Earlier this year, Microsoft said that owners of PCs with licensed versions of Windows 7 and/or Windows 8.1 would be able to update to Windows 10 for free for a year after the OS is launched sometime later this summer. Today, the company's head of the Operating System division, Terry Myerson, offered an olive branch to those PC owners who are running a "Non-Genuine" version of Windows to get upgraded to Windows 10 as well.
In March, Myerson hinted that pirates would also be able to update to Windows 10 for free, but then the company backtracked on that move, saying that even if pirates do update their old non-licensed version of Windows to Windows 10, they will still be using an un-licensed software product.
While those PC users with a "Non-Genuine" version of Windows are still not eligible for the free update to Windows 10, Myerson did give them hope to get a cheap upgrade in a blog post today:
"Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together. While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we've always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state. In addition, in partnership with some of our valued OEM partners, we are planning very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers for their customers running one of their older devices in a Non-Genuine state. Please stay tuned to learn more from our partners on the specifics of their offers."
Myerson also stated what people who use a non-licensed version of Windows 10 will see on their desktop:
"When we can't verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user. If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device. Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions. Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner."