Even though Microsoft Corp. will let owners of PCs running pirated versions of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge, it will not grant them a free license. As a result, users of such operating systems will not get support and will face other limitations.

Further clarified by a Microsoft spokesperson, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license.

It was announced that Microsoft will provide an opportunity to update all computers based on all current versions of Windows to Windows 10 absolutely free regardless of the presence or absence of a license in the first year of Windows 10 availability. As a result, users of pirated versions of operating systems will have a unique opportunity to get a new OS absolutely free and without any need to crack it. At present, it is not clear what constraints will the owners of unlicensed Windows 10 face, but it is likely that they will not be able to obtain certain updates for the OS, which will limit their experience.

Microsoft will provide a legalization path for pirated users, through the Windows Store, to be elaborated at a later date.

While PC makers will not have to pay for Windows, many other types of customers, including individual end-users (who assemble PCs themselves, want to install Windows 10 on an older PC running Windows XP or on an Apple Mac) and enterprises will have to. The software giant has not announced prices of its new OS for such types of users.