May 15, 2015 12:00 pm

Genuine Windows and Windows 10

By / Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group

This week we shared more details about Windows 10 “editions.” Today, I thought I would provide answers to some questions we’ve received regarding how this will work for Genuine vs. Non-Genuine Windows.

With Windows 10, we have extended an offer to our Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Once a customer upgrades, they will continue to receive ongoing Windows innovation and security updates for free, for the supported lifetime of that device.

These customers purchased their Genuine Windows license from our valued OEM partners, which ensures Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with. Windows 10 offers our customers an even more secure and modern experience. Bringing all of our customers to Windows 10 improves the ecosystem for developers which makes Windows better for all of our customers. We are working hard to make the in-place upgrade experience from Windows 7 or Windows 8, to Windows 10, seamless for the customer. Throughout the Windows world, I am humbled by the excitement being associated with this opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10.

When we can’t verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user. If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device. Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions. Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.

Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together. While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we’ve always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state. In addition, in partnership with some of our valued OEM partners, we are planning very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers for their customers running one of their older devices in a Non-Genuine state. Please stay tuned to learn more from our partners on the specifics of their offers.

Windows 10 is still in development and we won’t be able to answer all questions yet, but I hope this provides some clarification on important topics. If you’d like to help shape the future of Windows and contribute to Windows 10, please join the Windows Insider Program, where you can download technical previews of Windows 10 and provide us valuable feedback.

Thank you for your support of Windows and our Windows partners by choosing genuine Windows 10.