, nor does it extend a legitimate license to Win10 for those who had none for earlier Windows versions. See Paul Thurrott's excellent discussion for further details and ruminations: "Sorry Microsoft is Not Giving Free Windows 10 to Pirates" (


    13,800 pointsBadges:

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: