back to article PIRATES and THIEVES to get Windows 10 as BOOTY

Pirates running stolen Windows operating systems will get a free copy of Windows 10, according to reports. Microsoft told reporters the next Windows will be made free to whet appetites for legitimate software, particularly in China. "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," Microsoft's …

  1. Arctic fox

    It is obvious that no example of "BigCorp" sees themselves as any kind of charity..........

    ........and clearly Microsoft is no exception. However, even though they have clear ambitions with regard to new revenue opportunities etc. it does not change the fact that this may also contribute to improving online security.

    "El Reg reminds enterprising would-be freeloaders that pirate copies of Windows often include trojans and backdoors."

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    "customers over time will realise the value of properly licensing Windows" - does not compute.

    "stands to win more cash under its as-a-service model if it can convince the world to dump its old operating systems" - ah, now that makes sense!

    However, given the Chinese government has already said no to Win 8 over (possibly spurious) "security concerns" over data sovereignty, etc, how will they react to Win 10 if its "as-a-service" model allows the US gov to pull the plug at any time on its citizens' business operations?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember what Uncle Bill said:

    "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

    Looks like W10 is collection time.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      What, they're suddenly going to cough up for an Office 365 subscription? I'm not sure if MS have thought this through thoroughly.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Really, what is Win10 refuses to run unlicensed copies of Office?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      What about the whole BSA con job???

      What about all the poor bastards over the years who paid thousands $$$ to the BSA because they couldn't find a paper license for every copy of Windows in their small office?

      This is total bullshit. If MS is going to upgrade every Asian pirate for free, then they need to repay every penny of that stolen BSA cash, with interest.

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      @Mine's a Guinness

      This is also Google's business model. Except they didn't criminalise people (opting to keep your data instead).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And here is the trojan horse ladies and gents:

      "Windows 10 for desktop will be available on devices with or without TPM at launch… but by the summer of 2016 Microsoft will require all computers shipping with the desktop version of the operating system to feature TPM 2.0"

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    Balancing the accounts.

    At the end of the day it's probably far more valuable to keep track of what the pirates are doing by giving them a free copy of windows than it is to try and combat piracy.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Balancing the accounts.

      If Microsoft give them a free and legitamate copy, then they're not pirates anymore. Problem solved!

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Balancing the accounts.

        > If Microsoft give them a free and legitamate copy, then they're not pirates anymore. Problem solved!

        Indeed.

        Kinda make you feel a little sorry for people who bought Vista though!

        On one hand, a warning is appropriate here: if you aren't paying for it, you're not a customer. On the other hand, even if I was paying for it, I'm not sure that its acting in my best interest.

        I think I'll stick with Linux-as-an-operating-system.

        1. BobChip
          Linux

          Re: Balancing the accounts.

          Upvoted from a Linux system.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Windows

            Re: Balancing the accounts.

            Downvoted from a Windows system for simply having to open your gob on a forum that has NO apparent relevance to you.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Balancing the accounts.

        "If Microsoft give them a free and legitamate copy, then they're not pirates anymore. Problem solved!"

        Since they will be installing over a pirated copy, which will probably get flagged during the installation....they will effectively now be using a legitimate copy of windows but will have been flagged as previously being pirates and therefore will get monitored slightly more closely than everyone else.

        It's my conspiracy theory for the day....

        1. wdmot

          Re: Balancing the accounts.

          But Microsoft's not giving pirates a legitimate copy. According to Computer World, a "Microsoft spokesperson" said:

          "If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade." (http://www.computerworld.com/article/2899480/pirates-will-stay-pirates-even-after-windows-10-upgrade.html).

          So I don't know what they'd gain by upgrading Windows 7 before it goes EOL. Upgrading Windows 8/8.1 on the other hand...

  5. RISC OS

    I wonder how much...

    ...the NSA is giving them to do this?

  6. Chozo
    Windows

    Beware of Geeks bearing gifts...

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Happy

      Came here to say just that. Should have known somebody ought to have done it already...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @chozo

      Or septic tanks.

    3. BobChip
      Holmes

      What kind of free is this?

      Got it in one, Chozo! Greeks and Trojan Horses all over again. Win 10 for free in the first year, and once we've got you all on legit copies, you ALL have to pay a sub to keep it going (I suspect). What kind of free is that?

      1. b166er

        Re: What kind of free is this?

        You suspect wrong, it's free for the lifetime of the device.

        Most consumers get Windows for 'free' anyway, with their purchase of hardware, so basically what they're saying is, for this version of Windows, free upgrades.

        1. Clive Galway

          Re: What kind of free is this?

          Except that the windows license is included in the price of the device, so they are not getting it for free at all.

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: What kind of free is this?

          > it's free for the lifetime of the device.

          What Microsoft said is: "It is free for the _supported_ lifetime of the device".

          The device is supported by the manufacturer during its warranty period. Once the warranty has expired then it will no longer be free and, most likely, a subscription will be required.

          > Most consumers get Windows for 'free' anyway, with their purchase of hardware

          Completely wrong. It may be bundled into the price of the computer but it is _not_ free. Except for recent small devices the OEM cost of Windows is part of the cost of building the computer and this increases the selling price.

          1. MrDamage

            "It is free for the _supported_ lifetime of the device"

            They better make sure they fully define "supported lifetime" in their EULA, otherwise they'll be in deep shit.

            I'm still supporting a 386, and 486, for those fun old games which work better under native DOS/Win9x environments, than they do under DosBox and VM environments.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: "It is free for the _supported_ lifetime of the device"

              > I'm still supporting a 386, and 486,

              You won't be worrying about what the Windows 10 supported lifetime is for those.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "It is free for the _supported_ lifetime of the device"

                The lengths Richard Plinston will go to, the sheer mangling of the English language in an attempt to make an announcement look sinister, never fail to produce a kind of horrified laughter.

                The worst thing is he does it with such swollen, self-appointed authoritas that doubtless many of you poor saps believe it.

                There is no subscription model. After purchase of the OS, there is no charge for maintaining it and there will never be a charge until Windows 10 hits an EOL date which is still up for internal debate inside Microsoft. Do not believe the lies.

                1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                  Re: "It is free for the _supported_ lifetime of the device"

                  I am unsurprised that you posted this anonymously.

                  > the sheer mangling of the English language in an attempt to make an announcement look sinister

                  The 'mangling' was adding back the word that Microsoft had deliberately used but was dropped by posters. If it looks 'sinister' then that is what was in the Microsoft statement.

                  > swollen, self-appointed authoritas

                  And then you, as a "swollen, self-appointed authoritas", make a definitive statement as if you have a direct brain-feed from Gates. In fact there has been a statement from Microsoft about this:

                  """Microsoft's Jim Alkove reiterated the free upgrade for consumers, but a set of guiding asterisks (**) led to the following clarification:

                  **Details on our device’ supported lifetime policy will be shared at a later time.

                  """

                  http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/microsoft-not-yet-ready-describe-what-supported-lifetime-device-means-windows-10

                  > There is no subscription model.

                  Microsoft does have subscription models: 'Software Assurance', 'Office 365'. The question is whether Microsoft's statement that the business plan is 'Windows as a service' will require subscriptions in the same way as 'Office as a service' does.

                  """Myerson made it semi-clear in a statement on the Windows blog yesterday…

                  We'll deliver new features when they're ready, not waiting for the next major release. We think of Windows as a Service -- in fact, one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet. And just like any Internet service, the idea of asking 'What version are you on?' will cease to make sense." """

                  http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/windows-service-windows-10-versionless-windows#comment-740411

                  Microsoft appear to be changing their revenue model from charging for new versions of Windows every few years to a service model where the increments are small and frequent, and the revenue will also be small and frequent.

      2. M7S

        Re: What kind of free is this? @ Bobchip

        Ah, this misunderstanding still gets perpeptuated......

        Windows 10 is free if you upgrade from one of the listed systems in the first year of its release.

        If you want a copy after that, then you have to pay for it.

        Its nothing to do with subscriptions, but should encourage reasonably prompt adoption by many.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Killing the competition

    MS have finally realised that they were their own biggest competitor.

    People didn't feel the need to upgrade from XP to something newer, as what they already had was good enough. This isn't so much a compliment to XP: that it's stood the text of time. It's more a criticism of everything that's come since as failing in innovation, backwards compatibility, or being too expensive in terms of what you got, and not providing anything sufficiently "must have" that people were willing - or able - to ditch it and invest in a newer product.

    It's still unclear that W10 has addressed these failings. But I think we can expect MS to have built something into W10 to force its adopters out of their "bad" habits.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Killing the competition

      Only people with XP and Vista still can't get a free upgrade to Windows 10, they need to pirate Windows 7 or buy Windows 8 first.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Killing the competition

      Arrrrgh, if those bloody scallywags think this will make me give up my XP (or the Win7 that dual-boots with it just to run one single bloody piece of software) I got news for them...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows for free?

    Given none of the stuff I use runs properly in it, I'd consider that as paying exactly what it's worth to me.

    1. The Crow From Below

      Re: Windows for free?

      What do you run that causes "none of the stuff you use" to work properly on windows? If you have software designed for another OS than windows then you need to use that OS, don't go jamming that square peg in the round hole and start blaming the hole for being the wrong shape.

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Windows for free?

      I'd like to know if I will be able to get a copy of Win10 to run as a VM. It would probably be worth pirating an earlier version to get it then. It's always good to keep one's options open (or at least properly licensed).

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Windows for free?

        You can already run Windows 10 in a VM, and indeed pretty much every other version of windows as well.

        In fact, if you look carefully, you can download the VM images directly from Microsoft (at least, it's been available at some timers for some reasons).

        Or you could run Windows as the host OS, and your current OS as a VM.

      2. wdmot

        Re: Windows for free?

        See http://www.computerworld.com/article/2899480/pirates-will-stay-pirates-even-after-windows-10-upgrade.html. If you pirate 7 or 8/8.1 to get a free upgrade to 10, then that upgrade will also be pirated. It'll have things like a watermark permanently on the screen saying it's non-compliant (or "Test Mode") which will make less desirable to use. (At least "Test Mode" is what shows across the whole screen of an unactivated Windows 8 device I use for testing.)

  9. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Yeah, right...

    "We believe customers over time will realise the value of properly licensing..."

    And on that day, Satan will be skating to work.

  10. Andy Non

    Interesting (maybe)

    I've a laptop with legit Windows 8.1 and Linux Kubuntu on it. Windows system update failed last October giving an obscure error message and update has been dead in the water since; it will be interesting to see if it will update to Windows 10... if its via system updates then very unlikely.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Clive Galway

      They sort of do?

      As in heroin addicts getting methadone?

    2. Chris King Silver badge
      Joke

      I once had an e-mail from a 419'er, telling me that I had won the "Microsoft Word Lottery". I was tempted to write back, asking if first prize was a copy of Office, and second prize was two copies !

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's more likely. ..

    ...that Microsoft couldn't figure out how Windows is licensed.

  13. dotdavid
    Coat

    Trojans and backdoors

    "El Reg reminds enterprising would-be freeloaders that pirate copies of Windows often include trojans and backdoors."

    In my experience even the legit copies include those.

    1. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: Trojans and backdoors

      "In my experience even the legit copies include those."

      Lenovo, anyone?

  14. Mad Mike

    Proper punishment

    Surely the correct punishment for running a pirated operating system is being forced to upgrade to Windows 8.1? Comparatively speaking, surely Windows 10 will be community service?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Proper punishment

      8.1 is to good fer 'em.

      Plain ole' Windows 8, locked to TIKFRAM unless you pony up a sub.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Proper punishment

        "Plain ole' Windows 8, locked to TIKFRAM unless you pony up a sub."

        That would go against the Human Rights Convention as it would considered as pure torture.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on MS what about all those poor people that paid for Windows Vista. Free For All. Not just the pirates!!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great incentive

    to "get" them Windoz 7 and "tools" now and wait for summer plain sailing!

  17. Alan Edwards

    Upgrade process?

    Has the process for upgrading/re-installing been worked out yet?

    I've got a machine with an OEM Windows 7 licence. When the time comes to 'nuke and reload', will I be able to (re)-install Windows 10 using the 7 licence, or will I have to install 7 again first?

    1. Kunari
      Devil

      Re: Upgrade process?

      That's when the "lifetime of the device" clause (or is that claws?) would come in. ;)

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade process?

        What's the "lifetime of the device" when you're running Windows in a VM? Sounds like anyone who wants it can legally run Windows 10 until Microsoft ends support for it, by pirating Windows 7 in a VM and making it legal by upgrading it.

        I think they figured out the second biggest reason why Windows 8 is growing share more slowly than Windows 7 despite being sold in new PCs is because Windows 7 can be pirated as easily as XP, while they locked things down a lot more with Windows 8. If they lock Windows 10 down well enough that the only way you can run it is to pay for it, Windows 7 will become the new XP that lives forever.

        1. wdmot

          Re: Upgrade process?

          Sounds like anyone who wants it can legally run Windows 10 until Microsoft ends support for it, by pirating Windows 7 in a VM and making it legal by upgrading it.

          Sounds like, but only with incomplete information. See http://www.computerworld.com/article/2899480/pirates-will-stay-pirates-even-after-windows-10-upgrade.html -- the free upgrade is still not legitimate. Good question about running it in a VM; that would currently be my only use for it. I guess we'll just have to see what they post "at a later time" about their device supported lifetime policy.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all good

    With authorities able to monitor Win 10 users via the backdoor, they can identify the crims and arrest them. It's actually a pretty cool way to convict pirates.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all good

      I can see it now -- fill in name, address etc.

      Then tick a box - the current version of windows I use is (a) pirated (b) not-pirated.

      Letter from lawyers to follow.

  19. macjules Silver badge
    Joke

    Of trojans and backdoors ...

    "El Reg reminds enterprising would-be freeloaders that pirate copies of Windows often include trojans and backdoors"

    That's no way to talk of Internet Explorer!

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Whiznot

    Congratulations Microsoft. You've finally found a way to severely punish pirates.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warning

    Free upgrade for pirated (anybodies) install, then after 12 free, the monthly/annual sub kicks in. No pay, no windows 10, you'll have to find a nother hooky copy of win7.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Warning

      > you'll have to find another hooky copy of win7.

      And all the documents that you wrote with Office 2016 will not open in the hooky copy of Office 2007.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Installing Linux was my answer to that

      "Free upgrade for pirated (anybodies) install, then after 12 free, the monthly/annual sub kicks in. No pay, no windows 10, you'll have to find a nother hooky copy of win7."

      I was using my Windows 7 box at the office and the first time I took it home to do some work over the weekend it saw my network and announced I was running a pirated copy.

      Yes, it passed reactivation but left me with that nasty black desktop. Easy enough to rectify but why on earth should I have to do that?

      "There's no way they are going to hold me hostage like that again" I thought,. and ever since have confined Windows to VMs.

      1. x 7

        Re: Installing Linux was my answer to that

        you simply hadn't run Windows update and a security patch wasn't installed as a result. If you had, it would

  23. southen bastard

    will office 2007 and adobie cs6 run in 10 or will we all have to pay for everything as a service?

    sorry if i appear stupid but i like those programs and dont want to change.

  24. @acmtix

    Pirates will not like this...

    I don't think any self respecting pirate will want this software for free and if they do consider using it they will improve upon it and Microsoft knows this. Effectively this will improve Windows 10 for free and create a crowdsourced application that is a million times better than the current O/S. Genius!

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