Update Microsoft has now sent a statement to Polygon that says even if pirates do update their old non-licensed version of Windows to Windows 10, they will still be using an un-licensed software product.
The move is clearly targeted at the Chinese market, where two-thirds of all PCs run pirated versions of Windows.
Speaking to "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," he said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
The plan is to "re-engage" with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China, he said, without elaboration.
By giving away Windows 10 for free, at least for the first year, Microsoft is deviating from its regular sales model for the first time.
The software maker announced earlier today that Windows 10 will be launching this summer in 190 countries, with the vendor focusing its attention on China.
Lenovo has committed to rolling out the Windows 10 upgrade to its customers as soon as it becomes available, as well as stating that it would launch its first Windows Phone over the summer.
Microsoft earlier this week clarified that all versions of Windows, both legitimate and illegitimate, receive security updates – and that policy will carry over to Windows 7.
“There seems to be a myth that Microsoft limits security updates to genuine Windows users,” wrote Microsoft’s Paul Cooke, who works in Windows Client Enterprise Security.
“Let me be clear: all security updates go to all users.” “Not only do all security updates go to all users' systems, but non-genuine Windows systems are able to install service packs, update rollups, and important reliability and application compatibility updates,” Cooke continued in the blog entry.
“In addition, the users of non-genuine Windows systems can also upgrade a lot of the other software on their computer.
For example Internet Explorer 8 has numerous security- oriented features and improvements, and it is available to all users.” That’s not to say that non-genuine copies of Windows are allowed to run completely free.