Microsoft backtracks, no free Windows 10 for pirates, beta testers

  • Siladitya Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 23, 2015 16:38 IST

Microsoft continued its series of embarrassing backtracks regarding who'll get Windows 10 for free over the weekend, thoroughly confusing users of the upcoming operating system's beta programme.

The software giant first announced on Friday that any registered users of its Insiders beta version of Windows 10 will get a free upgrade to the full version when it is released in July. Confusingly, the company later updated its blog post on the issue, making it seem that only people upgrading from Windows 7 or 8 will get a free upgrade.

The confusion further snowballed when Microsoft executive Gabriel Aul, in a series of tweets, stated in no uncertain terms that anyone “running a prerelease build connected with a registered MSA (Microsoft Account)” will remain activated on the final build of Windows 10.

Over the weekend, Microsoft again changed the original blog post to remove the part about remaining activated.

The reason seems to be that company officials don't want to enable those with non-genuine Windows to get a genuine copy via the Insider channel. The post said as long as users are running an Insiders build on or before July 29 and are upgrading from XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, they will get Windows 10 for free.

Those not in the Insiders program will be able to get Windows 10 for the first year it's available for free, but only if they are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

But matters did not end there. Microsoft updated it's blog post again on Monday. According to the post, those who came into the Insiders programme from anything other than a genuine Windows 7 or 8.1 build will not be able to get a free copy of Windows 10 RTM once it's available.

They will be able to continue as Windows Insiders and get Insider builds after RTM. The requirement for a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 as a prerequisite for the first-year-free deal for Windows 10 applies to everyone, Insiders and non-Insiders alike. This appears to be the best interpretation of what Microsoft's updated blog post says.

Insiders who want to continue to get preview builds will need to pair their Windows 10 test machines with Microsoft Accounts as of the next Windows 10 preview release.

Microsoft's upcoming oeprating system, which launches on July 29, aims to change how updates work. While the Pro and Enterprise editions will be able to defer updates, Windows 10 Home users will not be able to avail the option, with updates being downloaded and installed automatically as soon as they're available.


If you are running genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1: You'll get a free upgrade to Windows 10's final release when it comes out on July 29th.

If you are running Windows 10 Insider Preview: You'll be able to use the Insider version even after Windows 10 releases and keep getting newer versions of Windows before they are officially released. The catch, however, is that you'll be a perpetual beta-tester.

If you are running Windows XP or Vista: No full version of Windows 10 for you, you'll have to buy the upgrade.

If you are running a pirated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1: You're out of luck, you'll have to dish out cash to get the full version of Windows 10.

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