There is a lot of confusion over whether Windows 10 will be offered for free to existing Windows users or not. Initially, when Terry Myerson, who heads the operating system group in Microsoft, talked about the free Windows 10 he said that the offer would be for everyone, including those who run pirated versions of Windows on their computers.
But that was such an explosive statement that soon Microsoft backtracked. Sort of. It clarified that the free Windows would be only available to people who see the update button for Windows 10 appear on their computer. At the same time, the company was ambiguous in its message. It did not explain who would get to see the update and who wouldn’t.
But then again, Microsoft clarified. It said that only users who have genuine versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be offered the free update. This, however, came at the same time when someone from Microsoft reportedly said all users would get the update but people who run pirated versions of Windows would still get pop ups telling them that they run pirated version, even after the update to Windows 10.
And now finally, there is the report that Windows 10 would be available for free to only the users who run genuine version of Windows 7 and Windows 8. But it will also be available for free to users who are already part of Windows Insider Program irrespective of whether they run genuine version of previous Windows or pirated copies.
Confused? We too are.
But we think the Microsoft’s stance is fairly clear. All you need to do is read between the lines. Microsoft would offer free Windows 10 to individual users — enterprise users, offices etc need not apply — but it can’t explicitly say so. The reason why it can’t just go out and say that Windows 10 is free for everyone is because doing that would be akin to rewarding wrong behaviour. It can’t be seen offering goodies to people who run pirated versions of Windows. Not only such steps runs counter to basic morality — bad deeds should not go unpunished — but it will also cause heartburn among people who have paid for Windows, people who have actually given money to Microsoft.
With Windows 10 Microsoft is looking to make a clean break from the past in terms of how it sells and uses Windows for its business. This probably is also the reason why it wants Windows 10 to reach as many computers as possible and the way to do so is by offering free copies.
If you see the current stance of Microsoft, it is clear that the company wants to forgive people who run pirated versions of its operating system. This is why it has probably brought up the issue of Windows Insider Program. This Windows Insider Program is very basic. It only asks a user to create an account with Microsoft (a basic free account) before giving the user access to preview build of Windows 10. This preview build will be updated automatically to the final version when Windows 10 is launched.
This preview version is available as an automatic update or as an ISO file, which can be downloaded and then installed in the old fashioned way. There is no way Microsoft is checking people’s computer if it is running genuine Windows or not. Even if your machine has pirated version of Windows 7, you can format your computer, remove all software from it and then can download ISO file of Windows 10 to install it on your computer.
Once the final version of Windows 10 is out, your machine will get it. There is no catch, not any that we know of so far. Yes, it requires some basic knowledge of how to install an operating system but it is nothing that an online tutorial on YouTube won’t teach you.
Given the history of contradictory statements on this matter, there is a possibility that Microsoft may come up with some new statement in the coming days. But so far, as things stand, it seems that the world’s biggest software firm wants you to have free Windows 10.