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Piracy Microsoft Security Windows

Microsoft Says Free Windows 10 Upgrades For Pirates Will Be Unsupported 193

An anonymous reader writes with this story about some of the fine print to Microsoft's offer of Windows 10 upgrades to pirates. "When Microsoft confirmed it will offer free Windows 10 upgrades to pirates worldwide, many were shocked. VentureBeat has been trying to get more details from the company, which disclosed today that after PCs with pirated copies of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are upgraded to Windows 10, they will remain in a 'non-genuine' status and Microsoft will not support them. 'With Windows 10, although non-genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license,' a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. 'Non-genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. 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. According to industry experts, use of pirated software, including Non-genuine Windows, results in a higher risk of malware, fraud — identity theft, credit card theft, etc. — public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions.' Yet this doesn't provide enough answers. After a pirate upgrades to Windows 10 for free, does this 'non-genuine' version expire and become unusable after a certain period of time? Does no support mean no security updates for pirates?"
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Microsoft Says Free Windows 10 Upgrades For Pirates Will Be Unsupported

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  • by jaseuk ( 217780 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:04PM (#49296499) Homepage

    They have a similar policy with Home Usage Policies. It's a "Ghost" License, not really a true license with warranty rights, support, transfers etc.. You can use the product legally, but you don't own any license. don't expect to be able to transfer the policy or seek technical support.

    This copy won't expire, but you can't really re-sell it, transfer it or seek any other benefits. The product will technically "work" fine and will receive updates and so on without issue. One area which isn't guaranteed is if Microsoft continue this trend of free upgrades from earlier OS, they might not permit free upgrade for this pirate/amnesty copy.

    Jason.

    • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:27PM (#49296743)
      So in other words, Microsoft knows you're being a dick and using pirated software, but they're not going to do anything to hurt you even though they know you're guilty--except not patch your software which costs them bandwidth.

      I disagree with lots of their policies, but this one is rather gratuitous and undeserved on our part.
      • by jaseuk ( 217780 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:35PM (#49296813) Homepage

        No - They've given you an amnesty license. Just don't automatically expect to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 or to use any phone / e-mail support. Don't expect other rights you'd get with full copies, such as any downgrade rights or the ability to transfer it to another computer or person.

        Security patches/updates will work fine. These are legal restrictions not usage restrictions. It'll look like any other copy of Windows and work like any other copy of Windows. You just can't put it in a box and put it on e-bay, it's at that point it no longer exists.

        Jason.

        • I don't see how I can resell my digital copy of Windows 8.1 that I'm running now even though it's legal. I suppose I do get the benefit of being able to call Msft but doesn't cost money? Only time I ever called them was when this copy decided it wasn't legitimate one day so I had to call up and get that fixed.
          • by jaseuk ( 217780 )

            It depends on the copy. Non-OEM licenses are usually transferable to another computer. You can of course sell that digital copy installed on a computer. - assuming it's not an upgrade SA right.

            It wouldn't be strictly legal to sell a computer with one of these amnesty copies.

            I've never used phone support, but yes they do offer it for Office and Windows, I'm pretty sure it's free, but time / case limited.

            Jason.

            Jason.

            • I've never used phone support, but yes they do offer it for Office and Windows, I'm pretty sure it's free, but time / case limited.

              Not sure about Free; though they could have changed policy since last I checked (late 1990's) when it was:

              1. First 2 minutes were free
              2. $99 USD per minute after that

              There's a reason why no one calls MS for support outside of Partner agreements, MSDN, etc. ;-)

              Hopefully they've changed the policy since then.

        • >> No - They've given you an amnesty license.

          No they haven't. They said you'd be able to upgrade, but windows will still bug you will "you might be a victim of software counterfiting", "your windows is not genuine" after a 30 day drial period. In another word Microsoft has just said that they won't specifically check for a license during upgrade. They will check after the upgrade, though.

        • Security patches/updates will work fine.

          Hahaha, that's a good one...

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        they'll patch it.
        if for nothing else to patch new checks for if it's genuine.

        they've been patching non genuine windows's forever.

    • But the rumor is it will be filled with nags [computerworld.com] complete with the background turning black and daily pop ups bitching and demanding cash.

      If this is the case? then we can say Nadella has pulled his first Ballmernator, because he took the chance to get rid of pirates (which is a joke compared to their bottom line, less than 2% of their sales are upgrades and pirates aren't potential sales) and bring everyone onto Windows 10 and instead just created another Vista sized debacle.

      You'd think they'd have learned a

  • by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:05PM (#49296511) Homepage
    Disallowing security updates to run on non-genuine copies of Windows is not exactly in Microsoft's best interest.
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Exactly. They can't afford not to do security updates for the pirates because there are so damn many it'll cause problems for all the legit users. I hope they follow through because illegitimate windows installations are holding back expansion of alternative operating systems but I know MS simply can not afford not to do security updates.

    • by LinuxIsGarbage ( 1658307 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:15PM (#49296629)

      Disallowing security updates to run on non-genuine copies of Windows is not exactly in Microsoft's best interest.

      After push back YEARS ago, Microsoft allowed security updates for non-genuine users. No "feature feature improvement" type downloads though.

      Interestingly, with Windows 7 at least, OEM-SLP loader method of "piracy" has remained bullet-proof. In the past 5 years it's been in use, it has always reported genuine, no altering MS binaries, and MS can't tell the difference between you and someone that bought their HP PC at Best buy.

      So far with Win 8.x phony KMS servers has made it indistinguishable from a computer activating on a company's LAN.

      XP you could just harvest VL keys from university and workplaces attended.

      There are clean ways to "pirate" any MS OS, starting with a clean genuine install ISO, yet people end up with junky malware filled garbage.

      In any case even if you get a free upgrade on this "genuine" pirated copy, I would expect to remain genuine, but not be able to call in for tech support, etc.

      • > In any case even if you get a free upgrade on this "genuine" pirated copy, I would expect to remain genuine, but not be able to call in for tech support, etc.

        Hm. My Windows experience started with 3.1 (before that it was a VT100 terminal, Telebit modem and BSD) and in all those years, I only remember calling Microsoft Tech Support once, years ago, and it was a licensing issue. (A recently purchased laptop who's installed instance of XP persisted to show "not genuine".) It's only one data point, but

        • Might be overrated for you. I happen to know people who work in MS tech Support center and it's a hellhole. The shit people call about would increase my suicidal tendencies to 100%, and I worked in tech support center and seen/heard quite the shit myself.

          • I get it, but have to point out that any call center can be made a hellhole merely by being understaffed, which many are, because they're usually not a profit center.

            I do tech support myself, and often it depends on how you approach it. It's important to remember, for instance, that the people calling you are users, not geeks. Their job often isn't to understand the inner workings of the product. Their job is usually something that involves *using* the product, and they can't do their job if the product

            • You're amused at first. Then bored. Then mad. Then legally insane.
              It's all about repetition. You encounter a ridiculous question once, it's worth a hearty laugh. But when you encounter the same question 1000 times, asked by 1000 total morons, it's way, way beyond funny.

              • Yeah, and you know, I do encounter that. Even worse, since over 80% of IT at this company is "least expensive shore" now, I get it from two different directions -- from the users, and from the tragically incompetent offshore admins I have to work through to get the problem fixed, because they have root and I don't anymore. If anything irritates me, it's the latter.

                Because, users shouldn't have to know this technical stuff in order to do a job that's not related to knowing this stuff. Any more than a bus

      • Interestingly, with Windows 7 at least, OEM-SLP loader method of "piracy" has remained bullet-proof. In the past 5 years it's been in use, it has always reported genuine, no altering MS binaries, and MS can't tell the difference between you and someone that bought their HP PC at Best buy.

        It will be interesting to see if upgrading a OEM-SLP Windows Loadered Windows 7 maintains full "genuine" status on an upgrade to Windows 10.

        If so, it's going to be a pirate free-for-all on Windows 10, just like Windows 7

        • It will be interesting to see if upgrading a OEM-SLP Windows Loadered Windows 7 maintains full "genuine" status on an upgrade to Windows 10.

          If so, it's going to be a pirate free-for-all on Windows 10, just like Windows 7

          When Windows 8 was released there was a free upgrade for Windows Pro users to Windows 8 Pro Pack. You could install Windows 8 Pro, activate against KMS, then upgrade to Pro Pack. It would then be permanently activated. Microsoft caught on and stopped letting new KMS clients upgrade to Propack.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @10:07PM (#49297715)
        And lifetime licenses expire. I have an XP license I "stole" from an old computer being thrown away. It wasn't OEM, but was a full license. I tried activating it with MS for a new install, and the activation failed. I called MS and they said that the license was not valid. And when they expire them, there's no discussion. It's just dead. Forever. And no, it wasn't from a licensing contract or such that expires. It was a full-retail purchase, expired by MS, for reasons unknown.
        • It's not "reasons unknown". You don't buy lifetime licenses from MS. Windows licenses are tied to the computer itself - or most specifically, the motherboard. New computer, new license required.

          • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday March 20, 2015 @04:44AM (#49299337)

            OEM, sure. But it's not my understanding that if you buy a PC and buy the full, expensive version of windows and the PC dies and you buy a new pc then you need to buy another copy of windows. Otherwise....why would anyone pay for the full version; you'd get the oem, right?

            • After searching a bit, I think you're right. Apparently, if you use a retail/upgrade version, you can install on new machines, but you're still restricted to using the license only on one machine at a time. If you got an OEM version, it's tied to your motherboard, so you can't transfer the license to a new computer.

              I've read a few places saying that this wasn't true for Windows 8/8.1, but the information out there seems a bit confused, so I'm not certain of that.

              I was under the impression that this was tr

          • I needed to reinstall XP on an old laptop because it was the only thing in the house with a firewire port.

            It said the key from the original sticker on the base was invalid.

        • And lifetime licenses expire. I have an XP license I "stole" from an old computer being thrown away. It wasn't OEM, but was a full license. I tried activating it with MS for a new install, and the activation failed. I called MS and they said that the license was not valid. And when they expire them, there's no discussion. It's just dead. Forever. And no, it wasn't from a licensing contract or such that expires. It was a full-retail purchase, expired by MS, for reasons unknown.

          One reason why I'll buy licenses (to support the product, like $40 upgrades to Win 7 Pro), but then install the pirated copy. Never have to worry about shit like that. Kind of like how Pirated movies don't have previews and unskippable content like DVDs you buy.

    • Exactly, which is why they patch non-genuine versions. If there were a large number of compromised systems out there then legitimate users would suffer as well.
  • by darkain ( 749283 )

    What about all the PCs that were shipped with valid licenses, but for whatever reason, techs (such as myself) have had to install a fresh copy of Windows on the box. Could be a failed drive, or other failed hardware, or whatever, reason doesn't matter too much. The point is that it shipped with a legit copy of Windows, and often times doesn't have a recovery disk or an OEM copy of Windows. What are we supposed to do then as techs? Tell the customer "SUCKS TO BE YOU" or "GOTTA PAY FOR THE THING YOU ALREADY P

    • Isn't the product key for those generally embedded in BIOS?
    • Anyone with a valid license can easily call tech support and yell at them. As long as you yell at them enough you get a free key. I know plenty of people who do that every time they want a new key even though they've never bought one. It's sketchy, but to imply legitimize users can't get their keys is an outright lie.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @10:11PM (#49297741)
        I have a full-XP license copied off a retail box. It's installed on one computer in the world. While that computer was dead, I tried to use it on a different computer. It came up as "not valid". an hour on the phone, and they still hadn't offered me a new key. How long must one yell at them to get a new key when they report a valid one as invalid?
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      If you bought a PC with a legitimate version of Windows and you don't have a product key with it, you more or less got screwed.

      Even then, assuming again that its legitimate, you can recover the product key and reinstall with it from a vanilla disk. The OEM product keys have been legit for installing with any other ISO/disk for a long time now.

    • If the computer came with a legitimate copy of Windows, the license should be stuck on the back of the box, as required by Microsoft of OEMs. You can install Windows fresh from your own disc and just re-enter the license code from that sticker. Microsoft recently started allowing ISO downloads of supported versions of Windows, so a tech should always have their own copy of Windows to use if needed.

      New hardware won't generally cause problems with license activation unless you change the motherboard, and th

  • Microsoft doesn't want Windows machines to cause the amount of malware and exploits on the web to explode far beyond current levels. They'll continue to get security updates for sure. But it does mean that if they call in to MS support, the agent won't help them without a valid key, and there may be some non-security Windows updates which will be restricted.

    What Microsoft is warning people about is that hackers may have trojans, keyloggers, etc. built-in to the OS from the start. I don't know why this wo

    • by aNonnyMouseCowered ( 2693969 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @08:55PM (#49297331)

      "the agent won't help them without a valid key"

      Not a genuine advantage with 99% of users (pirates included) outside the US (figure pulled off my behind). When was the last time you called tech support for support and not visit some online forum or your local tech guru.

      The real issue: will the software police break down your door if you get reported using a legally upgraded "pirate" version? Can you just say, but the kind folks at Redmond say I get a pass, my sins have been forgiven?

  • I'm still waiting on my free upgrade from Vista.

    However, I'm one of the few who liked Vista, and still run it (on the system I bought it with, a core 2 duo E6850, XFX 650i motherboard, and a brand new (old) gtx 470 graphics card I got off ebay for £29).

  • No Support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thebes ( 663586 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:11PM (#49296587)

    Who actually calls Microsoft for support? They should scrap Retail, OEM, System builder, etc. and just have With Support $X, Without Support $Y.

    • In the past, people who write software that runs under Windows have told me that buying another copy to use the support is the cheapest way to get someone to answer questions about "black box" aspects of the operating system that are making it difficult for their software to run properly.
      • by thebes ( 663586 )

        So then they buy a retail copy to get support. I'm not saying it is completely useless, just useless to someone who has been using Windows long enough or is comfortable with computers in general.

    • I have, about a year ago. My Surface Pro 2, on wake from sleep, wouldn't allow me to enter credentials, it would just sit at the login screen. The attached keyboard wouldn't allow input, and the on-screen touch keyboard wouldn't show up. Only work around was a hard reboot. Turns out the Surface didn't really like being put to sleep while using a full-screen game, such as Civ 5. Never did get an official resolution to the issue, but I haven't had the problem as of late (maybe quietly fixed somewhere along th

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I know for a while win7 had the same issue. That one turned out to be power management was "selectively" disabling usb devices... it neglected to leave the keyboard on... so when it went to sleep... space would never wake it up. Quite often a soft ACPI reset would do the trick. One tap on the power button and the keyboard would wake.

      • Don't worry, that issue is still out there - have it myself at least once a month.

        Do you get the issue where the screen registers a continuous finger press on it? The only way to clear that one is to reboot the device too :/

  • Microsoft is going to allow people with pirated copies of Windows to upgrade by essentially giving away pirated copies of Windows 10? They should just get it over with and give away a "play for free" version of Windows.
  • new favorite phrase (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @07:20PM (#49296677) Journal

    "Upgrades for Pirates" is this week's winner for new favorite phrase.

  • "Unsupported"? As in "Just like pretty much any version that isn't Professional or Enterprise with a sufficiently large yearly spend by your organization that we'll actually have an engineer take your phone calls"?

    This isn't exclusive to Microsoft; but it certainly includes them: Except in the occasional case of some indie hero/martyr; or heroically expensive software priced like it includes hours of a technical expert's time because it in fact does, software isn't really 'supported'. If you are reasonab
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Everything they have that's home-oriented is unsupported. What do you get with a full-retail license purchase? One call, but only so long as it's within 90 days?

      The enterprise market is unaffected. They mostly are on subscription contracts with free upgrades anyway.
  • Does that mean I can't get on MSDN to get an answer to my question that doesn't answer the question?

    But seriously, what does "unsupported" mean for MS? No updates? In other words, even more unpatched, insecure spamchuggers? I doubt that's going to affect any of those that are already, we just might get a few more of these.

    Thank you Microsoft. No, I mean it! As long as you exist, I'll have perfect job security.

    It's a good time to be in IT security.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      "Unsupported" means you can't call/email Microsoft to get help. That's it. They're going to provide updates, of course, as that's in their best interests.
  • And why are we surprised enough somehow this is new. People STEAL the software... They get no love from MS.

    If you can't afford windows there's actually useful open source alternatives. Just use that. Why someone would steal software when you can go open source and be legit make snow sense to me....

  • Any windows "update" without providing domain membership & policies or RDP capabilities is worthless and will be (& has been) replaced with Linux. If your windows game wont at least run under wine, then I wont be purchasing it. WTP is filled with useless 'features' "Picture of the Day", "live" tiles, sports, weather, disabled/deleted where possible. Needs a pre-installed group policy/wizard to turn such bloat off.
  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Thursday March 19, 2015 @11:59PM (#49298387)

    But I will stick with Win 7 anyway.
    I don't want a phone/tablet OS on my desktop

  • According to industry experts, use of pirated software, including Windows, results in a higher risk of malware, fraud — identity theft, credit card theft, etc. — public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions.

    Corrected. The term "non-genuine" is not needed--it is superfluous. The sentence is correct with *any* version of Windows. All the damn thing is is a bunch of bits, doesn't matter if they come on a piece of plastic that Microsoft sold to some retailer or through a copyright-infringing file downloaded over the Internet. Either way it will eventually become infected by countless bits of invasive garbage for the vast majority of users. It's just that with Microsoft's version, at least it doesn't come pre-bundl

  • Since Windows support is pure bullshit, it's not worth paying for.

    Since there are no other Microsoft products worth paying for, I don't see where their revenues are going to come from.

  • "'Non-genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft."

    What the heck does that even mean? A bit identical copy of Windows that is not accompanied by a legitimate license is suddenly not published by Microsoft? Who is it published by? No one?

  • I plan to support it using the same method I use for any tech products these days.

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