Microsoft will be releasing different desktop editions of Windows 10 next month. The company has previously announced that the new operating system will be available for free to all legit Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 (and 8 and 8.1 Update) users. But now it is sharing a quick trick that will make it possible for anyone — even pirates — to grab the update for free.

Windows 10 - New

The Redmond, Seattle-based software company has clarified numerous of times that pirates — and anyone who doesn’t possess a valid Windows license — won’t be getting the new operating system update for free. But Microsoft has until now not explained what will happen to users who have signed up for Windows Insider program — that is, will they get any leeway from the company.

In a blog post, Microsoft Windows chief Gabe Aul is addressing many of these questions. First up, Aul notes that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to anyone who has signed up for the Insider program. In case you remember, the Insider program only requires you to make an account with Microsoft — which is free to do.

“As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated,” Aul explains. “Once you have successfully installed this build and activated, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh.”

This is all nice and dandy, but what about people who have installed Windows 10 directly from an ISO file? If you realize, that is the only way a user with no legit Windows 7 or 8 license could install the build. For which Aul had this to say:

“I’ve gotten a lot of questions from Windows Insiders about how this will work if they clean installed from ISO. As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated,” he wrote in a blog post. “Once you have successfully installed this build and activated, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh”.

 

To wrap up, if you are running Windows 10 build on top (or sideways) of a licensed version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.x, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for you. If you don’t have a licensed copy (hence a key) of Windows 7 or Windows 8, sign up for Windows’ Insider Preview program, and grab an ISO file of Windows 10. When the update to final preview build arrives on July 29, you will be eligible to receive it.

Update 1 at 5.55 PM IST, June 21: Interestingly, Microsoft has silently updated the blog post to remove the word “remain activated,” and “activated” from the story. At this point we don’t know if this revision affects the original development. We’ve contacted Microsoft to get a clarification on these changes, and will update the post when we hear back from them.

Update 2 at 4:00 PM IST, June 22: Bad news, Microsoft has updated the blog post to note that it won’t be offering Windows 10 for free to Insiders who don’t have a genuine copy of Windows 7/8.x. You can read all about it here.

Update 3 at 1:20 AM IST, June 23: Microsoft has just updated its blog post. Here’s what’s new.

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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.