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Microsoft Offers Amnesty of Sorts to Pirates of Older Windows Software

Microsoft Offers Amnesty of Sorts to Pirates of Older Windows Software

If you own a pirated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you’ll have the chance to come clean. If you pirated Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, Microsoft wants to welcome you back all is forgiven. 

Microsoft said Thursday that it will run an “experiment” to offer a path for those users who have either pirated or purchased an unlicensed copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to download a licensed copy from Microsoft itself, or to use a code from a third-party reseller. Either way, the licensed Windows 10 software will be used to update the PC with a valid license.

Microsoft originally said in March that users with a pirated copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 would be able to upgrade to Windows 10. The company later clarified that any user who did so would still be running an unlicensed copy.

It’s unclear how much software in the world is pirated—the Business Software Alliance claimed that in 2010 four out of ten software programs installed around the world were illegally copied—but Microsoft’s free upgrade to Windows 10 has surely cut into that. Otherwise, Amazon sells a USB flash drive with Windows 10 Home installed upon it for $110, and Microsoft itself sells Windows 10 Pro for $200.