Pirates upgrading to Windows 10 won't get a free valid license

By Scorpus ยท 17 replies
Mar 20, 2015
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  1. One story that circulated a couple of days ago claimed that Microsoft would be giving pirates of their operating system a free upgrade to Windows 10. The news seemed a little strange at the time, considering Microsoft's previous stance on piracy, so it's not hugely surprising to discover that it was too good to be true.

    Microsoft has clarified that people who are running a pirated copy of Windows will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 relatively easily. However, their Windows license will remain invalid after the upgrade process is complete, meaning they won't really be getting a "free" upgrade to Windows 10.

    This will likely mean that non-genuine users will be subject to anti-piracy countermeasures after the upgrade to Windows 10, if previous versions are anything to go by. In current versions of Windows, Microsoft prevents users from customizing their install or using certain features if it detects a non-genuine copy, unless a crack has been installed.

    While users running pirated Windows will still be running pirated Windows after the upgrade to Windows 10, the company is still planning to "re-engage" pirates by making the upgrade path straight-forward. This could help in getting users in heavy piracy regions, such as China, running the same OS as the rest of the world, which in turn could result in higher usage of Microsoft's other services such as Office 365, OneDrive and Bing.

    Microsoft will need to carefully balance their re-engagement of pirates and anti-piracy measures. If countermeasures are too strict, users will still resort to cracks to circumvent restrictions, or even decide to stay on the current version of Windows. But if they get it right, they could encourage more people to get in on the new Microsoft ecosystem.

    Permalink to story.

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  2. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,325   +1,426

    I've never understood where exactly MS stands on piracy. When I was younger and poorer I would pirate windows and it always surprised me just HOW EASY it was to do. Not only that, but features like getting updates from MS themselves was trouble free and all you had to do was run an "activator" that literally took 2 seconds. I've pirated games with more aggressive DRM and those cost 1/3 the price. With assassins creed 2 that I had to set up a fake activation server on my computer so the game could run and I still couldn't receive updates. Hell, I didn't even pirate AS2, just EA's activation servers kept crashes so I had to crack it just to play a game I paid for.

    On one hand people who pirate windows want to use windows software, so I can understand the soft stance MS might carry. At the same time if they were serious about piracy it should be easy to thwart their efforts by not allowing them easy access to updates.
    Auth3ntic0 and wastedkill like this.
  3. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 338   +203

    The first and number one effect of DRM is it inconveniences paying customers. After that, it may or may not work to stop piracy. I think a lot of folks support DRM and anti piracy measures without knowing about the unintended consequences of the DRM they support. One by one DRM measures pop up with much hooplah and fanfare to systematically fall off after a year or two of nonstop headaches. There's no shortage of types of DRM that have come and gone.

    I think there's no silver bullet DRM and I believe that having a really great distribution model and pricing structure do more in the long run than any kind of strict enforcement of payment. Make it ridiculously easy to buy the product, and price the product appropriately and you will not have a problem with piracy. I don't crack video games because A. Steam makes it really easy to purchase and install the games, B. Prices on steam are priced appropriately. There's no point for me to steal a game when the legitimate way is easier. I do however have a ton of other cracked software on my machines which is all astronomically priced, and full of ridiculous DRM. What does that say? I dunno, Steam just does it better.
    Auth3ntic0 likes this.
  4. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,023   +662

    I have copies of Win7 and a copy of Win8 - all with their roots going back to Windows 3.0 / Win95 / Win98. These are all proper upgrade 'genuine' copies. I truly hate the struggle to install the current OS when I have to upgrade or replace a CPU or a mainboard or an HDD.

    I am hoping that Win10 will improve on this, but I keep my expectations low.
  5. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 168   +45

    I have a legitimate Windows 7 product key, but I'm worried they won't accept it. It's a product key that I got for free when I was in school. I installed Windows 7 with that key a couple years ago and it worked fine except recently I replaced the motherboard and hard drive in my desktop and reinstalled Windows, but Windows would no longer accept the key I have. I ended up trying the automated phone activation, which surprisingly worked to activate my copy of Windows. I'm just worried that is it still somehow going to mess up during the upgrade process to Windows 10.
  6. Kezhen Gao

    Kezhen Gao TS Member Posts: 24   +20

    I am in the exact same position as you, I believe we should be able to upgrade to Windows 10. It is afterall a legitimate key
  7. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    I've recycled my windows 7 key probably a dozen times. Every so often I have to call to reactivate, it's always worked.
    ffry444 likes this.
  8. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Give it a couple days after Win 10 is out and it'll be cracked, or some form of activator will be out to extend the trial mode, or something. Windows is too big a product to have it secured 100% with DRM, they'd make it too inconvenient for those who already can't figure out how to press a couple buttons and input a CD key.
  9. Nima304

    Nima304 TS Guru Posts: 365   +81

    So they allow all the pirates to upgrade their OS, then a month after Win10 is out, all pirated versions get all their data wiped and the operating systems bricked.
  10. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Maniac Posts: 269   +111

    Yep, you're fine. All MSDNAA/Dreamspark keys are equivalent to fully licensed retail keys (I've been using them since Windows XP).

    Sometimes you have to use phone activation for some reason (last time I had to reactivate Windows 7 just because I changed the polling rate on my keyboard a couple of times (...)). It has nothing to do with the ability to upgrade to Windows 10.
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    There is a difference between OEM versions of Windows and full retail versions of Windows. I believe the activation problems described are typical of OEM versions.
  12. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,023   +662

    Perhaps, but in my case my original purchase was a full retail copy (my shelf has OS back to MSDOS 5), but then a string of upgrades. The 'upgrade' fights you when you install - requiring 'proof' of prior version - and it is just a PIA. On top of it, I'm getting to be an 'old guy' and that means I get cranky with the B*llsh*t.
  13. LOL, pirates will use hacked Windows 20
  14. 10 sorry meh
  15. BadThad

    BadThad TS Booster Posts: 140   +74

    IMO using a pirate version of your OS is just plain dumb. Why worry and go though the hassle when we're talking $100 for life? Considering the importance of the OS, I'll NEVER mess with pirating it. It's not worth the trouble.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  16. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    Why if they get their anto piracy right will it encourage more customers? How many people buy windows and think ohhh I like this ... it stops pirates...
  17. So basically if they say I'm running a pirate copy of windows 7 or 8 they will write over it and say "ha ha fck you mr pirate" and give me a borked windows 10?
    Then I will re-install my pirate win7 or 8 again and all will be well? Bit of a pointless exercise tbh.
  18. Well, us dummies will just have to soldier on, just as we have done for the last 15 years without a single problem on multiple hardware configurations and pc's without a single incident related to our pirate copies of windows xp, vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. The rest of you smart guys can just keep on paying to have Microsoft bum seks you to death every time you change some hardware!

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