Windows 10 Notebook

Some upgrade scenarios will require physical media

Microsoft dropped a bombshell yesterday when it revealed that even Windows pirates will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost, though we have a clarification on that, which we'll get to in a moment. The Redmond outfit also outlined how you'll be able to make the leap to Windows 10 when it becomes available later this year — if you have a PC or tablet running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 with all the latest updates, you'll be able to upgrade using the Windows Update service. The same goes for Windows Phone 8.1.

According to Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation, all Windows 7 and Windows 8.x versions (Windows 7 RTM, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 RTM) will require an ISO image, which you can have on a DVD or USB drive, VentureBeat reports. Here's a better look:

  • Windows 7 RTM: Media (ISO)
  • Windows 7 SP1: Media (ISO) or Windows Update
  • Windows 8: Media (ISO)
  • Windows 8.1 RTM: Media (ISO)
  • Windows 8.1 S14: Media (ISO) or Windows Update
  • Windows RT: N/A
  • Windows Phone 8.0: N/A
  • Windows Phone 8.1: Windows Update

That's a pretty wide range Microsoft is covering, so long as the minimum hardware requirements are met. They include:

  • Processor: 1GHz or faster
  • RAM: 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit)
  • Free HDD: 16GB
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 with WDDM driver
  • Microsoft account and Internet access

Clarification on Windows 10 Upgrade for Pirates

There's been a bit of confusion over Microsoft's revelation that it will allow users running non-genuine copies of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost. At first it seemed as though the policy would only apply to users in China where software piracy is a particularly big problem, however a Microsoft spokesperson told Maximum PC in an email that it would apply to users worldwide.

That's still true, but there's a significant caveat that Microsoft revealed to Polygon. Short and to the point, the free upgrade won't change the status of the non-genuine license. Here's the full statement:

"The consumer free upgrade offer for Windows 10 applies to qualified new and existing devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. Some editions are excluded from the consumer free upgrade — including Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to other Windows 10 enterprise offerings.

"We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible. 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. 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."

It's not clear what the ramifications will be, such as nag screens, intermittent reboots, etc. We're also not sure that this approach will do Microsoft much good — if software pirates were interested in running a legit copy of Windows 10, they'd go out and buy one. It seems like a stretch that upgrading them to Windows 10 with a non-genuine license will be enough incentive to fork over for a proper license.

Original Post by Paul Lilly, Reposted Courtesy of Maximum PC – Covering everything from hi-end gaming PCs to tablets, peripherals and home theater rigs, Maximum PC's print and Web editions stay one step ahead of the fast-changing world of everything computer and computing related. Whether its the latest on building your own desktop system, reviews of the latest laptops and accessories, or roundups of the games and software that make your machine go, Maximum PC brings it to you with news, reviews, and years of expertise. TechnoBuffalo is thrilled to bring you the best of Maximum PC right here on our own pages to keep you immersed in all things digital.